The Virgin of the Rocks and Leonardo Da Vinci

In terms of the National Gallery, becomes a painting studio, an imagined chapel and a room-sized experiment in this immersive exhibition that lead me through the mind of Leonardo da Vinci to explore his masterpiece, ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’.I experienced the secrets of Leonardo’s masterpiece are revealed in four distinct spaces. Each space invites me to look at 'The Virgin of the Rocks' in a new way.

The mind of Leonardo

First of all , to tart the exhibition in a landscape populated by the thoughts and ideas of Leonardo as he sets about painting 'The Virgin of the Rocks'.

About the studio

It can discover the secrets only science and conservation can reveal in this projection-filled space which unlocks the mysteries of how ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’ was painted and reveals the lost composition hidden beneath the painted surface.

About the light and shadow experiment

Take part in the room-sized experiment to discover the dramatic effects of light and shadow on Leonardo’s composition for ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’.

The imagined chapel

At the end of my journey, I came face to face with the original masterpiece where it hangs on the walls of an imagined chapel.To contemplate how ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’ might have appeared in its original setting as part of an elaborate altarpiece.

Observing the creative philosophy of nature


What makes this painting interesting to me is related to the name of "The Virgin of the Rocks" in later generations. This kind of scenery is entirely original in Leonardo da Vinci. The fantasy scenery described by his predecessor painters is rarely related to the Virgin. He carefully observed the stones. When he found fossils on the mountain, he would infer that there must have been a flood. Therefore, his work is based on meticulous observation which the creation concept that he has been elaborating. For me, this has a profound influence on me. I think that observation is in art. Before to start a work, this is the most basic and essential foundation. Moreover, he also saw that the earth experienced violent turbulence, and the most significant violence came from water. He once talked about the power of water and how rocks are eroded by water. With time, everything is changing indefinitely, which deeply touched Da Vinci and brought me back to his attitude towards art and sketching: Da Vinci believed that the sketch did not need to be finalized the reason is that he will want to modify it, the painting always has to be changed. In this sense, his understanding of the rock is also since it has passed the hand of time.

Halo coating beyond lines


About Leonardo da Vinci, another important aspect-he is an oil painter, and his painting method is generally called "Sfumato", the original meaning of the word in Italian is "dilution", "Ruyan". Looking at the text left by Da Vinci, he believes that just as there is no outline in nature, the outline of the face is actually drawn by man. If the face moves, or the perspective changes, the lines will change, but there will also be continuity. What he did was create a blooming effect around the edges of the face, making the lines of the face hazy. Later in his career as a painter, the shadows on his face became so dark that we could hardly see any lines. In a sense, in my opinion, he tried to liberate himself from the limitation of oil painting art. Although he had to express the structure with lines, all the faces in the painting were softened. From the characteristics of his paintings, the fortitude that I saw is gentle, which seems to be his character.

The symbolic meaning of rock


The background in the painting-what about those peculiar rocks? Just because Da Vinci feels like a geologist and wants to paint such a landscape? Or do they have a symbolic meaning? I am asking this question here. The relationship between the background and the subject of painting creation always draws and influences each other. I assume some answer. Even if it is not an absolute answer, I think the former's guess will make the painting carry a variety of Interesting meaning, but in this painting, the rocky crisscross may have other connotations, and these connotations are not mutually exclusive. Over time, the Virgin Mary has won various symbolic titles and has all kinds of precious values. The Virgin Mary is compared to various things. People compare her to rocks and mountains. It shows that she is more significant and older than all this, but we must return to the doctrine to discuss that Mary is the God who existed from the beginning. Which is another difficult question in theology, but it is also crucial. Putting the Virgin in the rock is suggesting a sharp contrast. The painter seems to be asking the viewer: Is there any symbolic meaning? I think that when choosing a theme and background for artwork, it is also necessary to think about the symbol and meaning. Let the work talk to the audience to arouse the audience's imagination and curiosity.

Support reading:

1.Alessandro Vezzosi (2019)Leonardo da Vinci : the complete paintings in detail ., Munich:Prestel Publishing

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