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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) and sun spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia) c.1505-10

Pen and ink and red chalk | 19.8 x 16.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 912424

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Around 1505-10 Leonardo made many drawings of plants for the foreground of a painting of Leda and the swan, which was destroyed around 1700. His interest in the structure of individual species, however, went far beyond what was necessary for a painting; here he pays close attention to the form of the spurge’s flowers.