LUINI, Bernardino
(b. 1480, Luino, d. 1532, Milano)

Madonna in the Rose Garden

Oil on panel, 70 x 63 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Though not as well known today, Luini was once considered the leading painter from the Lombardy region of northern Italy. He was born about 1480 and trained with several local masters, but his life and art were transformed by encountering the work of Leonardo da Vinci, who visited Milan once in the late 15th century and again briefly in the early 16th century. Leonardo, as a young artist in Florence, painted several pictures with the same theme as that seen in this painting: the Christ child reaching for a flower. And it seems clear that Luini is indebted to Leonardo not only for this poignant theme but for other aspects of the painting as well: the dark background, the softness of the forms, the chiaroscuro (light and dark) modeling, the sweet sentiment of the figures, the turning pose of the Child.

This painting comes from the Certosa di Pavia.