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Art, Photography, travels

da Vinci at the Louvre

The Louvre has in its possession 4 of Leonardo da Vinci’s known paintings, roughly a quarter of all his extant works. What greater pleasure could there have been for me but to gaze at so many of his works under one roof? 

Madonna of the rocks would be well-known to readers of Brown’s “The da Vinci Code”. One of two versions (the other is in London), this has symbolism written all over it. Jesus apparently paying obeisance to John the baptist, the position and pose of Mary’s fingers and those of the angel have been commented on. For me, beyond these speculations, the angle of the lighting was fascinating; both Jesus and John seem illuminated with light emanating from Mary, as is the angel. 

The virgin and the child with Anne. One of his lesser known works, with a tighter and seemingly unnatural composition. Mary seated in Anne’s lap is in a contorted position that seems hard to achieve, much less maintain. Mary’s face again seems the source of all illumination in the foreground. While the infant Jesus has an expression full of innocent pleasure and Anne one of maternal love, Mary’s face is more wooden, more contrived. If I didn’t know better I’d say her face was painted by one of his students; it’s highly unlikely though, that Leonardo would have entrusted the central part of such a monumental work to a student.

John the baptist. I was surprised to see this painting; it is so unconventional, so unlike anything you’d have imagined. For the era it was created in, it might have been almost blasphemous to portray a prominent religious icon in this sumptuous, vaguely homo-erotic, hermaphroditic manner. This is no gaunt prophet hardened by decades of life in the desert, this John is urbane, soft, with a trace of a gentle sarcasm to his face. The smile is reminiscent of the Mona Lisa, though more pronounced. 


About hbhatnagar

I need to fill this up with much better content than I had populated it with earlier. Why I write a blog maybe? I started blogging in 2009 or thereabouts. I was a newly turned atheist and wanted to converse with others of the same persuasion. We're not exactly a big population group in India! It didn't go very well and I sort of lost interest, posting a few things now and then. I got a lot more regular over the last few months and have been posting almost daily since February '15. There were many reasons why I gradually became more regular in posting, but one way or the other, here I am! So this blog has taken shape, being at different points in time my showcase, my comedy club, my art gallery, my book club, my therapist, my close friend, my innermost self....but always my little corner of the world. You are all welcome to visit and I hope you stay awhile! A few points about me because I don't want to lead anyone on(and trust me this does become an issue more often than I'd care to admit). I'm Indian, the brown-skinned variety; if race, ethnicity or skin colour is an issue, you don't have to get to know me any more than what you see on my blog. I'm 40, so if age is an issue, please be informed accordingly. I was a doctor, an ophthalmic surgeon for 10 years before I quit practice.


7 thoughts on “da Vinci at the Louvre

  1. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Indira | 09/11/2018, 2:39 PM
  2. Thank you so much, Dr. Hb for sharing your observations of these masterpiece of da Vinci. Well said about the light, expression… I, too, was surprised when I saw the painting of John the baptist, very conventional.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Amy | 20/10/2018, 12:53 AM

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