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The Madonna of the Yarnwinder
The original version of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder was painted around 1501 by Leonardo da Vinci.
A wealthy French statesman named Florimond Robertet saw the unfinished Madonna of the Yarnwinder in progress during a visit to Leonardo's studio.
Florimond was so impressed he insisted Leonardo make a copy for the Robertet Collection.
Leonardo and his students painted this copy before the first version was even finished.
The artists drastically altered the background to differentiate the commissioned artwork from the original masterpiece.
Leonardo and his followers made dozens of copies of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder.
The earliest historical record of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder is in a letter dated April 14, 1501 from Friar Pietro de Novellara, to Isabella d'Este.
Isabella was a major cultural and political figure and the most important art patron of the Italian High Renaissance.
Isabella by Titian
The letter to Isabella describes the painting almost exactly as we see it today minus one important detail.
Isabella commissioned a portrait drawing by Leonardo just 2 years before the famous letter was sent.
Isabella by Leonardo da Vinci
Letter to Isabella
"The little picture which he is doing is of a Madonna seated as if she were about to spin yarn.
The Child has placed his foot on the basket of yarns and has grasped the yarn-winder and gazes attentively at four spokes that are in the form of a cross.
As if desirous of the cross he smiles and holds it firm, and is unwilling to yield it to his Mother who seems to want to take it away from him."
This letter is important to understand the Madonna of the Yarnwinder because none of the versions we see today show a basket of yarns. The composition described in the letter is lost. The true original Madonna of the Yarnwinder is a mystery.
The version from around 1501 is still regarded as the original.
The original Madonna of the Yarnwinder was recently photographed with X-rays and infrared technology.
This reveals that Leonardo made several changes to the composition before finishing the painting. Although the clues are faint, the basket of yarns may have originally been included this version but were painted over before completion.
The original version of Madonna of the Yarnwinder was sold to an anonymous private collector in 1999.
Elijah Thane painted this version of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder 519 years after Leonardo created the original.
Madonna of the Yarnwinder and Gazing Pool
Elijah is currently working on his second version called Madonna of the Yarnwinder with Galaxy.
He expects the new masterpiece to be complete in 2022.
Elijah also painted a stormy, red Madonna of the Yarnwinder in the background of his nearly life-sized masterpiece The Cobweb Madonna.
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