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Virgin of the rocks: A subversive message hidden by Da Vinci

Virgin of the rocks: A subversive message hidden by Da Vinci

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Some paintings are as mysterious as they are famous. Gazing at them is like diving into a deep dark sea. You never know what unsuspecting pearl your eyes might prise loose from their secretive lips – what key you might find that can unlock their power. Take Leonardo da Vinci’s the Virgin of the Rocks, in which the infant Jesus finds himself in a shadowy cave on an Alpine playdate with a baby John the Baptist. Or rather, take both versions of the work that Leonardo created between 1483 and 1508: the one that hangs in the Louvre in Paris (thought to be the earlier of the two, completed around 1486) and a subsequent one that resides in the National Gallery in London (begun in 1495 and finished 13 years later). Hiding in plain sight in both paintings is a small and previously overlooked detail that, once spotted, transforms the scene into something more complex and controversial than the vision of a sacred creche, watched over tenderly by the Virgin Mary and the archangel Uriel. They…
Source: Virgin of the rocks: A subversive message hidden by Da Vinci

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