Duplicate da Vinci Paintings Reunited in London

London's museum scene is already spectacular, but devotees of the Renaissance masters will want to get to the National Gallery this winter for a historic premiere: The National Gallery and the Louvre are collaborating to display both versions of Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks together for the first time. The pictures will be brought together for the National Gallery exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan through February 5, 2012.

The version at the Louvre, which is coming to London, was the first of the two compositions to be painted. Worked on between 1483 and 1486, it was the subject of a dispute about payment with the Milan confraternity which commissioned the work. The painting is the product of Leonardo’s intense study of the natural world.

The National Gallery's Virgin of the Rocks was painted for the confraternity as a replacement for the Louvre version, which had probably been sold during the earlier dispute. The work demonstrates a change in Leonardo’s artistic ambitions in the years around 1490.

Displaying the paintings together will provide a unique opportunity, illuminating the painting career of Leonardo as never before.

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