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Madonna and Child - National Gallery, London


I found this Madonna and child on the Internet as a thumbnail. As it did appear a very elegant pictorial construction I adopted it as a background in one of my computers. So I kept scanning it with my eyes when the computer was hovering on its jobs. I discovered an inconsistent detail in the picture, a little square stick emerging from the breast of the Madonna. It was not part of the cloth or else, just a piece of wood. I got curious and tried to locate where the painting was. After a year of search I found it was at the National Gallery in London. As my analyses are usually done on fine details I asked the gallery for an A4 picture of good quality. After a year or so I got the picture.

The stick did appear in all its sinister meaning, I did remember having seen something similar as a child when pigs were killed. It did look as the handle of the "spillo" a sort of nail that was inserted in the hearth of the pigs. The detailed picture did even show the hand screw that is necessary to fix the iron to the wood. The Madonna had been killed in a barbarian and Tuscan way.

The painting is attributed to some follower of Leonardo, but the gesture of killing the mother is more attributable to him in person. He did hate his mother because she didnot prevent, or perhaps even favoured, the abuse on him by the band of five. In fact as the Madonnas painted by Leonardo automatically represent his mother he often punished them by chopping a finger or two and putting insects in their mouths. I was not shocked by the discovery, but rather pleased to have found another Leonardo hanging in a prestigious museum.

Tthings moved further when a nephew of mine, tall and with sharp eyes, came to visit me. He was standing behind me and from his angle of view the computer screen enhances the reds. "Look, look" he said "there is blood dripping along the back of the child Jesus".

He was right, there was in fact blood everywhere astutely hidden by letting it flow in the darker parts of the painting where the eye has a reduced discrimination for colors. All the blood of the Madonna can be found somewhere in pools and drippings, and soaked clothes. The Madonna is obviously dead as it is the child. A large edema on his left temple leaves little hope. Leonardo was extremely attentive in confirming his messages. A careful search with the help of the computer did show that the two are wrapped in spider webs. Spiders are very active but the two must have been immobile in that position for hours: they are dead. It is incredible how Leonardo did depict beauty and vitality, when seen from a distance, but death marks are evident at short range.