Head of saint anne - by Leonardo da Vinci

The Head of St Anne is a preliminary drawing for the painting The Virgin and Child and St Anne, which can be seen in the Louvre in Paris. Leonardo produced this in about 1509 - 10. One can see the transition from the beautiful freshness of the drawing of a tender human face to the more idealized version that is produced in the final painting. The mysterious smile is wistful and maternal as the saint looks down at her daughter and grandson; the depiction is emphatically that of a mother and Leonardo has caught the tenderness implicit in her gaze. The subtle handling of the sfumato technique of shading appears natural and convinces the viewer of the real presence of the woman.