Head of Christ the Redeemer

Salai (Gian Giacomo Caprotti)1511

Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana

Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Milano, Italy

This is the latest donation received by the Ambrosiana, under the heading Il Caprotti di Caprotti. At the bottom right-hand corner of the panel a date (1511) and an inscription, with the name “Salai”, are clearly visible: this was the nickname given by Leonardo da Vinci to one of his favourite pupils, Gian Giacomo Caprotti, who was often used as a model in his master’s studio. Critics discuss about whether or not this is the artist’s signature on the painting (which would thus be attributed to Caprotti), or if this is a portrait of Salai, who would thus have lent his face as a model for the work. In any case, this panel depicts a religious subject (the face of Christ the Redeemer), as indicated by three iconographic signs which, as though forming a cross, appear behind the head, suggesting a sort of halo of the Trinity.


  • Title: Head of Christ the Redeemer
  • Creator: Salai (Gian Giacomo Caprotti)
  • Date Created: 1511
  • Physical Dimensions: 57.5 x 37.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Art Genre: Sacred art
  • Art Movement: 16th century Lombard painting
  • Art Form: Painting
  • Support: Panel

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