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article imageRestored Da Vinci's 'The Virgin of the Rocks' shows new elements

By KJ Mullins     Jul 15, 2010 in Entertainment
London - When Leonardo Da Vinci painted 'The Virgin of the Rocks' it was long thought he had his assistants help him. Restoration experts at the National Gallery in London now say that it is possible that the master was the only one behind each brush stroke.
The National Gallery will be putting 'The Virgin of the Rocks' back on display after a 18-month restoration that started in November 2008.
It was decided to restore the painting after intensive study of Da Vinci's work and that of his leonardeschi, Milanese associates and assistants. That experience has lead to the revelation that Virgin on the Rock was painted by Da Vinci alone.
The restoration process was complicated by varnish that had been applied in 1948-49. Fine cracking in the varnish had compromised the picture by allowing dirt to be absorbed in its waxy surface. A very fine coat was left when the restoration was completed allowing for the full tonal range of the painting.
Undertaken by Larry Keith, the new Director of Conservation, working in collaboration with the picture’s curator, Luke Syson, and the Scientific Department, under the direction of Ashok Roy the restoration included exchanges between other institutions in Europe who have extensive Leonardo collections, including an earlier version of 'The Virgin of the Rocks'.
The second version of the 'The Virgin of the Rocks' had long been thought to have been painted with the help of assistants by Da Vinci. By careful examination though it appears that Leonardo painted the picture alone leaving some parts simply sketched or yet to be completely resolved, and others (such as the angel’s head) fully worked up.
The newly restored painting will be displayed in a new frame made by Peter Schade. The frame includes parts from a north Italian frame from 1500.
'The Virgin of the Rocks' will be on display in Room 2 of the Gallery (where The Leonardo Cartoon is already situated) in the afternoon of Wednesday 14 July.
More about Virgin rocks, Leonardo vinci, Restoration
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