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Bernardino Luini

Bernardino Luini was an Italian Renaissance painter and certainly a disciple of Leonardo da Vinci. He produced a number of religious masterpieces in the form of frescoes and paintings. He was also a great painter of real, everyday life, offering a few paintings of real intensity to posterity.



Bernardino Luini: style, training and influences


Bernardino de Scapis, known as Bernardino Luini, was born in Luino in around 1480. He moved to Milan with his father in around 1500 and was apprenticed to either Stefano Scotto or Ambrogio Borgognone, depending on the sources. His main inspiration was therefore Lombard. Luini remained fairly closed to the various influences of his period, but was inspired by great masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, of whom he was certainly a pupil. Throughout his life, his style retained a certain uniformity and even monotony: a peaceful setting and cold colours. Luini also had a great ability to imitate, which led to some of his works being attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.

Luini, an expert painter of religious subjects in frescoes

Legend has it that Bernardino Luini enjoyed a youth full of amorous and dramatic adventures that often forced him to seek refuge in various monasteries, including Saronno, where he painted the Santa Maria dei Miracoli frescoes (1525-1532). Luini acquired great expertise in mural painting and completed frescoes in the Corpus Domini chapel in the church of San Giorgio al Palazzo (1516), the Villa Pelucca de Monza (1522-1525), the Rabbia palace in Milan and his masterpiece, the frescoes in the Besozzi chapel in the church of San Maurizio, on which he worked until 1530. He was thus considered to be the last great Lombard fresco artist.

Luini, painter of religious themes

Bernardino Luini began to make a reputation for himself in Milan in the 1510’s. Alongside his frescoes, he painted a number of paintings of Madonnas, which led him to become a source of inspiration for the 19th Century Romantics. In this vast series we find the influence of Leonardo da Vinci and Solario. Married and the father of four children, including the painter Aurelio Luini, he continued to be inspired by the theme of religion and painted a few masterpieces such as The Annunciation, the Pietà (1516) and the Polyptych (1523). He also produced a series of Salomes, three paintings on the same subject in which he showed glimpses of an original personal style.

Luini, a painter of real life

Although he was a painter of religious themes, Bernardino Luini occasionally abandoned the pictorial principles of his period in order to express reality. He painted scenes of real life, day-to-day gestures of a surprising simplicity that nevertheless have a mysterious grace. These include Girls bathing and Nymphs bathing, which are given a particularly realistic treatment.
He achieved a considerable stylistic and artistic maturity from 1520 and was highly respected during his lifetime. Though he remained famous and popular long after his death in 1532, Bernardino Luini is less well known today, but is still seen as an eminent painter of the Italian Renaissance.



Madonna col Bambino, (Madonna with Child) 1499-1503
Sainte Famille, (The Holy Family) c. 1510-1515
La Nativité et l'Annonce aux bergers, (The Nativity and the Annunciation to the Shepherds) c. 1520
L'Adoration des Mages, (The Adoration of the Magi) c. 1520-1525
Le Christ bénissant, (Christ giving his Blessing) 1520-1525
Madone de Mennaggio, (Madonna and Child with an Angel) c. 1520-1530
Salomé reçoit la tête de saint Jean-Baptiste (Salome receives the Head of John the Baptist)


Useful links

See the works of Bernardino Luini at the Brera Art Gallery and the Louvre Museum.

Bernardino Luini 's products at Nouvelles Images

> Greeting cards

Greeting cards The Christ Child Asleep (detail)

Nationality(ies) : Italian
Born on : vers 1480
Died on : 1532
Profile : Painter
Artistic current(s) : Renaissance
Theme(s) covered : Portraits - Characters, Religion