The Virgin of the Rocks (c.1483 – c.1486) by Leonardo da Vinci

The Virgin of the Rocks - Leonardo da Vinci - c.1483 - c.1486

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Virgin of the Rocks
ArtistLeonardo da Vinci
Datec.1483 - c.1486
Dimensions122 x 199 cm
Art MovementEarly Renaissance
Current LocationLouvre, Paris, France

About The Virgin of the Rocks

“The Virgin of the Rocks” is a masterpiece by the eminent artist Leonardo da Vinci, dating from circa 1483 to 1486. Painted using oil on panel, this piece exemplifies the Early Renaissance art movement. The artwork measures 122 centimeters by 199 centimeters and depicts a religious theme. It is currently housed in the Louvre, in Paris, France.

The artwork presents an ethereal setting punctuated by craggy rock formations, which lends a mysterious air to the scene. Central to the composition is the figure of the Virgin Mary, who exudes a serene and maternal grace. She is shown seated in a rocky grotto, extending her right hand protectively over a young John the Baptist, who kneels in prayer. To her left, the infant Jesus Christ sits raised above ground level, touching a cross presented by an angel beside him, symbolizing their eventual roles and the connection between them. Mary’s left hand gently supports the angel, who points towards John, guiding the viewer’s attention.

The figures are rendered with delicate modeling, soft transitions of light and shade, and a gentle play of features that convey a sense of calm spirituality. This is all enveloped in a landscape that exemplifies Leonardo’s fascination with nature and his studies of light, lending the painting an atmospheric quality that is both enchanting and engaging.

Leonardo’s consummate skill in blending the human figure with the surrounding environment is on full display, as the figures appear both distinct and harmoniously integrated with the natural world around them. The composition as a whole evokes a sense of solemnity and sacredness, in keeping with its religious subject matter.

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