Blurring

the Lines

Leonardo didn’t sign his paintings;

collaboration was a common practice in his time, one that makes attribution a challenge today. But the 24 works below are associated, some at least in part, with the master. Two of them, the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, are among the world’s most famous.

24

TOTAL PAINTINGS

In a few cases, legal disputes and popular demand may have led Leonardo to create multiple versions of the same work.

5

With assistance

2

Contribution to work by Andrea del Verrocchio

Extent of Leonardo's

contributions disputed

Unfinished

Unfinished

Unfinished,

Extent of Leonardo’s

contributions disputed

The image shows a small selection of the murals painted by Leonardo and assistants in a suite of rooms

in Sforzesco Castle.

Extent of Leonardo’s

contributions disputed

Extent of Leonardo’s

contributions disputed

Extent of Leonardo’s

contributions disputed

Unfinished, lost

Lost

Extent of Leonardo’s contributions disputed

The attributes of Bacchus (an ivy wreath and a staff, or thyrsus) were added during the 17th century

by an unknown artist.

ARTISTIC ADVANCEMENTS

A

B

Expert sfumato

His knowledge of eye anatomy brilliantly informed a shading technique, not utilized by contemporaries like Botticelli, called sfumato. Blending softens outlines to create a three-dimensional effect.

Sandro

Botticelli

(A)

Leonardo

da Vinci

A sense of space

A keen observer of nature, Leonardo

successfully replicated the effect of atmosphere on distant objects. Hazy outlines of the landscape give the impression of distance on a two-dimensional canvas.

Sandro

Botticelli

(B)

Leonardo

da Vinci

Fooling the eye

Leonardo started from an ideal vantage point, then used optical illusions to make other viewpoints seem equally ideal.

The result was a mural that looked as if

it were a natural part of the room.

Ideal vantage point

15 ft

7.2 ft

14.5 ft

A

B

(A) Leonardo crafted the perspective to draw the eyes to a single vanishing point, in this case directly on Jesus, to highlight the most important element in the composition.

(B) By playing with the vantage point, Leonardo made it possible for a viewer on the ground to see the table from above.

1. National Gallery, London/Art Resource, NY

2. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Bridgeman Images

3. Bavarian State Painting Collections, Munich/Art Resource, NY

4. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Bridgeman Images

5. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC/Art Resource, NY

6. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg/

Bridgeman Images

7. Pinacoteca, Vatican Museums/Scala/Art Resource, NY

8. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/De Agostini/Getty Images

9. Louvre, Paris/Bridgeman Images

10. Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan/Bridgeman Images

11. National Museum in Kraków, Poland/Bridgeman Images

12. Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan/Bridgeman Images

13. National Gallery, London/Art Resource, NY

14. Louvre, Abu Dhabi/Bridgeman Images

15. Sforzesco Castle, Milan/Bridgeman Images

16. Private Collection/Universal History Archive/Getty Images

17. National Galleries of Scotland/HIP/Art Resource, NY

18. Louvre, Paris/RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

19. Photo Christie's Images/Bridgeman Images

20. Louvre, Paris/RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

21. Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wiltshire, England/Bridgeman Images

22. Louvre, Paris/Bridgeman Images

23. Louvre, Paris/RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

24. Louvre, Paris/Erich Lessing, Art Resource, NY

25. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Bridgeman Images

26. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Erich Lessing, Art Resource, NY

 

FERNANDO G. BAPTISTA, MONICA SERRANO, AND EVE CONANT, NGM STAFF; LAWSON PARKER. SOURCES: MARTIN KEMP, MATTHEW LANDRUS, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD; MARTIN CLAYTON, ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST; PAOLO GALLUZZI, MUSEO GALILEO

Blurring

the Lines

Leonardo didn’t sign his paintings;

collaboration was a common practice

in his time, one that makes attribution

a challenge today. But the 24 works

below are associated, some at least

in part, with the master. Two of them,

the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper,

are among the world’s most famous.

24

TOTAL PAINTINGS

In a few cases, legal disputes and popular demand may have led Leonardo to create multiple versions of the same work.

With assistance

Unfinished

Extent of Leonardo's contributions disputed

Contribution to work by Andrea del Verrocchio

Lost

ARTISTIC ADVANCEMENTS

Expert sfumato

His knowledge of eye anatomy brilliantly informed a shading technique, not utilized by contemporaries like Botticelli, called sfumato. Blending softens outlines to create a three-dimensional effect.

A sense of space

A keen observer of nature, Leonardo

successfully replicated the effect of atmosphere on distant objects. Hazy outlines of the landscape give the impression of distance on a two-dimensional canvas.

A

B

(B)

Sandro Botticelli

Leonardo da Vinci

Sandro Botticelli

Leonardo da Vinci

(A)

Fooling the eye

Leonardo started from an ideal vantage point, then used optical illusions to make other viewpoints seem equally ideal.

The result was a mural that looked as if

it were a natural part of the room.

A

B

Ideal vantage point

15 ft

7.2 ft

14.5 ft

(B) By playing with the vantage point, Leonardo made it possible for a viewer on the ground to see the table from above.

(A) Leonardo crafted the perspective to draw the eyes to a single vanishing point, in this case directly on Jesus,

to highlight the most important ele- ment in the composition.

1. National Gallery, London/Art Resource, NY

2. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Bridgeman Images

3. Bavarian State Painting Collections, Munich/

Art Resource, NY

4. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Bridgeman Images

5. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC/Art Resource, NY

6. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg/

Bridgeman Images

7. Pinacoteca, Vatican Museums/Scala/Art Resource, NY

8. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/De Agostini/Getty Images

9. Louvre, Paris/Bridgeman Images

 

 

10. Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan/Bridgeman Images

11. National Museum in Kraków, Poland/Bridgeman Images

12. Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan/Bridgeman Images

13. National Gallery, London/Art Resource, NY

14. Louvre, Abu Dhabi/Bridgeman Images

15. Sforzesco Castle, Milan/Bridgeman Images

16. Private Collection/Universal History Archive/Getty Images

17. National Galleries of Scotland/HIP/Art Resource, NY

18. Louvre, Paris/RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

19. Photo Christie's Images/Bridgeman Images

20. Louvre, Paris/RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

 

21. Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House,

Wiltshire, England/Bridgeman Images

22. Louvre, Paris/Bridgeman Images

23. Louvre, Paris/RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

24. Louvre, Paris/Erich Lessing, Art Resource, NY

25. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Bridgeman Images

26. Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Erich Lessing, Art Resource, NY

FERNANDO G. BAPTISTA, MONICA SERRANO, AND EVE CONANT, NGM STAFF; LAWSON PARKER. SOURCES: MARTIN KEMP, MATTHEW LANDRUS, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD; MARTIN CLAYTON, ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST; PAOLO GALLUZZI, MUSEO GALILEO