- Leonardo da vinci
Salaì was born in 1480 as son of Pietro di Giovanni, a tenant of Leonardo's vineyard near the Porta Vercellina, Milan.
He joined Leonardo's household at the age of ten as an assistant. Vasari describes Salaì as "a graceful and beautiful youth with curly hair, in which Leonardo greatly delighted". Although Leonardo described him as "a liar, a thief, stubborn and a glutton" and he stole from Leonardo on at least five occasions, he kept him in his household for more than 25 years, in which he trained as an artist. Salaì became a capable, although not very impressive, painter, who created several works, including the Monna Vanna, a nude version of the Mona Lisa which may be based on a charcoal sketch by Leonardo. He is also considered one potential creator of the Prado's copy of the Mona Lisa.
Leonardo is thought to have used Salaì as the model for several of his works, specifically St. John the Baptist and Bacchus. Some researchers also believe that Salaì and not Lisa del Giocondo was the real model for the Mona Lisa but this claim is disputed by the Louvre.
Cristo giovanetto come Salvator Mundi, Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci
During Leonardo's second stay in Milan, he took another young pupil, Francesco Melzi. Unlike Salaì, Francesco was a son of a nobleman. When Leonardo traveled to Rome in 1513 and to France in 1516, Salaì and Melzi both accompanied him. As an adult, Melzi became secretary and main assistant of Leonardo, and undertook to prepare Leonardo's writings for publication. Vasari says that Melzi "at the time of Leonardo was a very beautiful and very much loved young man". In France, Francesco Melzi was greeted as "Italian gentleman living with master Leonardo" and granted donation of 400 ecus, while Salaì, 36 years old, was described as "servant" and granted a one time donation of 100 ecus. Salaì left Leonardo and France in 1518. He later returned to Milan to work on Leonardo's vineyard, previously worked by Salaì's father, half of which was granted to him by Leonardo's will. It is commonly believed that upon Leonardo's death in 1519, Salaì inherited several paintings including the Mona Lisa. Through his estate, many of those works, notably the Mona Lisa, passed into the possession of Francis I of France. While Leonardo left all personal belongings, paintings, drawings and notes to Francesco Melzi in his will, it is unclear whether this included the Mona Lisa.
Salaì married Bianca Coldirodi d'Annono on June 14, 1523, at the age of 43. Salaì died in 1524 as a result of a wound received from a crossbow in a duel and was buried in Milan on 10 March 1524.
Automatic subject recognition
Automatic advanced recognition
- The Louvre
- The Last Supper
- St. John the Baptist
- Mona Lisa
- Leonardo da Vinci