The Madonna and Child
1490 - 1491
Leonardo da Vinci
This painting would seem to have been produced in Milan, where the artist moved in 1482. It was one of a number of works to herald the arrival of a new period in art, which was to become known as the High Renaissance. The beautiful woman feeding her child seems to be the epitome of motherhood and motherly love, perceived as perhaps the greatest human value. The composition is simple and balanced, the figures of the Madonna and the Christ child modelled with the finest use of light and shade. Beyond the symmetrical windows lies an endless mountain landscape, recalling the harmony and vastness of all Creation.
There is a preparatory drawing for this canvas in the Louvre.
The painting is also known by the name of its previous owner, Count Antonio Litta, from whom it was acquired in 1865.