(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)

Virgin of the Rocks (detail)

Oil on panel
Musée du Louvre, Paris

In contrast with traditional iconography, Leonardo has not conceived Mary and the Christ Child as a closely united group, but has placed Jesus beneath his mother's hand next to an angel on the right side of the picture. In accordance with the composition of the group of figures which are connected to each other by means of glances and gestures, the angel has embraced him and is looking at him; his finger, however, is pointing at the small St. John in the Mother of God's arms who is adoring the Christ Child, whose hand is raised in blessing, entirely in the traditional manner.