8 November 2011
Last updated at 00:03
National Gallery's Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, which opens on Wednesday, is expected to be one of this year's most significant art events. The Virgin of the Rocks - bought in 1880 by the gallery and recently restored - will be one of the numerous works featured.
The exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan will feature more than 60 works by the artist, among them The Lady with an Ermine, a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, mistress of da Vinci's patron Ludovico Maria Sforza.
Portrait of a Woman (La Belle Ferronniere) may be a depiction of nobleman Ludovico il Moro's duchess or of one of his other mistresses. The painting will be lent to the exhibition by the Louvre in Paris.
The show will feature a significant number of other international loans. This picture of St Jerome, believed to date from around 1488-90, will be temporarily donated by the Pinacoteca art gallery in the Vatican City.
The Virgin and Child (Madonna Litta) will be lent to the exhibition by the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia. Drawings related to this famous work will also be featured.
Portrait of a Musician is da Vinci's only known portrait of a man. Leonardo, a musician himself, worked closely with other musical performers, designing instruments and devising settings for courtly entertainments.
The Madonna of the Yarnwinder was stolen in 2003 and recovered in 2007. Its owner, the Duke of Buccleuch, has not been deterred from loaning it to the National Gallery's exhibition.
The exhibition, which the National Gallery says is dedicated to da Vinci’s aims and techniques as a painter, features a number of drawings. They include studies of a dog’s paw, sketched in about 1485, which is owned by the National Gallery of Scotland.
This sketch of the ventricles of the brain and the layers of the scalp, drawn between 1490 and 1494, is owned by the Queen.
Works by some of da Vinci's closest collaborators - among them this near-contemporary copy of The Last Supper by his pupil Giampietrino - will feature in the exhibition.
Giampietrino’s copy will be displayed alongside all surviving preparatory drawings for da Vinci’s masterpiece, including this 1492 study, owned by the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice.
Da Vinci was commissioned to paint Virgin of the Rocks for the central panel of an elaborate sculpted altar at a church in Milan in 1480. The finished work (pictured left), though, was sent to France and is now owned by the Louvre. A replacement (pictured right) painted for the church and probably completed in 1508 is owed by the National Gallery. The two works are being displayed together for the first time at the exhibition, which runs from Wednesday until 5 February 2012. Advance booking opens on Tuesday.