Monday, March 25, 2019

Virgin with the Laughing Child

From The Guardian:
It’s always been part of Leonardo’s legend that he made sculptures, including a giant horse, but not a single extant three-dimensional work by him had been identified. The Virgin with the Laughing Child is the miraculous exception, according to the curators of the exhibition Verrocchio: Master of Leonardo, at Palazzo Strozzi, where it has just gone on display. It has an unambiguous label: Leonardo da Vinci. He is said to have created it around 1472, when he was 19 or 20 and a pupil of the Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio.

The UK has a special interest in the find, which has belonged to the V&A since 1858 but had long been credited to another artist, Antonio Rossellino. That is because scholars had been bamboozled by the posthumous authority of the late art historian and British Museum director John Pope-Hennessy, according to Francesco Caglioti, the Italian academic who is leading the new attribution. Caglioti, who teaches at Naples University, is well known among Renaissance experts for his unrivalled knowledge of 15th-century sculpture: an art history prodigy who made a catalogue of the Louvre when he was eight. Victorians had no difficulty seeing the Leonardo-esque look of the V&A treasure, he said. The Virgin Mary looks down at the Christ child on her lap with what may be the prototype of all the enigmatic smiles in Leonardo’s art, the most famous of which is the Mona Lisa’s. (Read more.)

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