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Accompanies the major exhibition across 12 UK venues in 2019

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

The Madonna and Child with the infant Baptist, and heads in profile c.1478

Pen and ink | 40.5 x 29.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 912276

In an exhibition, Palazzo Strozzi [Florence]

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Recto: a large study of the Virgin and Child with St John; another of St John, and many profiles; with two lions, a dragon, and a lunging man. Verso: profiles and busts of women, and old and young men. Most of Leonardo's profiles were drawn from his imagination, but several of the sketches of the young woman here show her in contemporary dress and may have been done from the life. However she has little sense of individuality, and is no more than raw material for Leonardo's game of profiles. Already, in his mid-twenties, Leonardo's narrow range of profile types had become habitual. Text adapted from 'Leonardo da Vinci: the Divine and the Grotesque'