BOLTRAFFIO, Giovanni Antonio
(b. ca. 1467, Milano, d. 1516, Milano)

Virgin and Child

1490s
Oil on panel, 83 x 63,5 cm
Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Of all Leonardo's pupils and followers it is Boltraffio whose work is most clearly related to that of the master in style. He is recorded as having worked for some years after 1491 in Leonardo's studio in Milan, and in his own works he often made use of compositions, sketches and drawings by the master - to whom more than one of his pictures has at some time been attributed. At the beginning of the last century this half-length Madonna in Budapest was so attributed and it certainly shows an unmistakably close link with Leonardo, the surviving series of whose drawings demonstrate that he was occupied with the idea of a composition in which the infant Jesus stretches his arms towards flowers in a vase. Nor is it only in the type of picture that the Budapest Madonna is related to Leonardo. The subtlety of the detail, for instance the beauty of Mary's hands, the tender pose of the heads and the accomplished execution of the rich drapery, all provide evidence that the link with Leonardo is more than a matter of inspiration or borrowing of motifs. It is even believed that the master himself made some contribution to the work.