The Virgin and Child with St Anne is an oil painting painted by the famous painter Leonardo da Vinci
The painting shows St Anne and her Daughter Mary along with the baby Jesus.
Although there is no painting that exists that is directly influenced by Leonardo da Vinci's earlier drawing 'The Burlington House Cartoon', sketches have been found on the back of this that suggest he had planned his ideas for The Virgin and Child with St Anne on the back of the original drawing of this cartoon.
Infrared technology used by experts found numerous things on the back of the drawing including a horses head and a drawing of Jesus playing with a lamb that resembled the focal point of the painting that came later. The painting is oil on wood and is said to have been painted around 1503.
The figures in Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Virgin and Child with St Anne' are incredibly close together showing the close bond that not only Mary had with the baby Jesus but also St Anne.
This is perhaps to depict to the viewer how easy it is for one to become close to the Son of God. Jesus interacting with the lamb rather than his family members possibly shows his kindness to all living beings.
Lambs are often used in paintings that relate to Jesus as the lamb of God is a very well known turn of phrase that comes to the bible.
One thing that is highly unusual about the painting is the fact that Mary is sitting on St Anne's lap. Although St Anne is Mary's Mother - this was not common practice for the time.
In actual fact through history women sitting on other women's laps is not something that was known to happen in any circumstance.
Many scholars have argued over the meaning of this but it is likely the da Vinci just wished to add a human family element to the picture to show the humble beginnings that Jesus came from.
The Virgin and Child with St Anne is displayed in the Lovure and is undoubtedly one of their proudest da Vinci pieces.
Due to this there have been many controversies over how the painting should be cleaned - if at all. In 2011, two prominent staff members resigned from the gallery over the painting being cleaned.
Once the painting had been cleaned it became a lot brighter which was obviously easier for the viewer, but it has been argued this brightness was not what Leonardo da Vinci had actually intended for the painting.
While two of the staff resigned over the cleaning, other staff members and scholars have argued that this was the right thing to do.
One of the directors who was supervising the restoration was one of the staff who resigned, but since this happened in 2011 many critics have come out in support of the restoration saying that it is more beneficial for the painting to last longer.