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Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ (1495-1508) is currently held in The National Gallery, London. For an artist who notoriously left works unfinished and from whom even fewer survive, this is a rare example of one of his large-scale paintings. But hidden beneath is a sketch of an alternative scene of The Virgin and Christ Child in a mysterious rocky landscape. Much debate surrounds the Virgin of the Rocks, and its twin in the Louvre. But it is known that this piece was made as part of a commission, and took many years to finish, in part due to disagreements over costs. The underpainting is believed to be an early composition of the same painting before being redirected by a change in requirement. We focus on the central figure in the underpainting, the Madonna.

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