Leonardo da Vinci: The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne

“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.” Leonardo da Vinci

It’s been 500 years!  All of Italy – and the world – is celebrating Leonardo da Vinci’s life by remembering his death on May 2, 1519.

I  am familiar with his most famous paintings, which have become mythological themes in recent books and movies – the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and the Vitruvian Man.   Leonardo da Vinci was much more than three paintings, as I have learned from my exploration into the life of Leonardo.

ChasingART will be celebrating the Life of Leonardo over the coming months by featuring his other paintings.  Each one holds an extraordinary story within the paint and brushstrokes.

Thank you for joining me on this treasure hunt, for indeed that is what it turned out to be!

The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, Leonardo da Vinci

“Saint Anne, the Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus – three generations, two the fruit of immaculate conception – are portrayed in a landscape. The picture was very probably commissioned as an ex-voto to Saint Anne in gratitude for the birth of Louis XII’s daughter, but Leonardo worked too long on the picture to deliver it. The composition is a fine example of his experimentation with figure composition and greatly inspired artists of the following generation.”

The Lourve

The lamb is a symbol of sacrifice, a foreshadowing of the Passion.   Jesus’s mother, Mary,  tries to protect him by holding him back.  What is interesting to me is that Mary is sitting on her mother’s lap. A protector of the protector, which suggest a close family connection. Some believe that Leonardo’s childhood provides context in that he was raised by his mother, but was adopted by the wife of his father, Ser Piero.

Sigmund Freud weighed in with a psychoanalytic examination entitled, Leonardo da Vinci, A Memory of His Childhood, suggesting that Mary’s garment, if you look at it at a certain angle, reveals a vulture. I confess that I have looked at this painting from various positions and cannot see anything that resembles a vulture.

In 2011-2012, there was a kerfuffle over whether this painting should be restored.  Some experts were for the restoration, some were not, thinking that the painting may be damaged.  The final outcome: the painting was cleaned and is located in Room 710 Department of Painting of the Lourvre,  Denon wing 1st floor, Grande Galerie.

Or you can see the restored painting on the Louvre website.

Let’s celebrate!

I invite you to listen to my podcast Celebrating Leonardo on Tea Toast & Trivia.



  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    /si, this has been on the screen since you posted it – what a lovely painting – each ‘generation’ so very important and special.

    I love what you’re doing this month with your posts – at some point i’ll be back with more comments!

  2. Mary Jo Malo

    How did I not know about your podcasts?! I’ve bookmarked your TT&T site for easy access to listening during my morning coffee and afternoon tea. So nice to hear your voice as well as your guests’. What a perfect format for all your creative talents and warmth. Hugs!

    1. Clanmother

      I am so happy that you are listening in!! When my father passed eight years ago, I promised that I would write about the beauty of life. So this is my way of fulfilling my promise. I continue to learn about mics, background noise etc. I especially enjoy conversations with Frances. Stay tuned for how to make a sod house. These are stories that I have just discovered!!!

  3. Resa

    I missed this post on this site, but I did enjoy it on TT&T.

    I’m doing a special post on Art Gowns. I’m looking for a piece in a ballet that shows sorrow, but then great redemption…joy hopefully, arising from it.
    Any ideas?

  4. Ms Frances

    This is going to be a great treasure hunt! Thank you for doing all the research. This visual author and artist was truly amazing, a giant among artists. I will look forward to this adventure of learning new things. Off to new experiences with you!

    1. Clanmother

      So glad you are joining the treasure hunt. What I find most fascinating is all of the discussion and arguments surrounding Leonardo’s paintings. There is always a plethora of opinions to consider. Even 500 years after his death, we embrace him as if he belongs to us, to our generation.

    1. Clanmother

      What an adventure this is! Everyone wants to understand Leonardo, but I rather think that he will ever-remain, a man for all generations. Which suggests, that he will be always be unreachable. Thank you so much for joining the treasure hunt.

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