Sunday, April 8, 2012
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, a Leonardo da Vinci's oil on wood painting (168 cm × 112 cm (66 in × 44 in) depicting St. Anne, her daughter the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus grappling with a sacrificial lamb symbolizing his Passion as the Virgin tries to restrain him, is being exhibited at the Louvre together with all surviving related works.
Leonardo had already represented these figures together in The Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist, sometimes called The Burlington House Cartoon, a charcoal and black and white chalk drawing on eight sheets of paper glued together.
Commissioned as the high altarpiece for the Church of Santissima Annunziata in Florence, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne was started in 1501, as it was first mentioned in Isabella d’Este’s correspondence, and it was left unfinished upon his death in 1519.
The painting was recently restored with the aid of the C2RMF (Center for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France), however this process wasn't exempt from controversy. On 7 October 2011, Le Journal des Arts, a Paris art publication, reported that the restoration posed more danger to the painting than was previously expected.
The exhibition includes compositional sketches, preparatory drawings, landscape studies and The Burlington House Cartoon (National Gallery), brought together for the first time since the artist’s death and revealing his lengthy meditation and succession of solutions he had envisioned for this masterpiece.
Other painted artworks by Leonardo are also used to illustrate how Saint Anne is the true culmination of the artist’s numerous and varied explorations on nature and art.
In order to bring out the full scale of Saint Anne's innovative nature, the exposition also strives to reposition the artwork in the iconographic tradition of its subject (The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne) and affirm its considerable influence on Italian art in the early 16th century.
More recent tributes to the artist by Eugène Delacroix, Edgar Degas, and Max Ernst bear witness to the masterpiece’s longstanding influence.
Leonardo da Vinci's The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, can be visited at the Louvre (Napoleon Hall, beneath the Pyramid) from March 29 to June 25, 2012.
The exhibition is organized by Vincent Delieuvin, curator in the Department of Paintings, Musée du Louvre.