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

Study of the Madonna and Child with a Cat

c. 1478
Pen and ink on paper, 281 x 199 mm
British Museum, London

The compositional drawing is connected with the painting of the Benois Madonna, as indicated by the head of Mary and the sketched window in the background. Leonardo traced the composition from the rear side, worked out the mirror image version with additional variations, and then applied a wash. There is no record of a painting of this composition by Leonardo. The motif of the Madonna with a cat was later depicted in a student's painting that is now in the Brera in Milan.




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