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Leonardo da Vinci Paintings at the National Gallery

Posted by Susan Benford

Fifteen or 16 Leonardo da Vinci paintings are known to exist.  With nine in a new National Gallery show, blockbuster art exhibitions will be redefined!

leonardo-lady-with-ermineLeonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan focuses on Leonardo's tenure in Milan from 1482-1499, when he served as the court painter to Ludovico Sforza (1452-1519). When requesting employment from this ruling family, Leonardo da Vinci emphasized his expertise in military engineering, adding this his painting and sculpture skills were a bonus.  

Some bonus.

Shortly after arriving in Milan, Leonardo was commissioned to create an altarpiece, The Virgin of the Rocks. Leonardo altered the commission to include St. John the Baptist (he is in the left foreground), and the commissioners refused the price Leonardo requested.

Leonardo da Vinci.  Lady with an Ermine, ca. 1493-1494. Approx. 16" by 22".  National Museum, Cracow.

He sold the work elsewhere, but years later was persuaded to create a second version. The restoration of this Virgin of the Rocks, owned by the National Gallery in London, was the impetus for this Leonardo exhibition. 

For the first time, these two Leonardo da Vinci paintings will be exhibited together. Comparison of their differences - for instance, the later Virgin of the Rocks has less intricately painted naturalism but more sculptural effects created by Leonardo's modelling of light and dark - is enough to make me long to visit this show.

leonardo-virgin-rocks-louvreOther Leonardo da Vinci paintings provide more reasons:

Portrait of a Young Man (The Musician), 1486-1487.  Prior to this Leonardo da Vinci painting, portraits were in strict profile.  That changed with this 3/4 profile pose, which inspired other Renaissance painters and Leonardo's students.

Lady with an Ermine, ca. 1489-1490. Incredible that the National Museum in Cracow is lending its prize painting.

The Belle Ferronniere, ca. 1493-1494.  This may be Beatrice d'Este (1475-1497), a leading lady of the Italian Renaissance and the wife of Ludovico Sforza.

Leonardo da Vinci.  Virgin of the Rocks, 1483-1485.  Probably oil on panel (transferred to canvas), 78 1/2" by 48".  Louvre, Paris.

St. Jerome, 1488-1490.  One of the unfinished paintings of Leonardo, on loan from the Vatican. 

Madonna Litta, 1491-1495.  Read about Madonna Litta, in the show, and Benois Madonna, both from the Hermitage.

Christ as Salvator Mundi, ca. 1499. Remember how this post started with reference to 15 or 16 Leonardo da Vinci paintings? This is the "or".  

The National Gallery's inclusion of this controversial attribution to Leonardo will be worth following.  Read some of the history behind the attribution of this Leonardo da Vinci painting.

Additionally, the show features Leonardo cartoons and drawings (many of which are on loan from the world's largest collection, owned by Queen Elizabeth), including the woman in Madonna Litta, compositional studies for The Last Supper, as well as paintings by Leonardo's students and contemporaries.  

leonardo belle ferronniere resized 600Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan runs until 5 February 2012.  If you're lucky enough to go there, please, please, send a report! 

Leonardo da Vinci.  The Belle Ferronniere, ca. 1493-94.  Oil on wood, 24" by 17".  Louvre, Paris. 

 

Topics: famous paintings, famous painters, leonardo da vinci paintings

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Famous Painters Blogroll

Anguissola, Three Sisters Playing Chess and Phillip II of Spain

Beckmann, Departure; Self-Portrait in Tuxedo; Sinking of Titanic

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David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps

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de KooningWoman I

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Ghent Altarpiece via zoom

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Poussin, Assumption of the Virgin

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Rembrandt, Night Watch

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Famous Paintings by Art Museums - ebooks

Learn about famous paintings to see in these art museums:

Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY). One of those intimate, small art museums with a stellar collectionFamous Paintings at Albright-Knox. 

Art Institute of Chicago: Plan to see these famous paintings at the Art Institute -- and download an ebook about them.

Louvre Museum, (Paris): one of the largest art museums in the world! Know which Louvre paintings not to miss in this sortable ebook. 

Mauritshuis Museum: explore works by renowned Dutch painters

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City): download the ebook, Famous-Paintings-Metropolitan-Museum, to learn its must-see masterpieces.

National Gallery (London): with 2300 famous paintings alone in its European painting section, discover highlights to see!  Art Paintings to See at the National Gallery.

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Famous Paintings ebook

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