Visual research: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) ‘Virgin with child and cat’

From the Introduction Course I learned that in order to improve my reflective perception as well as my critically thinking skills, it is advised to do regularly visual and deeper contextual research/analysis. With this drawing from da Vinci I start my journey.

The drawing ‘Virgin with child and cat’ was made by Da Vinci’s at the end of his first Florentine period. He was an apprentice of Andrea Verrocchio, but already in early time Da Vinci demonstrated his ability as a draftsmen with some impressive drawing.

This drawing is one of them. It is made in ink and brown washes, describing the virgin, holding her child Jesus and a cat, hold by the child. The lines are moving, gesture-like, the virgin once looking to the left, than to the middle to her child, than to the right to the ground. The contour is bold and the whole drawing is fitting into a curve area, from bottom right to upper left corner with a twist of the virgin clockwise. The drawing communicates to me on the one hand a search for the right composition, on the other hand it expresses depths through bold and fine line marks. Da Vinci drew in a simple but strong expressive way, where you can feel the emotions from the objects and persons in the drawing. This picture communicates also joy and hope.

Stefan513593_visual research_Da Vinci 'Virgin and child with cat'

Stefan513593_visual research_Da Vinci ‘Virgin and child with cat’ – image from book Kaupelis R. (1982) ‘Experimenteel tekenen’, de Bilt: Cantecleer bv, p.22


Ref.: Da Vinci, Leonardo (1478-81) Virgin and Child with Cat.[Ink, pen and brown wash].[Online image]. British Museum. Available from:,_virgin_and.aspx  [accessed 16 November 2014]




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