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in which no artist has ever equalled him. In the Saint Anne, every pebble on the ground has been separately and minutely studied. In the Virgin of the Rocks, which displays, through the fantastic openings of the grotto in which the Virgin is placed, the same mountainous country, crowned with sharp bristling peaks, Leonardo has adorned the foreground of his picture with lovingly painted ferns, irises, cyclamens, and borage, springing out of the rocky crevices.”
Raphael, who exhausted the whole series of groupings to which the representation of the Virgin and Child could possibly give birth, never ventured, but once, to attempt an arrangement which, though eminently suited to pictorial expression, was likely in some cases to offend the spectator's sense of propriety.
In the famous picture in the Madrid Museum, known as La Perla, he shows us the Virgin half resting on the lap of S. Anne, with one arm round her mother's neck. In the Holy Family in the Naples Museum (The Virgin with the long Thigh), S. Anne is seated beside her daughter, with her arm round the Virgin's neck. But this pose is a very natural one.
But Raphael borrowed more than this from the Saint Anne. In another Holy Family, in the Madrid Museum—an exquisite little picture dated 1506, or 1507—the Infant Jesus is copied almost exactly from Leonardo's picture.
By his triumphs, then, and by his errors, Leonardo, as we see, wielded the mightiest influence over his contemporaries, and amongst them, upon masters of such calibre as Raphael himself. Never, it may safely be said, was any man's artistic work more suggestive, for never was any such work founded on a more intimate communion with nature, the eternal source of all inspiration and all beauty.