Department Chair

David A. Carson, Ph.D., Distinguished Service Professor and Chair, Dept. of History and Social Studies Education

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

History, M.A.


History and Social Studies Education Department


Cynthia A. Conides, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History

Department Home page

First Reader

Frances M. Gage, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Fine Arts


The two versions of the Virgin of the Rocks have generated continued debate amongst art historians. Scholars such as Pietro Marani, Martin Davies and William Cannall have compiled opposing theories on the subject while referencing the same material. Despite the discovery of original documents pertaining to the commission of the painting, researchers continue to argue over the following: why do two versions of the same painting exist that are both associated with Leonardo da Vinci, where did the original version go after its completion, and who was responsible for the second painting? The following research will answer these questions and discuss the treatment of both paintings while in their respective art institutions, the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in London. The examination of the museum’s conservation practices, scientific research and previous and upcoming exhibitions will aide in solving the mystery surrounding Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks.