This is one of Leonardo's not-so-well-known works, and was even for a time listed as a work attributed to Da Vinci, since it was not entirely certain that he was the author. However, today in the catalog of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, where this canvas painted with the tempera technique is kept, it is definitively attributed to the great painter from the Italian Renaissance.
Madonna Litta by Leonardo
However, historians continue to talk about possible details that would be the work of Leonardo's students, just as it is also true that the work was reproduced a lot in its time by other contemporary artists. The fact is that the work was painted during his stay inMilanspecifically between 1490 and 1491. And it has certain points in common with other works by Leonardo with the same theme. The so-called «Virgins of the Milk», in which the Virgin appears nursing the Child.
If we compare this Madonna Litta with the Madonna of the Carnation or with the Madonna Benois, you can see that in all of them, Leonardo da Vinci is based on common elements, such as placing the figures in an interior, open to several windows in the background, arranged symmetrically. They are also dark backgrounds, and the figures acquire volume thanks to a very subtle chiaroscuro.
InIn this case, we see the Virgin in profile, with her hair tied back and wearing a blue mantle over her shoulders, which corresponds to the color of the sky seen through the windows. And under her cloak you can see her red dress, which immediately draws all eyes to the center of the frame
And as for the Child, she has a weird foreshortening on her head, so that she is looking at us at the same time that she suckles at her mother's breast. A breast that by the way she covers with one hand, so as not to break the rules of good decorum of the time. And curiously, in the other hand she carries a parajillo, almost hidden between the laps of both characters.
she Contrasts the look of the Child, whose eye we see completely open looking at us, with the gesture of the half-closed eyes of the Virgin, in an attitude that immediately conveys immense tenderness towards her son.
In short, without being one of the great works of Leonardo da Vinci, it is clear that it has a huge number of points of interest.