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THE ANNUNCIATION (ATTRIBUTED TO LEONARDO).

(The Louvre.)

CHAPTER II

FIRST ORIGINAL PRODUCTIONS: THE SHIELD—THE MEDUSA—THE FALL—PICTURES ASCRIBED TO LEONARDO—THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LOUVRE AND THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE UFFIZI—THE PORTRAIT OF BANDINI BARONCELLI.

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A

T the beginning of Leonardo's career, as in that of every great artist, we meet with the legend of a first masterpiece. "A farmer," so the story runs, "had asked Ser Piero da Vinci to get a shield he had made out of the wood of a fig-tree on his property decorated in Florence. Ser Piero charged his son to paint something on it, but without telling him where it came from. Perceiving that the shield was warped v and very roughly cut, Leonardo straightened it out by heat, and sent it to a turner to plane and polish. After giving it a coating of plaster, and arranging it to his satisfaction, he bethought him of a subject suitable for painting upon it—something that should be of a nature to strike terror to any who might attack the owner of this piece of armour, after the manner of the Gorgon of old. To this end he collected in a place, to which he alone had access, a number of crickets, grasshoppers, bats, serpents, lizards, and other strange creatures; by mingling these together he evolved a most horrible and terrifying

STUDY FOR THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI.

(Collection, P. Valton.)

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