Bernardino Luini
Luini in a 1851 illustration
Bornc. 1480–1482
Runo, Dumenza
DiedJune 1532
MovementItalian Renaissance
Madonna del Roseto (Pinacoteca di Brera)
Adoration of the Magi, detached fresco, 1520–25 (Musée du Louvre)
Portrait of a Lady (1515; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)

Bernardino Luini (c. 1480/82 – June 1532) was a north Italian painter from Leonardo's circle during the High Renaissance. Both Luini and Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio were said to have worked with Leonardo directly; he was described as having taken "as much from Leonardo as his native roots enabled him to comprehend".[1] Consequently, many of his works were attributed to Leonardo. He was known especially for his graceful female figures with elongated eyes, called Luinesque by Vladimir Nabokov.[2]


Luini was born as Bernardino de Scapis in Runo, a frazione of Dumenza, near Lake Maggiore. Details of his life are scant.

In 1500 he moved to Milan with his father. According to Lomazzo, he trained under Giovan Stefano Scotto, although for others he was a pupil of Ambrogio Bergognone. In 1504-1507 he was probably in Treviso, as attested by a Madonna with Child signed Bernardinus Mediolanensis faciebat which is however of disputed attribution. His first fresco works are an Adoration of the Magi in San Pietro of Luino (c. 1505) and the attributed fresco in the presbytery of Monza Cathedral with St. Gerard of the Painters.

Luini returned to Milan in 1509, receiving a commission for a polyptych from which today only St. Anthony of Padua in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, influenced by Bernardino Zenale's Cantù Polyptych remains. In the 1510s he painted frescoes in the Oratory of Santa Maria Nuova in Pilastrello, a Lamentation of the dead Christ in Santa Maria della Passione, a Madonna della Buonanotte in the Abbey of Chiaravalle, frescoes in San Giorgio di Palazzo (1516) and in the Certosa di Pavia, and others.

From 1509 to 1514 Luini completed the frescoes for the Villa Pelucca in Sesto San Giovanni (now in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan). One of his best-known works was commissioned by Girolamo Rabia, for whom he also painted mythological scenes in the Palazzo Rabia (now in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.).

In 1521, he travelled to Rome, where he was influenced by Raphael's style. This is evident in Luini's subsequent frescoes in the Villa La Pelucca executed between 1520 and 1523, as well as in other works now at the Brera. In 1523, Luini painted a polyptych depicting the Enthroned Madonna and Child surrounded by Angels with Musical Instruments, and surmounted by God the Father, found in the Basilica of San Magno, Legnano.

Around 1525, he completed a series of frescoes on the life of the Virgin and Christ for the sanctuary of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Saronno; the fresco in the counterfaçade of Sant'Abbondio in Como was painted the same year. According to legend, he instigated the discovery of amaretto while at Saronno. Other works from his middle period include a Holy Family in the Museo del Prado, two Salome in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Uffizi and a Portrait of a Lady in the National Gallery of Art. A Virgin with Child and Saints from 1526 is in the Lee Fareham collection of Richmond.

In 1529, Luini completed one of his masterworks, the grand Passion and Crucifixion fresco at Santa Maria degli Angeli [it] in Lugano, paired with other works in the same church. In 1531 he returned to the Saronno sanctuary to complete other frescoes. Later in his career, Luini was increasingly influenced by Leonardo da Vinci, as shown by the St. Anne in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and the St. Catherine in the Hermitage.

He died in Milan. His son Aurelio was also an accomplished painter.

At least one prominent art scholar believes that the Salvator Mundi was not painted by Leonardo but mostly by assistants such as Luini; art historian Matthew Landrus maintained that the master was responsible for only about five to 20% of the work and that Luini was the "primary painter".[3][4]



Selected works

See also: Category:Paintings by Bernardino Luini

See also



  1. ^ Freedberg, 1993, p. 390.
  2. ^ "Luinesque eyes... God, how I kissed them..." ("La Veneziana", 1924).
  3. ^ Solly, Meilan. "Historian Asserts That Leonardo's Assistant Painted Majority of 'Salvator Mundi'". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2022-12-06.
  4. ^ "Leonardo scholar challenges attribution of $450m painting". the Guardian. 2018-08-06. Retrieved 2022-12-06.
  5. ^ "Bernardino Luini | The Virgin and Child with Saint John | NG3935 | The National Gallery, London". Archived from the original on 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  6. ^ "Bernardino Luini | Christ among the Doctors | NG18 | The National Gallery, London". Archived from the original on 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  7. ^ "After Bernardino Luini | Saint Catherine | NG3936 | The National Gallery, London". Archived from the original on 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  8. ^ "Education Redefined - Ball State University". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  9. ^ [1] Archived February 12, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ [2] Archived November 18, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ [3] Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Capolavori del Museo e della Gipsoteca". Museo Certosa di Pavia. 22 July 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  13. ^ "Capolavori del Museo e della Gipsoteca". Museo Certosa di Pavia. 22 July 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  14. ^ "Web Gallery of Art, image collection, virtual museum, searchable database of European fine arts (1000-1900)". Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  15. ^ "Luini". 2005-05-25. Archived from the original on 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  16. ^ "Web Gallery of Art has been moved to a new address!". Retrieved 2013-07-23.

Media related to Bernardino Luini at Wikimedia Commons