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10 Breathtaking Leonardo da Vinci Masterpieces

 Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was an Italian architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist - and painter! A man of so many fine accomplishments was rare even during the heady days of humanist renaissance. We've selected what we believe to be his 10 most famous artworks. Which of his stunning masterpieces do you think will be ranked number 1? Read on to find out!
 
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10. Portrait of Ginerva de Benci
Owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, this enigmatic portrait is actually the only painting by Leonardo that currently resides in the United States. The sulky Ginerva strikes a rather haughty pose in this beautiful example of Leonardo's portraiture skills.
9. Lady with an Ermine
Considered one of Europe's most important portraits of all time, it's believed that the subject is none other than Cecilia Gallerani, mistress of the powerful Duke of Milan, Lodovico Sforza, Leonardo's one-time patron. 
8. The Virgin and Child with St. Anne
Found in France's world famous Louvre gallery, the Virgin and Child with St. Anne was painted in the year 1510. Notice the infant Jesus's preoccupation with the little lamb, a long-time symbol of the passion that Christ was destined to undergo on the cross around the time of the Paschal sacrifices.
7. St. John the Baptist
Painted between the years 1513 and 1516, many experts are convinced that this was actually Leonardo's final painting. Pay attention to the cherub like face of St. John the Baptist pointing to the cross, which illustrates the promise of the kingdom of God, an idea that resonated profoundly during the time when Leonardo lived.
6. Madonna of the Carnation 
The Virgin Mary was and still remains a person of tremendous importance to Catholic Christians, particularly when juxtaposed with her son, Jesus. In this moving scene, Mary stands head shoulders above her environment as the apex of a triangle formation, symbolic of the Holy Trinity. 
 
5. Virgin of the Rocks - Louvre
Virgin of the Rocks - London
There are two version of the Virgin of the Rocks to be found in Europe, one in Paris, the other in London. Each shares the same scene of the two infant relatives, Jesus and John (the Baptist), and their mothers seated in a rocky surrounding. 
4. Baptism of Christ
Leonardo excelled at religious paintings, particularly those that illustrated scenes from the New Testament. Here we find the moment when Jesus first announced himself to the world as he was baptized by the prophet, John. 
3. The Adoration of the Magi
Leonardo was commissioned to paint the Adoration in 1480 for the altar at the San Donato monastery near Florence. He set himself 30 months to finish the work, but he never actually completed it, as events saw him move to Milan within a year.
2. The Last Supper
The Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings in all art history. A prodigious masterpiece of human drama, people have always been fascinated by the expressions of the disciples, and curious about the triangular space between Jesus as he leans away from one of his companions. As Jesus foretells his arrest and execution, he appears isolated, while the rest of his party are animated with excitement. 
1. Mona Lisa (La Giocondo)
The Mona Lisa del Giocondo is probably the single most well-known painting of any kind. For centuries, art lovers have been mesmerized by questions about the subject's state of mind. Countless debates and studies have turned up a whole host of competing theories as to the meaning of the piece. What do you think about the Mona Lisa?
 
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