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Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio

Milanese, 1467 - 1516

Beltraffio, Giovanni Antonio

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Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio (or Beltraffio), though born into an aristocratic Milanese family in 1467, trained as a painter with Leonardo da Vinci, according to Vasari. And, in fact, Leonardo records in his studio in 1491 a "Gian Antonio" who has plausibly been identified with Boltraffio. The works that can be assigned to the artist in the last decade of the fifteenth century are, accordingly, Leonardesque in character, with a certain refinement of style and conception that distinguishes them from those by the master's other pupils. His most important production from this time is the Resurrection of Christ, now in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, which Boltraffio executed jointly with Marco d'Oggiono. Though active as a painter of altarpieces (two extant ones are documented in 1502 and 1508) and half-length Madonnas, Boltraffio was particularly renowned for his portraiture, as shown by a document of 1498 praising his work in this capacity. In 1500 he completed what is generally regarded as his masterpiece, the Casio altarpiece, formerly in the church of the Misericordia, Bologna, and today in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. The altarpiece features a likeness of the Bolognese artist Girolamo Casio, whom Boltraffio portrayed several times. Boltraffio's later work, while continuing to refer to Leonardo, becomes somewhat broader in style, probably the result of increasing contacts with other Milanese painters, such as Bramantino and Andrea Solario. The artist's tombstone (Museo del Castello Sforzesco, Milan) records his death at the age of forty-nine in 1516. [This is the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]

Artist Bibliography
Fiorio, Maria Teresa. "Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio." InThe Dictionary of Art. Edited by Jane Turner. 34 vols. New York and London, 1996: 4:283-286.
Fiorio, Maria Teresa. Gioanni Antonio Boltraffio. Un pittore milanese nel lume di Leonardo. Milan and Rome, 2000.
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: 142.

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