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Virgin on the Rocks

Virgin on the Rocks is the name of two pictures what Leonardo Da Vinci has drawn in XV and XVI century; First in 1486, and second in 1508. The first image has dimensions 199cm x 122cm, it was drawn by oil on panel, and we can see it in Louvre in Paris. The second - younger picture has dimensions 189,5cm x 120cm, it is drawn with the same technique as first one and it is located in National Gallery in London.Leonardo Da Vinci - Virgin of the Rocks(Louvre)Leonardo da Vinci Virgin of the Rocks (National Gallery London

The picture shows Madonna, Jesus and the Angel. the characters are sitting in a rocky setting which gives the paintings their usual name. The image was painted at the request of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception and the picture was at the beginning in a church in Milan.

Normally when we’ve seen Mary and Christ, Mary has been enthroned as the queen of heaven. Here, in contrast, we see Mary seated on the ground. This type of representation of Mary is referred to as the Madonna of Humility.The Virgin gazes down at her son, and the placement of her left hand reinforces the emphasis on Christ.

Mary has her right arm around the infant Saint John the Baptist who is making a gesture of prayer to the Christ child.

The Christ child in turn blesses St. John.

Mary’s left hand hovers protectively over the head of her son while an angel looks out and points to St. John.

The figures are all located in a fabulous and mystical landscape with rivers that seem to lead nowhere and bizarre rock formations that recall the Dolomite mountains of northeastern Italy.

In the foreground we see carefully observed and precisely rendered plants and flowers.

There is one compositional difference - in the London painting, the angel's right hand is rested upon her knee, and in the Louvre painting the same hand is raised, and is pointing towards John the Baptist.Furthermore, the angels eyes are down in a contemplative way in the National Gallery version, with the Louvre painting having the angels eyes looking at the viewer.There is a greater contrast between light and shading, creating a much sharper image in the London painting. The Louvre painting shows much more delicately painted facial features, making the figures appear warmer and softer.

On the left side in the distance, the forms become less distinct as they get lost in a haze of foggy atmosphere, which illustrates the implementation of aerial perspective. The very smooth transition between colors and between light and dark that Leonardo used in this painting is called sfumato, which means “smoky”. Not only is it visible in the landscape, but also in the figures, who are cast in light which smoothly turns into areas of dark shade. It is similar to the traditional chiaroscuro technique used by earlier Italian painters, but it is more refined and elevated to convey a higher level of visual realism.

Leonardo created the illusion of distance by painting the rocky formations in the background so that they appear blue-gray and less detailed than the landscape of the foreground.