Leonardo's Benois Madonna to revisit Italy after 35 years

Expected in Perugia from July 4 to August 4

23 May, 13:08

    (ANSAmed) - PERUGIA, MAY 23 - The "Benois Madonna" painted by Leonardo da Vinci, also known as Madonna and Child with Flowers, is returning to Italy, 35 years since the last time it was shown in the country.

    The painting is being loaned from the Hermitage Museum in St.

    Petersburg and will go on display in Perugia from July 4 through August 4 at the National Gallery of Umbria.

    The work was Leonardo's second attempt at depicting one of the most widespread religious themes, that of the Madonna with child, and he completed it at the age of 26. In it, he provided a new perspective that saw the Madonna not in the typical portrayal as Queen of Heaven, but rather as a mother simply playing with her child.

    The painting's exhibition in Italy is just one of many initiatives in celebration of the 500th anniversary this year of Leonardo's death.

    Before it arrives in Perugia, the work will go on display at the Pinacoteca Civica in Fabriano from June 1 to June 30.

    The Benois Madonna is a key work from Leonardo's younger years and was likely painted between 1478 and 1480.

    It shows the Florentine Renaissance artist's independence from the style and training of Verrocchio, and puts on display the "modern manner" that Leonardo initiated.

    Tatiana Kustodieva of the Hermitage Museum's art department said the painting shows the Madonna "descended from the throne upon which the artists of the 15th century had put her, and placed on a bench, in an inhabited home".

    The painting came into the Hermitage's collection in 1914, sold by Marija Aleksandrovna Benois, who had inherited it from her paternal grandfather, a merchant in Astrakhan.

    Benois sold it for less than market value on the condition that it remain in Russia.

    A statement from the National Gallery of Umbria said the exhibition - which is being organised in collaboration with cultural-event organisers Villagio Globale International - will strengthen the already existing bond between the museum in Perugia and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.(ANSAmed).

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