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Madonna Litta

1490 (Aprox)

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The Madonna Litta is a late 15th-century painting, traditionally attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. It depicts the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the Christ child, a devotional subject known as the Madonna lactans. The figures are set in a dark interior with two arched openings, as in Leonardo's earlier Madonna of the Carnation, and a mountainous landscape in aerial perspective can be seen beyond. In his left hand Christ holds a goldfinch, which is symbolic of his future Passion.

Scholarly opinion is divided on the work's attribution, with some believing it to be the work of a pupil of Leonardo such as Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio or Marco d'Oggiono; the Hermitage Museum, however, considers the painting to be an autograph work by Leonardo. The painting takes its name from the House of Litta, a Milanese noble family in whose collection it was for much of the nineteenth century.

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Published in 10/08/2018

Updated in 19/02/2021

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