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Artwork Review: The Madonna with the Carnation by Da Vinci
Posted by Kenny on 7/20/2009 11:12:18 AM (ET)
Filed Under: General
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Despite extensive repainting, all the parts of this work that have survived intact are demonstrably characteristic of Leonardo’s handling of motion, light and landscape backgrounds. At first this may seem a calm, even static, composition, but certain details reveal the artist’s preoccupation with the principle of motion, which he believed all things in the universe to possess. Demonstrations of the idea are found throughout his drawings and paintings. Here, the coiling of Mary’s braided hair, the contrapposto (twisting in opposite directions) of the Child’s body, the way the bouquet springs up from the vase, are all manifestations of this hidden energy.

The Madonna with the Carnation - Da Vinci

Oil on Panel

The Virgin’s head, the apex of the triangular structure of this composition, is set off from the dark wall by light that comes from both sides to model her face in three-dimensional form--similar to the treatment in the portrait of Ginevra de'Benci. Behind Mary can be glimpsed a scene often repeated in Leonardo's later work.

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