Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Leonardo da Vinci

Madonna Litta
c. 1490-91
42 x 33 cm (16 1/2 x 13 in)
Tempera on canvas, transferred from panel
Hermitage,St. Petersburg

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452 – 1519) was an Italian Renaissance polymath. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination".

The Madonna Litta is a painting of the Madonna and Christ Child.
This work was painted for the Visconti rulers of Milan and soon passed to the Litta family, in whose possession it would remain for centuries. In 1865, Alexander II of Russia acquired it and deposited the painting in the Hermitage Museum, where it has been exhibited to this day. The museum had the painting transferred from wood to canvas.

'In the normal course of events many men and women are born with remarkable talents; but occasionally, in a way that transcends nature, a single person is marvellously endowed by Heaven with beauty, grace and talent in such abundance that he leaves other men far behind, all his actions seem inspired and indeed everything he does clearly comes from God rather than from human skill. Everyone acknowledged that this was true of Leonardo da Vinci, an artist of outstanding physical beauty, who displayed infinite grace in everything that he did and who cultivated his genius so brilliantly that all problems he studied he solved with ease.' (Giorgio Vasari)