Mysterious ‘ secret drawings ’ by Leonardo da Vinci found hidden beneath famous painting

  15 August 2019    Read: 2137
 Mysterious ‘  secret drawings  ’ by Leonardo da Vinci found hidden beneath famous painting

DRAWINGS made by Leonardo da Vinci underneath one of his most popular paintings have been revealed.

Scribbles from the Renaissance master were found buried underneath his 16th Century work The Virgin Of The Rocks.

State-of-the-art imaging techniques have found Leonardo's early sketches for the angel and the infant Christ (white outlines)

Credit: The National Gallery, London

It uncovered Leonardo's initial designs for the angel and the infant Christ, with "significant differences to how they look in the finished painting", experts said.

The National Gallery in London - which is preparing an "immersive exploration" of work by the Renaissance master - has undertaken scientific research into The Virgin Of The Rocks.

Experts spent months using imaging techniques on the "abandoned" 1508 composition.

"Both figures are positioned higher up in the drawing, while the angel, facing out, is looking down on the infant Christ with what appears to be a much tighter embrace," the National Gallery said.

Scan of Leonardo's artwork The Virgin Of The Rocks, showing distribution of zinc revealing the angel and baby of the first composition, as drawings made by the artist underneath one of his most popular paintings have been revealed

Credit: The National Gallery, London

"Why Leonardo abandoned this first composition still remains a mystery.

"Handprints resulting from patting down the priming on the panel to create an even layer of more or less uniform thickness can also be seen, probably the work of an assistant - but perhaps even by Leonardo himself."

The drawings were made in a material containing some zinc, so could be seen in macro X-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) maps, and with infrared and hyperspectral imaging.

It comes as the National Gallery announces an "immersive exploration of da Vinci's genius as a painter, focusing on The Virgin Of The Rocks.

Its ground-floor galleries "will be completely transformed into a space that investigates this painting and the inventive mind that created it".

There will be "multi-sensory experiences" in four rooms, including a chapel-like environment to see what its setting may have looked like.

The experience has been created with 59 Productions, which worked on the V&A's David Bowie exhibition.

National Gallery director Dr Gabriele Finaldi said: "This exhibition combines the most recent technical research on The Virgin Of The Rocks with an immersive, enveloping experience.

 

The Sun


More about: photo