(b. 1489, Mantova, d. ca. 1537, Mantova)


Lorenzo Leonbruno (also Lorenzo de Leombeni), Italian painter. He was trained in the workshop of Andrea Mantegna and worked as an assistant to Pietro Perugino in Florence between 1504 and 1506. He also had formative contact with several Emilian artists, including Correggio and Dosso Dossi, whom he probably met in Mantua before going to Florence. In 1511 he briefly visited Venice and returned to Mantua the following year to work under Lorenzo Costa the Elder on frescoes of Apollo and the nine Muses in the Palazzo di San Sebastiano, Mantua (destroyed); he possibly assisted Costa on later commissions as well. Leonbruno worked under the patronage of Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua, and, later, of her son Federico II, 1st Duke of Mantua.

In 1521, on the recommendation of Baldassare Castiglione, he went to Rome to study antique art and the work of Michelangelo and Raphael. On returning to Mantua he worked on the decoration of the Castello di Corte and the Palazzo Ducale, two projects that constituted a large proportion of his work as a court painter for Federico; in the Castello di Corte he painted two rooms with various decorations, paintings and grotesques. Between 1521 and 1523 Leonbruno produced various mythological scenes, decorative motifs and medallions for the lunettes and ceiling of the room known as Isabella d'Este's Scalcheria in the Grotta of the Palazzo Ducale. This project reveals the influence of Mantegna and Perugino, but its hunting motifs also make it reminiscent of Correggio's Camera di San Paolo in Parma. In 1524 he began designing the decorations for the Palazzo di Marmirolo (destroyed 1798), Mantua, but his work there was suspended as a result of Giulio Romano's arrival.

After working in Milan in 1531-32 as a military designer for Francesco Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan, he returned to Mantua, where he is last documented on the payroll of the court at the end of 1537. Besides his frescoes in various palaces he executed a number of panels with decorative and mythological subjects such as the Calumny of Apelles (c. 1525; Milan, Brera). Notwithstanding the interest of the Mantuan court in the Antique, Leonbruno also executed several religious works, among the most successful of which are the two examples of the Nativity (Worcester, Art Museum). Both paintings are datable to Leonbruno's middle period when he was under the influence of Costa. They are characterized by precise landscape details and brilliant colours, features that are also found in the mythological scenes of the Scalcheria, and represent Leonbruno at his best.

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