This exquisitely finished drawing closely relates to the oil painting of the 'Virgin and Child with Saint Anne' (Musée du Louvre, Paris), of about 1508-12, and may have been a preparatory study. To render the infinite gradations of light and shadow, the artist used the sfumato technique, softly stumping the strokes of chalk. The effect is that of seamlessly blended tone 'in the manner of smoke' ('fumo'). Although the drawing surface has suffered somewhat, this study is unmistakably by Leonardo, and vividly illustrates the depth of his explorations of optical phenomena late in his career. Some of the major drawings for the Louvre picture are in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, England.