Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis

  • (Milanese), about 1455 - after 1506
  • Italian

As court painter to Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis hosted Leonardo da Vinci for a stay in his home when Leonardo first came to Milan in 1483. The two collaborated on paintings for the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception until the 1490s. But it was first as an illuminator and later as a portrait painter that Predis was best known among his peers.

Predis's portraits served to present the Milanese dukes in a favorable light to faraway nobles and friends, allaying the dukes' concerns about how they looked and what people would think of them. Before Emperor Maximilian I agreed to marry Sforza's daughter, for instance, he requested a portrait from Predis to get an idea of her appearance. After her wedding, Predis followed her to Innsbruck in 1493. After a year he returned to Milan, where he worked as a portrait painter and illuminator, designed coins for the imperial mint, designed and supervised the production of tapestries, and prepared stage scenery. In 1502 he produced his only surviving signed and dated work, a portrait of the Emperor Maximilian. Because of the dearth of signed work, much of Predis's artistic output remains in dispute.