Study of a lily

Study of a lily c1480-85

This drawing of a lily copied from nature is similar but not identical to the lily held by the Angel in the Annunciation, Galleria degli Uffizi. Having first drawn the flower with a soft black chalk, Leonardo then re-enforced the lines with pen and ink and added a coloured wash to convey the smooth shiny surface of the petals, leaves and stems. Although this study was not used for the Annunciation, it may well have been used in another version.

The outlines have been pricked through with a metal point, which suggests a method of direct transfer that involved pouncing the pricked lines with a small bag of charcoal dust in order to produce a sort of “join the dots” outline on the prepared panel, which the artist could then follow in his painting.

  • Medium Pen and ink over black chalk with wash
  • Size 31.4 x 17.7 cm
  • Location The Royal Collection

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