The Virgin Mary sits on the lap of her mother, Saint Anne. The Christ Child blesses his cousin Saint John the Baptist (the child on the right). Leonardo also treated the meeting of the two children in his two paintings of the Virgin of the Rocks. Both works are set in a wild mountainous landscape.
Saint Annes gesture, her finger pointing to heaven, alludes to Christs future destiny. Since she does not look very old and seems intimately related to Saint John the Baptist, many scholars have proposed that she is Saint Elizabeth, the Baptists mother. However, there is no tradition of placing the Virgin upon Elizabeths lap, whereas Saint Anne was often represented in this way.
This large drawing is a cartoon, that is, a full-size preparatory study for a painting. Usually, in order to transfer a design onto a panel, the outlines of cartoons were pricked or incised. This example is intact. It must have been preserved in its own right as a finished drawing, although some areas have deliberately been left inconclusive or in rough outline.
A cartoon of a similar subject by Leonardo drew huge crowds when it was publicly displayed in Florence in 1501. This was probably made for the painting now in the Louvre, Paris. The National Gallerys cartoon may have been executed slightly earlier in Milan, perhaps after the French invasion of the city. Many artists drew inspiration from these complex and atmospheric drawings.
We now offer size, fabric & filling options on selected cushion collections. So please use the drop menu on the right, to customize your order.
- Vegan–friendly, super soft faux suede (100% Polyester) with a coloured back panel and zip fasting.
- Our 100% cotton / linen mix gives a natural feel and look. It is finished with a concealed zip.
- All our heritage and retro collections are best suited to this fabric choice.
- 1046124 NG Code
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- Machine washable (check care label prior to washing)
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