( Originally Published 1955 )
Milanese painter, one of the group of imitators of Leonardo da Vinci that sprang up when that master worked in Milan. Boltraffio spent most of his life in his native city, but was active for short periods in Bologna (1500) and Rome (1513). Except for typical Milanese elements in his work-heavy, immobile forms and somewhat awkward compositions-he was from the start wholly dependent on Leonardo, who came to Milan in 1485. His early works are mostly half-length figures of Christian or mythological personages, drawn in a rather dry and painstaking manner and finished with a hard and glossy paint surface. Characteristic of his female types are full and rounded chins and thin hands with outspread fingers. Later he painted larger and more involved compositions, of which the best example is the Casio Madonna with Saints and Donors (1500) in the Louvre. He was outstanding in the Milanese school as a portrait painter, and has even been suggested as the author of the Belle Ferronniere (Louvre), otherwise attributed to Leonardo.