Leonardo da Vinci Paintings
Virgin of the Rocks, 1506
Oil on wood, 74.61 x 47.24 inches [189.5 x 120 cm]
National Gallery, London
'The Virgin of the Rocks' seems not to refer to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, but depicts the type of subject that Leonardo might have painted in his native Florence where legends concerning the young Saint John the Baptist were popular.
It was twenty five years until a painting of this subject was finally placed in the chapel. In the interim, Leonardo had painted two versions of the Virgin of the Rocks: the first (in the Louvre) probably sold in the 1490s to a private client after a financial wrangle with the Confraternity; and a replacement, - the painting that now hangs in the National Gallery - that was never finished despite some help from his studio, but was installed in the chapel in 1508.