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Leonardo da Vinci’s mysterious masterpiece | DW Documentary

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Leonardo da Vinci's ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ is his most enigmatic painting. And it’s not just the Madonna’s unusual setting that raises questions. Why did he paint not one, but two versions of the work?

Part of the Louvre’s collection in Paris, ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ is a highly mysterious work of art. Why did da Vinci place the Madonna in a cave? What hidden symbolism lies in the unusual background, which does not appear in the Gospels? The film traces these questions through the clues da Vinci himself left in his personal notebooks, known as the Codex Atlanticus.

The artist’s works are always full of significant symbolism and allegory. The journey toward understanding the ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ begins with da Vinci's move from Florence to Milan. It was there that he hoped to embark on larger and more interesting projects. Can answers to this painting’s mysteries be found in Leonardo's career and in interpretations of other works? Or will its secrets remain forever hidden?

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