LEONARDO da Vinci
(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)
Landscape drawing for Santa Maria della Neve on 5th August 14731473
Pen and ink, 190 x 285 mm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
The landscape drawing probably shows the view from Montalbano onto the Valdinievole area and the swamps of Fucecchio. It is the first artistic work of Leonardo's that is dated and can definitely be attributed to him, and is at the same time a real rarity: it appears to be the first known depiction of a landscape in Italian art that reproduces an actually existing section of a landscape in an original drawing.
The depiction of the tongue of hills with the fortress, the lines of which partially cover the previously drawn landscape, is a later addition on the part of Leonardo. It was not drawn at the original location. There are also weaknesses in the way the fortress is connected into the scene perspectively, for it is not standing horizontally on the ground. The striking waterfall also appears to be a later addition. It is produced using plain yet powerful strokes, making it unlikely that this was a concrete observation. The water is falling into a pond, the extent of which is peculiarly undefined.