When the cleaning and restoration of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne” got underway in 2010 it was overseen by an international scientific committee of 20 specialists.
Yet many were concerned that the work, which da Vinci spent 20 years on had still not completed at the time of his death in 1519, might be damaged or even destroyed.
When the restoration was completed earlier this year, the Louvre celebrated with an exhibition featuring archival material.
Included were da Vinci’s notebooks, sketches and preparatory drawings – including nearly two dozen on loan from the Royal Collection in Windsor – which convey the Italian genius’s thoughts about the composition, according to The Economist.
In addition to the oil painting itself, there is the preparatory drawing, titled the “Burlington House Cartoon,” a 55-inch-by-41-inch work, and three additional paintings by da Vinci, though not the “Mona Lisa.”
The Economist’s Books, Arts and Culture column is smitten with the restored “Saint Anne”:
“To this viewer ‘Saint Anne’ looks marvelous,” it writes. “The Virgin’s voluminous wrap seems spun out of lapis lazuli and summer clouds.”