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Occasional Painting: The Madonna and the Yarnwinder

Friday, October 12, 2007

The child model was so squirmy that instead, Leonardo based his image of the Christ-child on all of the really fat babies prevalent in Renaissance Florence at the time.

By Leonardo da Vinci 

The Madonna with the Yarnwinder

Oil on panel, 48.3 x 36.9 cm, 1501-1507

This work by Leonardo (or least mostly by Leonardo, as it was created in his workshop with help from others), was stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch at Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland in 2003. It was taken during a daring daylight robbery, in which the female tour guide was overpowered by two men, who grabbed the painting and sped off in a getaway car. According to the London Times, the police haven’t officially confirmed that the work has been recovered, but it is believed that it will be successfully identified as the stolen Leonardo work. Which is good news.

The Madonna with the Yarnwinder was valued at $65 million in 2003.

While there is debate among art historians as to how much Leonardo actually contributed to this work, there is no doubt that he hand in it’s composition. Apparently the yarnwinder is a foreshadowing of the cross and the crucifixtion, and Mary’s raised hand is trying to distract Christ from from playing with it.

I’ve included the other version of it here, which is a bit larger than the other one. This version differs slightly, and most likely was painted by someone else in Leonardo’s studio. Someone who liked mountains.

tniapcco llewopemearg

3 Comments leave one →
  1. James17930 permalink
    Friday, October 12, 2007 3:09 pm

    Jesus Christ, stop winding that yarn!

  2. Friday, October 12, 2007 3:31 pm

    When you’re the son of God, you can wind however much yarn you want to.

    It’s one of the perks.

  3. James17930 permalink
    Friday, October 12, 2007 10:00 pm

    That and the babes.

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