Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“The Virgin and Child with St. Anne” by Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci - Virgin and Child with St Anne C2RMF retouched

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne by Leonardo da Vinci

“The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne” by Leonardo da Vinci depicts St Anne, her daughter the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus. Leonardo’ composition depicts the mother-daughter relationship between the two women. St Anne is looking at Mary, as Mary is sitting on her lap, and Mary is looking into her Christ’s eyes. Christ is shown grappling with a sacrificial lamb symbolising his Passion. The painting and its theme had long preoccupied Leonardo, who took many years to work on this painting. Leonardo struggled to capture their relationships and personalities.

Interestingly, Sigmund Freud attempted to explain Leonardo’s fondness of depicting Mary with her mother. Leonardo was raised by his blood mother initially before being ‘adopted’ by the wife of his father. Freud suggested that depicting the Mother of God with her own mother was a relationship issue close to Leonardo’s heart, because he, in a sense, had ‘two mothers’ himself. From another perspective, St Anne is portrayed as a young grandmother, she is not depicted as a manifestly full generation older than Mary.

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, scientist and an engineer who was already famous in his lifetime and is today considered a genius. Leonardo’s masterpiece had considerable influence during his lifetime and continued to influence and attract lovers of history and art in our life.

Exploring Leonardo da Vinci

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne

  • Title:                The Virgin and Child with St. Anne
  • Français:         La Vierge, l’Enfant Jésus et sainte Anne
  • Artist:              Leonardo da Vinci
  • Created:          from 1500 until 1513
  • Periods:           High Renaissance
  • Media:             Oil paint on poplar wood
  • Dimensions:   168 cm × 112 cm (66 in × 44 in)
  • Museum:         The Louvre (since 1797)

Leonardo da Vinci


“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”
– Leonardo da Vinci


Photo Credit 1) Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons