The schools of Lombardy and the Emilia, which derive their characteristics from Florentine rather than from Venetian influences, may here be briefly mentioned before turning to the consideration of the Venetian School. Of AMBROGIO DI PREDIS we have already heard in connection with the painting of our version of Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks.
However that may be, it is now certain that in 1483 he was commissioned by the Franciscan monks to paint a picture of the Virgin and Child for their church of the Conception, and that between 1491 and 1494 Leonardo and his assistant, Ambrogio di Predis, petitioned the Duke for an arbitration as to price.
The subject is of special interest, because this same pattern is repeated in the sleeves of Ambrogio de Predis' portrait of Lodovico's fair young daughter Bianca, which must have been painted about this time, and was probably adopted at the wish of Beatrice, who was fondly attached to her youthful step-daughter.
Both turned their eyes towards Julie, as she stood some ten yards away from them, in front of a refined and mysterious profile of the cinque-cento some lady, perhaps, of the d'Este or Sforza families, attributed to Ambrogio da Predis.
The latter not only stamped his art on the works of his own special school, but fascinated in the long run the painters of the specifically Milanese group which sprang from Foppa and Borgognone such men as Ambrogio de' Predis, Bernardino de' Conti, and, indeed, the somewhat later Bernardino Luini himself.
There can be little doubt that we have a portrait of this lamented princess in the beautiful picture of the Ambrosiana, which, long supposed to be the work of Leonardo, is now recognized by the best critics as that of Ambrogio de Predis.
For we have here, there can be little doubt, the portrait of Lodovico's daughter, by the hand of a Milanese painter, in all probability, as Morelli divined, the court-painter of the ducal house, Ambrogio de Predis. And the German critic, Dr. Müller-Walde, is probably right in his conjecture that the companion picture in the Ambrosiana is the portrait of Bianca's husband, Galeazzo di Sanseverino.
The loss indeed is greater than I can express, because of our close relationship and of the place which she held in my heart. May God have her soul in His keeping!" From a painting by Ambrogio de Predis.
A small Leonardo, the treasure of the house, which had been examined and written about by every European student of Milanese art for half a century, was suavely pronounced "A Da Predis, of course, but a very nice one!"