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Accompanies the major exhibition in 2019

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A bust of a child in profile c.1495-1500

Red chalk | 10.0 x 10.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 912519

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A study of the head and shoulders of a naked child, turned in profile to the left. It is related to the Christ in the National Gallery's version of the Virgin of the Rocks. This image is unusual in being apparently, drawn from the life, and this may have been prompted by its function. While Leonardo was content to reproduce the usual form of an infant's profile, the modelling of the flesh in the round seems to have been the focus of this study and RL 12567 with which it is surely associated. This is suggestive not of a study for a painting but rather for a three-dimensional bust. However no such bust by Leonardo has been identified - indeed there is no work of sculpture that is generally accepted as being by the artist. Text adapted from 'Leonardo da Vinci: the Divine and the Grotesque'