LEONARDO da Vinci
(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)
Design for St Annec. 1501
Slate pencil on prepared paper, 218 x 164 mm
Private collection, Geneva
Mary is trying to prevent Jesus playing with the lamb, but Anne tells her to let the boy be. Jesus must accept his fate, his death for the salvation of mankind, which is symbolized by the lamb. The drawing was first published by Carlo Pedretti and filled the gap between a contemporary description of a design for St Anne and Leonardo's surviving composition on this theme. Even though the attribution of the drawing to Leonardo is disputed, there is nothing to suggest that it could not have been produced in Leonardo's workshop.