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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) and sun spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia) c.1505-10

RCIN 912424

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Around 1505-10 Leonardo made several drawings of plants for the foreground of a painting of Leda and the swan, which was destroyed around 1700. The main plant here is the Star of Bethlehem, the trailing leaves arranged into a dense swirl. Flanking it is a wood anemone, and below is a sun spurge, with close attention paid to the peculiar form of the spurge’s flower heads.