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Italy in 1796 by the collector, Gavin Hamilton, for 30 ducats. It is declared to be the picture described by Lomazzo as in the church of San Francesco at Milan at the end of the sixteenth century.1 The two side pictures, single figures of angels, passed into the collection of the Duca Melzi. They have now (July, 1898) been acquired by the National Gallery, and have lately been placed on either side of the altar - piece, as works by Leonardo's fellowlabourer, Ambrogio de Predis.

An absolutely decisive argument in favour of the authenticity of the Louvre picture is furnished by the fact that there are studies by Leonardo in the Ecole des Beaux Arts and at Windsor (see pp. 165, 167), showing the angel's hand outstretched towards the Infant Jesus. As is well known, this gesture is modified in the London example, which must therefore be of later date than ours.

In the first of these drawings, which has escaped the investigations of all my predecessors, the standing figure certainly seems to have been re-touched, perhaps even re-drawn in parts; but the two fragments of the arms and hands proclaim Leonardo's authorship with unmistakable precision. The handling is not yet devoid of archaism. Note that the angel's arm resembles that of S. Peter in the Last Supper at Milan; there is the same gesture, the same bending back of the hand. 1 Trattato delta Pittura, book ii., chap. xvii.

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STUDY FOR THE "YIRGIN OF THE ROCKS.'

(Christ Church Library, Oxford.)

The London picture is, in my opinion, a replica, painted under Leonardo's supervision by one of his pupils.1

The Louvre picture, I freely admit, is hard of aspect, and harsh in tonality. Time has fastened his cruel teeth into it. The painting has lost its bloom, and the groundwork seems to lie bare before us. Nevertheless, it speaks to the eyes and the soul with supreme authority.

We must further remember that the Louvre picture has a venerable history. It has been on the spot for hundreds of years. In the first part of the sixteenth century, it was already in the collection of Francis I., a sovereign, who, it must be admitted, was very favourably circumstanced as regards the acquisition of works by Leonardo.2

One word more. The differences between the London and Paris examples are of precisely the same nature as those of the two examples of Holbein's Madonna, that in the Dresden Gallery, and that in the Darmstadt Museum. The first, which is the original, is more archaic, heavier perhaps, but more deeply felt; the second, the copy, is freer and more elegant.

If, as I suppose, the National Gallery picture was painted in Leonardo's studio and under his supervision, it is easy to see why certain harshnesses apparent in the Louvre example, have disappeared in that of the National Gallery. The master was seeking, hesitating; the pupil had only to copy and to soften.

It is time to study the composition of the Vi?'gin of the Rocks.

It is a group of four figures, three kneeling, the fourth seated at

1 I entirely endorse M. Anatole Gruyer's judgment on this head: "The London picture is fresh in colour, well preserved, fascinating, graceful, full of charm ; but it is a superficial charm. The faces are slightly insipid in their beauty: there is something heavy find woolly in their contours; they lack the intensity of expression so characteristic of Leonardo. The angel is not wanting in grace, but the grace has little elevation. This figure differs to some extent from that in the Louvre picture. Supporting the Infant Jesus with both hands, he looks at the little S. John, unheeding of the spectator. The Virgin and the two "bambini" are distinctly feebler. In short, it is a pretty, rather than a beautiful work, and one in which we do not feel the real presence of the master. {Voyage au tour du Salon earn, p. 31.)

2 Testimony of Cassiano del Pozzo, published in the Memoires de la Socii-tc de VHistoire de Paris, 1886.— Pere Dan, in his Tresor des Merveilles de la Maison royale de Fontainebleau, p. 135, mentions "Our Lady, with an Infant Jesus supported by an angel, in a very graceful landscape."

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