Benois Madonna

Oil on wood, transferred canvas, 49.5 31cm    St Petersburg Hermitage


Benois Madonna was probably painted between 1475-1480. Leonardo makes his first appearance as an independent artist who has arrived at his own formal style.
There are two of Leonardo's preliminary sketches for this piece in the British Museum.
Somber colors, expression of the too young Holy Mother, but It's all correct this is an autograph work by Leonardo.
Young Leonardo worked with all his might.

The treatment of its draperies reveals a certain relationship with later paintings such as the The Virgin and Child with Saint Annei.
The Benois madonna corresponds to a type that is found in many of Leonardo's drawings and that was evidently particularly popular.

This picture was transferred from wood to canvas in1824, and a strip measuring 1.5 cm wide was added to the bottom edge of the composition, the painting was thus originally probably only 48 cm high.
The picture is in only mediocre condition. Infrared reflectography has revealed numerous pentimenti. Thus the head of the Child was somewhat bigger in an earlier draft of the painting, the Virgin probably held in her left hand a small bunch of flowers, her hair probably framed her left temple and the sleeve of her right arm may have been somewhat fuller.

For centuries, Madonna and Child with Flowers was considered lost.
The Bunois Madonna was previously in the possession of A.I. Korsakov, is first mentioned in 1827 in an inventory of the collection of Alexander Petrovich Sapozhnikov, which also describes the transfer of the paint to canvas .
The picture subsequently passed into the collection of Leon Benois. After being exhibited in St Petersburg in 1908/09.
The painting was purchased by the Hermitage from M.A. Bunois for 150000 roubles.


Hermitage Museum


Hermitage Museum,

38 Palace Embankment, Dvortsovy Municipal Okrug , Cental District, Saint Petersburg

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