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Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci and Its Interpretations Essay


As it has already been stated, all people understand art in different ways. First of all, the way in which a person sees some artwork and understands its sense depends on the outlook, beliefs and mood of a person. (Berger 7). There is no use denying the fact that one picture can give a great number of different opportunities for people to analyze it and understand its hidden sense, discovering its new aspects every time a person looks at it.

However, not only common viewers can have different interpretations of the same idea or notion. The thing is, that some events or motifs are quite popular and it is obvious that painters devote their works to them, trying to show their way of seeing and understanding. That is why, there is a great number of different interpretations of the same events in art. There are many pictures devoted to the issue of war or some certain battle.

Additionally, there is a great number of pictures which show some known historical figure in his/her natural surroundings. Nevertheless, there are also many artworks devoted to religious issues, which depict Madonna, Jesus or angels. However, the fact that numerous pictures are devoted to the same issue does not make them similar. That is why, art can be called a very powerful remedy for self expression which can provide limitless opportunities for people. Additionally, it is possible to say that even the reproduction of some picture can show the point of view of a painter, who made it, on the issue. The theme of reproduction becomes very topical nowadays as modern technologies provide the possibility to make numerous copies of the original art work with the help of cameras, video cameras and some other devices.

Moreover, modern paints differ from the ancient ones and that is why, painted with the help of modern paintings, old picture will look different (Larsen para. 3). With this in mind, it is possible to say that reproductions of the same picture or different artworks devoted to the same event or issue can show the painters vision of this event and, additionally, can promote appearance of different points of view among viewers. To prove this statement it is possible to introduce the special set of pictures which can serve as the best evidence to the idea of diversity between reproductions and pictures devoted to the same issue.

First of all, the picture Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci should be added to the gallery which is created to prove our point of view. There are certain obvious reasons for this step. The main aspect is connected with the unusual history of this artwork. The thing is that there are two variants of this picture and both of them are of a great cultural value (“Art of Leonardo da Vinci” para. 3). These works are considered to be made by Leonardo da Vinci and they are almost identical except some tiny details.

The version, which is supposed to be the first one, can be found in Louvre in Paris. First of all, it is necessary to analyze the original in order to understand the main idea of the given artwork and compare it with some other works devoted to the same issue. The picture depicts Madonna with the Child Jesus, the infant John the Baptist and the angel. Madonna sits on the rocks, surrounded by mountains. This rocky setting is the main reason of the unusual name of the picture.

The work is written by a genuine painter and that is why there is no use denying the fact that it is a great masterpiece. All characters, which are depicted in the picture, look natural and there is a feeling that they can continue their communication which was interrupted by a viewer. Madonna, depicted there, hugs John the Baptist, at the same time her gesture can be taken as the sign used to bless people and protect them. Attention which is given to the tiniest details impresses a viewer. It is possible to see the smallest rocks or grass blades, additionally, the atmosphere of the cavern, where all characters sit, is shown perfectly and makes a viewer feel as if he/she is there.

However, there is also one more variant of this very work which can be found in National Museum in London. At the first gaze, the picture can be taken as identical to the previous one. There are the same surroundings and the same images of Madonna, Jesus, angel and John the Baptist in this picture. However, having investigated it, it is possible to see some differences. First of all, it should be said that these pictures are different because of the colors used. The second version is lighter and the whole gamma seems to be different.

However, the colors are not the only difference. The thing is that the picture, which can be found in London, suggests another vision of the same issue. It is possible to understand it, comparing these two artworks. There is no halo around the angels and Madonnas head in the picture in Louvre. Additionally, John the Baptist holds the cross. There are also several differences connected with the image of the angel. The red mantle is replaced with the blue one, additionally, the angel in no more pointing John the Baptist.

There is a great number of adheres of some conspiratorial versions or some mystifications. Many questions appear in the process of discussion of these pictures. Scientists try to determine what the main da Vincis idea was and what he wanted to show his ancestors creating these two versions of the same picture which is devoted to the same event.

That is why, these two works can be taken as the best evidence to our statement that reproductions of the same works suggest some new visions of the same events. Though, there are some points of view which state that the second version of the picture Virgin of the Rocks was painted not only by Leonardo da Vinci but some of his pupils helped him. Though, he is still responsible for this work and there is no use denying the fact that the main idea was created by him. That is why, these two pictures can be taken as the example of two different points of view on the same issue. Additionally, they are interpreted by the viewers in different ways. Debates around these pictures show the ability of artworks to initiate different attitudes towards some questions.

