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hand, may yet have something to do with the Madonnas painted at about this time, the Virgin of the Scales in the Louvre, and the Holy Family of the Hermitage, may specially be noticed.
The S. Petersburg Holy Family represents the Virgin seated, holding on her knees the Holy Child, who, with a smile, seeks the maternal breast. The young mother's costume consists of a red robe, lined with light blue, and a blue mantle lined with green. To the right stands S. Joseph, leaning on a staff, and smiling tenderly upon the sacred couple. He wears a white tunic and a brown cloak. To the left, S. Catherine reads a book ; she wears a grey robe bordered with gold, and a rea mantle, and holds a palm branch in her left hand Near her we see the wheel, the instrument of her martyrdom. The figures are all half-length, except that of the Child Christ.
This Holy Family comes from the Mantua Gallery, which was dispersed after the sack of that city in 1630. It was added to the Russian Imperial col
(The Louvre.) lections by Catherine II. Clément de Ris 1 and Woermann 2 are inclined to ascribe it to Cesare da Sesto.
This Hermitage Holy Family should be studied in connection with the Virgin of the Bas-relief, well known through Forster's engraving. The latter work passed from Woodburn, the dealer, into the collection of Lord Monson, at Gatton Park. It represents
1 Gazette des Beaux Arts, 1879, vol. i., p. 343. 2 Geschichte der Malerei, vol. ii., p. 564.
the Virgin, the Infant Jesus, the little S. John, S. Joseph, and S. Zacharias.
In the Virgin with the Scales Mary holds the little naked Jesus on her lap. The Archangel Michael, kneeling on one knee, offers him a pair of scales, on which Jesus lays his hands. To the left S. Elizabeth caresses the little S. John, who in turn plays with a lamb. The scene is a grotto, with cleft rocks not unlike those of the Vierge aux Rochers. The expressions are uniformly smiling, and the scale of tones lacks force and depth. To me it appears doubtful whether even the composition was derived from Leonardo ; the picture has been attributed both to Salai and to the mediocre d'Oggiono.
I may next refer to a certain number of sacred pictures the dates of which are not easy to fix.
Numerous drawings exist to prove that Leonardo at one time intended to paint a S. George and the Dragon (see below, p. 185). The drawing here reproduced seems to me to belong to his first Florentine period.
He must also have worked at a Resurrection and at a Descent into Hell. A Windsor drawing (no. 94 in the Grosvenor Gallery Catalogue) shows us a nude male figure, standing, holding in the left hand a long staff, and extending the right in the traditional gesture of a Christ summoning the souls in Limbo.
Leonardo was fond of fantastic subjects, and was even prone, on occasion, to a treatment which seems to us to border on irreverence. He proposed to paint the Madonna and the Child Jesus playing with a cat. Drawings on which this idea is treated in various ways are numerous.
One of the earliest of these is in the Library at Windsor. It contains three different suggestions for the group of the Holy Child making a cat stand up on its hind legs.2
1 [At the sale of the Gatton Park collection, in 1888, this picture was bought by its present owner, the Earl of Carysfort, K.P. It is practically identical with the picture in the Brera, and only differs from that in the Hermitage, S. Petersburg, in minor details. All three are now acknowledged to be the work of Cesare da Sesto. (See the Catalogue of Pictures by Masters of the Milanese and allied Schools of Lombardy, printed for the Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1898. Ed.]
2 Among the Windsor cats we find leopards and lionesses, which also occur