To Top

Virgin of the Rocks or Madonna of the Rocks

  • Virgin of the Rocks” which is also named as “Madonna of the Rocks” is one of the Late Renaissance paintings of Leonordo Da Vinci.
  • The painting was sketched by  Leonardo da Vinci in two versions ; One painting usually hangs in the Louvre, Paris, and the other in the National Gallery, London.
  • Leonardo painted both of the versions in Milan, where he had moved from Florence.
  • Both of the paintings show the Madonna and Christ Child with the infant John the Baptist and an angel, in a rocky setting which gives the paintings their usual name.
Virgin of the Rocks at Musée du Louvre Paris France. Photo : mbell1975 flickr

Virgin of the Rocks at Musée du Louvre Paris France. Photo : mbell1975 flickr

  • “Virgin of the Rocks” is painted in oils on wooden panel. The height of both of the paintings is of 2 meters.
  • Mary, which is normally dignified as the queen of heaven. In “Virgin of the Rock” Mary is seated on the ground. This type of representation of Mary makes her a symbol of humbleness.
  • Both versions of “Virgin of the Rocks” have remained under great debate and research by the historians. The Louvre version is considered as the entire creation of Leonordo while the National Gallery London version is still the source of some doubts.
  • The legend associated with “Virgin of the Rocks” is an allegorical meeting between the infant Jesus and John the Baptist on the flight into Egypt. Mary who is seated at the centre of the composition with Jesus is shown with the angel Uriel whose arm is raised in blessing; John’s hands are fastened for prayer.

Madonna of the Rocks: The National Gallery, London

  • The periods of both of the versions of “Virgin of the Rocks” are like this; The pattern of the Louvre version belongs more to the 1480’s and it was completed early in 1490. While the London version is assumed to be completed in 1506.
  • “Virgin of the Rocks”, is another Da Vinci painting that makes an appearance in The Da Vinci Code book. According to The Da Vinci Code, the baby on the left is actually Jesus and is shown praying to John. Mary appears to be holding a phantom head, which Uriel is cutting off at the neck.
  • The recent restoration project for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks”  or “Madonna of the Rocks” has revealed new details and suggests the Renaissance artist may have painted the entire picture himself, instead of with his assistants as previously thought.
London & Paris Versions, " Madonna of the Rocks"

London_& Paris_Versions, " Madonna of the Rocks"

More inThe Lovely Planet

Privacy Preference Center