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Abandoned sketch found under da Vinci work

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(Source: National Gallery / Above article)

The National Gallery of London has released revelatory new images of one of its most beloved masterpieces, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks (1491–99, 1506–08), showing underdrawings beneath the surface of the work that depict an entirely different composition.

The museum has known since 2005 that Leonardo reworked the nearly six-foot tall, oil-on-panel painting, having examined it using infrared reflectography. Now, thanks to newer technology, these underdrawings can be seen more clearly.

There are actually two distinct underdrawings in the work. One hews fairly closely to the final composition, but does not show the baby Jesus in profile, as he appears in the final painting; the other is a completely different design and depicts the Virgin Mary kneeling over the baby Jesus as an angel looks over his shoulder.

Leonardo used a zinc-based pigment in his sketches, which was detected using macro x-ray fluorescence maps. The painting was also analyzed with hyperspectral imaging. The work underwent an 18-month restoration beginning in 2008, returning to view in 2010.

Well, the original sketch does look quite different from the finished painting.

I think I prefer the painting as we know it, though - so, I'm glad this was abandoned!
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Lurker101 Wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if there was a Mega Blok movie planned but the pieces wouldn't fit together.

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