da Vinci

1452 - 1519

 Renaissance Art Map
     Leonardo da Vinci - biography
     Leonardo da Vinci
     1452-1481 Leonardo in the Florence of the Medici    
     1482-1499 At the court of Ludovico il Moro    
     1500-1508 The return to Florence    
     1508-1513 The Milan of Charles d'Amboise    
     1513-1519 The last years: Rome and France    



Leonardo da Vinci
c. 1512




The Milan of Charles d'Amboise




St John the Baptist


Painted between the second Milanese and the Roman periods, the St John in the Louvre is composed in accord with an upward spiralling rhythm. The teasing expression may be an allusion to pagan eroticism.


Leonardo da Vinci
St John the Baptist
Musee du Louvre, Paris


Leonardo da Vinci
St John the Baptist
Musee du Louvre, Paris

An allusion to the mystery, the finger pointed towards heaven denotes the coming of Christ, announced by the Baptist. This iconographic element was frequently employed by Leonardo: it occurs in the London cartoon where St Anne indicates the heavenly will; and it returns in the drawing of the Angel of the Annunciation, furnished on the verso with three words taken from Pliny relating to the ability of Apelles to paint the invisible.


 Leonardo da Vinci, Study for an Angel of the Annunciation, a workshop collaboration, c.1505, private collection.
The image of the angel is here transformed into that of Bacchus in a state of sexual arousal.



Salaino, St John the Baptist,
second decade of 16th century, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan.
The tree-flanked landscape is wholly Lombardian and harks back to the ice and rock background of the St Anne. The pupil, who followed Leonardo to France, inherited a notable number of his master's paintings.


Raphael, The School of Athens, 1508-09,
Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican, Rome.
The Vincian pose reappears in the figure of Plato pointing to the space beyond the heavens.



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