Aurelio LUINI

Milan c.1530 - Milan 1593


The youngest son of the Milanese painter Bernardino Luini, who died when he was an infant, Aurelio Luini nevertheless worked in his father’s tradition as a pupil and one of the best followers of Leonardo da Vinci. Like his father, Aurelio worked for most of his life in his native city of Milan, often in collaboration with other local artists. Together with his brother Giovan Pietro, he was tasked in the mid-1550s with completing some of the fresco decoration begun by their father Bernardino in the Milanese church of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore. In this cycle of scenes from the life of Christ, his first major independent work, Aurelio’s forms retain his father’s characteristic softness and chiaroscuro. Many of the younger Luini’s commissions came from religious societies, and his work can be found in several churches in and around his native Milan, including the Duomo. He also produced a large number of fresco cycles in the city and throughout Lombardy and Piedmont, notably in the Milanese church of San Vincenzo alle Monache and at Santa Maria di Campagna on the outskirts of Pallanza, on Lake Maggiore, where he worked alongside another Lombard painter, Carlo Urbino. The final and most significant works of Luini’s nearly forty-year career are the frescoed scenes from the life of Saint Ambrose for the vault of a chapel in the Tribunale di Provvisione in Milan, completed a few weeks before his death in 1593. As well as being a painter, Luini was also a poet, and was himself the subject of a sonnet composed by artist and writer Giovan Paolo Lomazzo: ‘Tu Aurelio, la cui mente più alto aspira, / Come per l’opere tui si vede e mira. / Oltre ch’in dolce lira / Dolce canti i pensier ne i tuoi disegni, / Dispiegandogli in versi ornate e degni.’