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Ambrogio de Predis

Milanese, c. 1455 - after 1508

Preda, Ambrogio de; Predis, Giovanni Ambrogio de

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Ambrogio de Predis, born into a family of Lombard artists, worked primarily as a miniaturist, designer of coins, and portrait painter at the Sforza court. In this connection he accompanied Ludovico Sforza's niece, Bianca Maria, to Innsbruck on the occasion of her marriage in 1493 to the Emperor Maximilian, and there he worked for several years in the lady's service before returning to Milan. His most prestigious commission, however, was not for a court portrait, but for part of the altar complex that included Leonardo da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks, ordered by the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception for the church of San Francesco Grande in 1483. Leonardo's painting is known in two versions: one in the Musée du Louvre which is earlier and fully autograph, and another, preserved with two side panels representing musician angels, in the National Gallery, London, which is sometimes attributed, wholly or in part, to Predis. His responsibility for this work or for the accompanying angels cannot be established, however, as the only extant signed and dated picture by him is the quite different Portrait of Emperor Maximilian of 1502 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). Of the large number of similar bust-length profile likenesses of male and female sitters given to Predis, only a few are close enough in style to the Vienna portrait to warrant an attribution to Ambrogio. [This is the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]

Artist Bibliography

Shell, Janice. "Ambrogio de Predis." In The Legacy of Leonardo. Painters in Lombardy 1490-1530. Milan, 1998: 123-130.
Banti. In Encyclopedia of Italian Renaissance and Mannerist Art. Ed. Jane Turner. 2 vols. London and New York, 2000: 2:1298-1299.
Boskovits, Miklós, and David Alan Brown, et al. Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. The Systematic Catalogue of the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 2003: 596.

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