Sunday, 5 February 2012

Bite 158: Leonardo da Vinci - Drapery Study for an Angel, c. 1495-8

 Drapery Study for an Angel, c. 1495-8, ink on paper, 21.3 x 15.9 cm, Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, UK.
Skin beneath cloth, finely detailed in the grandmother of artistic technique: drawing with pencil on paper. 

Leonardo da Vinci had an uncanny attention to detail and this is demonstrated best perhaps in the huge number of drawings he left behind, many of which are in the collection of the Queens Gallery in London, and a selection of which were shown as part of the unprecedented exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan at The National Gallery until 5 February 2012.

Created to apparently solve a compositional problem in the London version of Virgin of the Rocks, the pose of the figure is very similar to that of the angel on the right of the altarpiece. With the aid of fabric dipped in clay and laid over a clay figure, the resulting still-life has been studied from different angles and under different lighting conditions giving the piece an intriguing sculptural quality.