BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

17 September 2014
Accessibility help
Science & Nature: TV & Radio Follow-upScience & Nature
Science & Nature: TV and Radio Follow-up

BBC Homepage

In TV & Radio
follow-up
:


Contact Us

You are here: BBC Science > Leonardo da Vinci
Virgin of the Rocks
Desktop wallpaper to download
Standard Size (800 x 600)
Large Size (1024 x 468)
Virgin of the Rocks was the first painting executed by Leonardo after he arrived in Milan. Critics argue over exactly what the painting depicts; some claim it shows the immaculate conception, while others think it recalls the moment when the infant Christ met St John the Baptist.

When Leonardo was commissioned to paint this piece, he was given a year to complete it. True to form, he over-ran, and a lengthy law suit followed. Leonardo also fell out with his sponsors over how much he should be paid for the work. Perhaps this is why he began a second version of the painting to give to the commissioners, selling the first on elsewhere.


See the National Gallery version of this painting

There is some debate as to whether both artworks are entirely by Leonardo. In particular, the version that hangs in the National Gallery may have been a collaboration between Leonardo and a second artist, or may have been a project which he simply oversaw.
Back to picture gallery
to enlarge picture

Look For - The painting is set in a cave. Was he giving himself an opportunity to paint nature - or was he implying that nature was his church?

Leonardo has painted light to give this picture structure and form. Before Leonardo, artists had only used light crudely in their work.
Back to picture gallery

More from bbc.co.uk

BBC Leonardo Gallery
More Leonardo paintings

Go further

Leonardo: The Man, His Machines
In depth information about the Virgin of the Rocks

Leonardo's Geology
What do the background of the Virgin paintings tell us about their authenticity?

(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.)




Science Homepage | Nature Homepage
Wildlife Finder | Prehistoric Life | Human Body & Mind | Space
Go to top



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy