Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Virgin of the Rocks, is a painting that depicts Mary, an angel, and Jesus and John the Baptist as boys. The painting was commissioned by the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception and was completed by Leonardo after arriving in Milan. There are two versions of this painting with one located in Louvre Museum in Paris and another in National Gallery London.
The painting is significant for its association with popular apocryphal tradition where angels guided Mary to a secret cave where she nursed Jesus while escaping King Herod’s wrath. This new style of High Renaissance incorporates several unique qualities such as composition complexity, light effects on anatomical features, emotional expressiveness through gestures and symbols.
Recently discovered information by National Gallery revealed that there were originally two different compositions beneath the paint using UV technology. These show distinct changes such as more prominent angelic figures with different symbolic gestures than those seen today.
Overall, The Virgin of the Rocks serves not only as an exceptional example of early 16th-century religious artwork but also highlights Leonardo da Vinci’s genius vision infused into it through his distinctive techniques and deep symbolism.