The story of this painting
Seracini conjectures that, upon seeing the preliminary drawings for the altarpiece they had commissioned, they rejected it due to the sensational scenario presented to them. Fully expecting a traditional interpretation including the three wise men, they were instead confronted with a maelstrom of unrelated, half-emaciated figures surrounding the Christ-Child, as well as a full-blown battle scene in the rear of the picture. They chose instead to relegate it to a storage house, rather than to destroy the original work. It was only much later, and probably in the context of the subsequent rise in value of Leonardo artworks, that it was resurrected and painted over by unknown persons to make it more "sale-able." This later re-working of the panel resulted in alterations to Leonardo's original design for the piece.