This raises some interesting questions. The drawing was found under the London version of Virgin of the Rocks. It clearly shows that Leonardo’s original aim was to create a different painting rather than a copy.
Rather than examine the artist’s motives here (which should be pretty obvious!) I think it is interesting that a copy was requested in the first place (I have always wondered about that) and why the other topic was rejected.
It is interesting to see that even the great Leonardo Da Vinci had difficulties having his works accepted and problems with patrons.
The discovery of this drawing will most likely raise the question that comes up every time a great master’s work is discovered under another – whether to destroy the surface painting to restore the new one. Usually I am an emphatic NO! in this regard – I feel the artists wishes should be respected. But in this case, when there is another ‘copy’ and it was possibly not the artist’s wish to create the surface painting.. I don’t know…
It is a great discovery though.