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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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A study of a Star of Bethlehem with starry flowers and long, thin, twisted leaves. To the left are leaves of crowsfoot, and to the right, wood anemone. Behind, to the right, are grasses. Below is a tall spray of sun spurge in bloom, and individual drawings of its flowers. 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. His interest in the structure of individual species, however, went far beyond what was necessary for a painting; here he pays close attention to the form of the spurge's flowers.