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Giampietrino, Boltraffio, and the Influence of Leonardo

Larry Keith and Ashok Roy
Technical Bulletin Volume 17, 1996


Leonardo da Vinci had a substantial impact on a group of Milanese painters. Studies of paintings in the National Gallery, London, by two of these painters, Giampietrino and Boltraffio, elucidate two versions of 'leonardismo'.

Giampietrino produced replica versions of specific works by Leonardo. Infrared reflectograms show that he rubbed charcoal over holes in a cartoon by Leonardo for transfer, which he then painted over himself. Giampietrino's painting techniques as well as composition show imitation of Leonardo, although colour changes over time show that his techniques were less sophisticated than Leonardo's. The authors suggest that Giampietrino tried to copy Leonardo's style and technique without understanding what went into them.

Boltraffio's painting also shows similarities in style and technique to Leonardo's, in particular the use of dark underpainting. However, Boltraffio was more successful at assimilating Leonardo's expertise into compositions with more original content.


cartoons (working drawings), Giampietrino, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, infrared reflectography, Leonardo da Vinci, paintings

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Keith, L., Roy, A. 'Giampietrino, Boltraffio, and the Influence of Leonardo'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 17, pp 4–19.

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