The Cartoon of St. Anne - by Leonardo Da Vinci

Due to the extraordinary structural and stylistic importance assumed by "pyramidal composition" in 16th-century Italian art, the comments about the various Vincian versions of the group of the St. Anne tend to polarize on this particular aspect. But such an exegesis would be defrauding the Cartoon for St. Anne (note in the National Gallery in London), one of the greatest works of Leonardo, which belongs to the creative and stylistic phase of the Last Supper.

It is true that the cartoon marks the beginning of a research series for the pyramidal composition, which ends with the painting in the Louvre: but in the long process many things have changed in Leonardo's thought, and the new realisations have not come about without discarding other elements. The version in London has the same emotional and psychological density, the same force and "naturalness" of execution as found in the Last Supper. The clash of the glance of St. Anne, coming from the shade, full of the awareness of the world, with the much more youthful and unaware face of the Virgin would have been impossible in the perfect pyramidal composition in the Louvre