Copy of Leonardo’s Madonna of the Rocks, €260,000 (£206,090) at Dorotheum

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In c.1483, Leonardo began the first version of his iconic motif with its depiction of Mary, Jesus, the infant John the Baptist and the angel Uriel. This painting belongs to the Louvre, with a second, slightly different, version in the National Gallery in London.

Even though it measured 2ft 4in x 19in (70 x 48cm), which is less than half the size of the original, the copy in Vienna was closely related to the painting in the Louvre and thought to have been executed c. 1506, when Leonardo was in Milan.

The one major difference to the originals and the other known copies was the composition of the grotto in the background. Whereas Leonardo’s depiction is realistic and geologically correct, his follower allowed his fantasy to run free, his grotto much more fantastic than the original.

Relatively little is known about the provenance. The vendor was a European private collector and the previous owner was Contessa Rosa Bertoglio (1836-1916) in Milan.

On auction day, October 25 in Vienna, the bidding took off and went way past the estimate of €100,000. A European bidder invested €260,000 (£206,090) to claim their prize.