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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

The bust of the Madonna c.1500

RCIN 912514

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A study of the bust of a woman seen to the waist, the head indicated in outline, the rest modelled in red chalk. She is turned slightly to the left, and is leaning slightly forwards, with her head turned to the right. The drawing is a study for the bust of the Virgin in a composition known as the Madonna of the Yarnwinder. Several versions of the painting survive, the finest in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch (stolen in 2003). The drawing is executed in Leonardo’s distinctive technique of red chalk on paper coated with a delicate pale red preparation, itself probably composed of ground red chalk. The facial features of the Madonna can just be discerned, outlined in metalpoint.