Madonna in the rocks. Description of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting
This picture is as mysterious and strange as the very personality of Leonardo da Vinci – an extraordinary artist, sculptor, engineer and naturalist who wrote it.
The talented Italian managed to complete only a very small number of works, but nevertheless painted two paintings under the same name, almost identical, differing only in minor details.
The authorship of Leonardo da Vinci, however, is certain, because only he could so perfectly work out such details as the angel and the head of the Madonna.
The composition is based on four figures placed so that the virgin Mary sitting on her knees represents the top of the pyramid. To her left is the infant John the Baptist, holding a long reed cross and holding out his hands with a plea in his face to another child. He is probably asking for the blessing of the infant Jesus.
The Madonna looks at the young John with tenderness and holds him protectively by the shoulder. She holds her other hand over her son’s head. Her blue clothes echo the blue of the sky and the distant mountains, as well as the clothes of the angel of God sitting nearby.
Leonardo achieves the effect of extraordinary volume not only of the composition itself, but also of the models, modeling the forehead, cheeks and chin of Maria, children and angel using the transfer of chiaroscuro.
The infant Jesus sits, held by an angel, on the bare floor of a cave inside a rock. With his left hand, he leans on a rock, helping to hold the weight, and the Messiah raised his other hand with a blessing gesture.
It is likely that John asked for a blessing, and Jesus grants his request. The angel contemplates this peaceful scene, feeling happy to be part of this pious moment. The huge snow-white wings of an angel are semi-complex and surprise the viewer with their naturalness.
The genius of the artist masterfully transferred the light-illuminated curly hair of an angel, resembling a weave of Golden threads.
The grotto itself is also notable. The rocks have bizarre sharp shapes, and at John’s feet a green carpet stretches dark green vegetation with bright white flowers.
The mysterious mountain landscape and the semi-darkness in the cave create a special aura of mystery, so characteristic of the works of Leonardo, who at the same time feels a burning fear of the ominous darkness, and a languid desire to check whether there is anything unusual inside.
The contrast between the peaceful and mysterious atmosphere emanating from the group and the coldness and rough shapes of the rock is very unusual. In the background is a clear and dark outline of the rock vault, which also contrasts with the hazy outlines of distant bluish mountains.