Recently discovered sketches underneath a Leonardo da Vinci painting give us insight into his process
National Gallery

Getting to peek inside a great artist's process is fascinating. If we had a time machine, we'd be able to pick the brains of ancient artists who produced the work we now study in art history and gain insight into their technique. While can't go back and have a chat with Leonardo Da Vinci, we can still understand how he worked thanks to a discovery hiding within one of his works.

A scientific analysis of Da Vinci's paintings, "The Virgin of the Rocks," is giving us a glimpse inside the Italian Renaissance master's process. There are a series of sketches and hand prints underneath the finished product, which tells us he didn't get it right on the first try.

The painting has been around for over 500 years, and it is speculated that it was created between the early 1490s and 1508. "The Virgin of the Rocks" was painted for a church in Milan, but now rests in London's National Gallery. The museum will feature the recently discovered drawings in a new exhibit called Leonardo: Experience a Masterpiece, which will open in late 2019.


RELATED: Van Gogh's paintings come to life at this incredible art museum. Come take a tour.

The painting depicts the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus sitting with the infant John the Baptist and an angel in a rocky location. The sketches suggest that Da Vinci had a more traditional adoration scene in mind when he began the painting. "In the abandoned composition both figures are positioned higher up, while the angel, facing out, is looking down on the Infant Christ with what appears to be a much tighter embrace," the London National Gallery explained in a press release. The angle of the Infant Christ's head was changed, and some of the angel's curly hair was removed. There were also hand prints where either da Vinci or an assistant patted down paint on the canvas.

The underdrawings might have gone undiscovered if it wasn't for the magic of science. "These new images were found because the drawings were made in a material that contained some zinc, so it could be seen in the macro x-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) maps showing where this chemical element was present, and also through new infrared and hyperspectral imaging," the gallery explained.

RELATED: This artist's unusual paintings are helping people love their bodies.

Da Vinci might have birthed some of the most famous paintings in history, including the Mona Lisa, but he didn't plop out perfection like it was nothing. The sketches show that the artist achieved his final product through trial and error. It takes a lot of work to get it just right.

So if you don't get something right the first time, don't sweat it. Leonardo da Vinci wasn't perfect, either.

True

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

Sarita Linda Rocco / Facebook

Americans are more interested in politics than ever these days. More voted in the 2020 election than in any other in the past 100 years. Over 65% of the voting-eligible cast a ballot in the contentious fight between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

"People are very excited and paying attention even though there are all this bad news and high 'wrong track' numbers in the country," Nancy Zdunkewicz, managing editor at Democracy Corps, told The Hill.

It's wonderful to see that a greater number of Americans are standing up to be counted and demanding their voices be heard. But it's also the symptom of a deep level of discontent many people feel about their country.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
via Stone Gasman / Twitter

While generational stereotypes don't apply to everyone, there are significant differences between how Baby Boomers (1944 to 1964), Gen X (1965 to 1980), and Millenials (1981 to 1996) were raised.

Baby Boomers tended to grow up in homes where one parent stayed home and the other worked outside of the house. Millennials are known for having over-involved "helicopter" parents.

Then, there's Gen X.

The smaller, cooler generation that, according to a 2004 marketing study "went through its all-important, formative years as one of the least parented, least nurtured generations in U.S. history."

Keep Reading Show less

The U.S. Surgeon General credits the new surge in COVID cases to "pandemic fatigue," but it's nothing compared to what healthcare workers on the frontlines are going through. TIME recently reported that nurses are experiencing burnout, but it often goes unseen. A nurse recently employed a social media trend to draw attention to the behind the scenes fatigue.

An ICU nurse posted her own "how it started/how it's going" photo on Twitter, and long story short, it's not going that great. The before photo of Kathryn, an ICU nurse in Nashville, was taken in the middle of April right after she completed nursing school. The after photo revealed just how much literal sweat and tears healthcare workers put in while treating people during the pandemic.


Keep Reading Show less