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THE VIRGIN, SAINT ANNE, AND THE
lEONABdO DA VINCI.
The Virgin is seen seated in the lap of St Anne, and bends forward to take the infant Jesus in her arms, who is playing with a lamb.
It is somewhat singular that Leonardo should have placed a female, of the age apparently of eighteen, upon the lap of her mother. This composition the artist has copied, and there is still existing a similar picture at Milan.
This picture formed a part of the old collection of paintings at the Louvre;—it is painted on wood, about five feet two inches high, and three feet ten inches broad.
This master was descended from a noble family, and born at the castle of Vinci, near Florence, in 1445. From the excellence of his genius, his proficiency was so rapid that he surpassed his instructor, Andrea Verocchio, in such an eminent degree, that it provoked him to quit the profession entirely. His talents were of the most comprehensive kind, and the virtues of his mind were only excelled by his understanding.
In the year 1494 he went to Milan, where he was most affectionately received by the Duke Ludovico Sforza, and the fondness which that prince afterwards expressed diffuse it over numerons groups, cannot now be determined; but he left his piece flat, and without that solemnity of twilight, which is more than an equivalent for those contracts of chiaro-scuro, that Giorgione is said to have learnt from him. The legend which makes Leonardo go to Rome with Julia.no de Medici, atrthe election of Leo X. to accept employment in the Vatican, whether sufficiently authentic or not, furnishes a characteristic trait of the man. The pope passing through the room allotted for the pictures, and instead of designs and cartoons, finding nothing but an apparatus of distillery of oils and varnishes, exclaimed, "Ah me! he means to do nothing, for he thinks of the end before he has made a beginning." From a Sonnet of Leonardo, preserved by Lomazzo, he appears to have been sensible of the inconstancy of his countrymen, and full of wishes at least to correct it."