The Virgin of the Rocks (da Vinci)
Artist Leonard da Vinci
Date ca. 1485
Movement High Renaissance
Medium Oil on panel transferred to canvas
Dimensions 6’6″ x 4′
Housed at Musée du Louvre
This work was commissioned for a confraternity dedicated to the Immaculate Conception in Milan. During the Renaissance, the “humanization” of Christ became a popular topic for study; therefore, works depicting Christ’s earlier years became increasingly commonplace. Da Vinci employs sfumato to create a hazy atmosphere; as a result the figures appear much more naturally a part of the landscape in which they inhabit.
This work depicts St. John the Baptist kneeling towards Christ, who blesses his cousin in return; Christ is steadied by an angel, and the Virgin Mary connects the scene; the figures form a balanced and stable pyramid, lending a peaceful air to the scene which is accentuated by its dream-like haze.