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The Cover
June 20, 2001

Portrait of a Lady

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2001;285(23):2950. doi:10.1001/jama.285.23.2950

Within a span of just 30 years, from 1452 to 1483, the three greatest painters of the Italian High Renaissance—Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Raffaelo Sanzio—were born. And then there was Bernardino Luini (c 1480-1532): it should have been the best of times, but for him it probably seemed more like the worst of times, like being the unimaginative middle child in a family of geniuses. Two years older than Raphael, six years younger than Michelangelo, and 30 years younger than Leonardo, he found everything had already been done. How does one go beyond the beyond? And so he imitated the masters, trying to explain them to the public, to make them more accessible. To his own native Milanese traditions, he added characteristics of the work of the Florentines. He quoted freely from Leonardo; he used his technique of sfumato as well as his compositional devices. He borrowed facial types, the use of chiaroscuro, and the medium of red chalk. So good was he at the art of imitation that for years some of Luini's works were attributed to Leonardo. (Binaghi Olivari MT. Luini, Bernardino in Grove Dictionary of Art. Available at: http://www.groveart.com. Accessed April 24, 2001.)

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