Moreover, there are two more pictures which also can show differences in the approaches to the same issue and, moreover, can add some new points of view on the issue. The thing is that there are two more pictures which are connected with the artwork Virgin of the Rocks. This picture was supposed to be surrounded by four angels. However, there are only two angels painted. They both are turned in the same direction and they both play different musical instruments (“Interpretation of Virgin of the Rocks” para. 9).

Both these paintings should obviously be added to our gallery as they also show different approaches to the same issue. There is an angel who plays a vielle in the first picture. He looks very humble and solemn. Additionally, his wings are dark. That is why, there is also a great number of questions connected with this picture. It was obviously painted by another painter, however, it is still related to the picture Virgin of the Rocks. The angel stays against the gray background, however, the reflectogram revealed some part of a painted landscape (“Interpretation of Virgin of the Rocks” para. 9).

That is why, the question of the initial purpose of this very angel and his position appears. The same question is connected with the second picture called Angel in Red with a Lute. This picture is also taken as the part of this great composition, though, it was painted by another painter. The style, in which the picture is made, is different. The angel is more humanlike, however, his wings are light. He looks in the same direction as the previous one, staying in a grey niche. Being rather different, these pictures still belong to the same artwork and help to complete the image However, they also introduce a great number of questions connected with the purpose of the picture Virgin of the Rocks and differences which exist between two different versions.

Besides, these four pictures introduce some point of view on the issue of the Holy Family peculiar to Leonardo da Vinci and some other painters. However, it is obvious, that these pictures are not the only artworks devoted to this theme. Great number of painters used religious motifs in their works and many pictures depict Madonna and Jesus. However, only two of them should also be added to our gallery. The artworks Holy Family and St. John by Bernardino Luini and Holy Infants Embracing by Joos van Cleve can serve as another interpretation of the same motif. Additionally, they are considered to be derivations of da Vincis Virgin of the Rocks. It is very easy to understand the reason of this choice. The thing is that all these six pictures are intimately related. The members of the Holy Family or some saints are depicted there.

That is why, all these pictures can demonstrate how the artwork depends on the way of seeing. The picture Holy Family also describes Madonna with two infants which were depicted in da Vincis work. However, the manner of presentation is different. Madonna looks more lively and there are only some common traits between three women depicted in these three pictures. Trying to show their own visions of this woman, painters added something new and, as a result, different images appeared. The same deals with the last picture of our gallery which depicts two infants who play with each other. It is obvious that these two babies are Jesus and John the Baptist.

However, they are also not identical to children who can be seen on previous pictures. Additionally, this very picture has a great number of different representations and versions. Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and his early sketches made while working at Virgin of the Rocks, painters also tried to show their vision of the issue and create an artwork which could reflect it. That is why, the theme of two saint infants was quite popular and had a great number of different versions.

There are many theological debates connected with the works of Leonardo da Vinci and his students. People assume that great number of pictures, devoted to the same issue, serve to show Leonardos point of view on religion and its roots (Alberge para. 8). The author wanted to do it with the help of different tiny details which could be seen in different versions of the same picture. However, it is just one of the versions. Nevertheless, these six pictures can serve as a good example of the influence of authors vision of some object or idea on the final result of their work.

Having analyzed the main aspects of the theme of reproductions and different points of view, it is possible to make certain conclusion. First of all, it should be said, that it is obvious that the final image of any picture depends on the way in which a painter sees this world. Additionally, the author can also change his/her attitude towards some issue and these changes can be seen in different versions of his/her works. Nevertheless, variants of the picture, made by other painters, will also show painters attitude towards the issue. This statement can be proved with the help of the work Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci and its numerous interpretations.

Works Cited

Alberge, Dalya. ““. The Guardian. 2014. Web.

. n.d.. Web.

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Books. 1990. Print.

. n.d.. Web.

Larsen, Erik. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction“. The Modernism Lab. n.d.. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 23). Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci and Its Interpretations. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/virgin-of-the-rocks-by-leonardo-da-vinci-and-its-interpretations/

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"Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci and Its Interpretations." IvyPanda, 23 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/virgin-of-the-rocks-by-leonardo-da-vinci-and-its-interpretations/.

1. IvyPanda. "Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci and Its Interpretations." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/virgin-of-the-rocks-by-leonardo-da-vinci-and-its-interpretations/.


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IvyPanda. "Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci and Its Interpretations." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/virgin-of-the-rocks-by-leonardo-da-vinci-and-its-interpretations/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci and Its Interpretations." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/virgin-of-the-rocks-by-leonardo-da-vinci-and-its-interpretations/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci and Its Interpretations'. 23 June.

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