Andrea Solario Biography

Early Life

Andrea Solario was born in Milan, Italy around 1460. His family was not wealthy, but they were respected craftsmen and professionals. His father, Cristoforo Solari, was a sculptor, while his brother, Cristoforo, was an architect. Andrea initially trained with his father and brother in the traditional Italian art of stone carving.


Solario further honed his skills as a painter under the mentorship of Leonardo da Vinci, one of the leading artists of the High Renaissance period. It is believed that he might have also studied under the guidance of painter Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio. However, not much is known about Solario’s education field as learning and studying processes in art were more informal during the Renaissance period.


Being in the cradle of Renaissance art, Solario was greatly influenced by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the period’s unparalleled masters. He admired da Vinci’s innovative usage of light and shade to enhance the depth and texture of his subjects. Solario also adopted da Vinci’s technique of softness and subtle gradation in tones.

Additionally, he found inspiration from the work of Giovanni Bellini, a renowned Venetian artist. From Bellini, Solario adopted the sensitive portrayal of light on various surfaces, creating a magical and luminous atmosphere in his paintings.

Major Artwork

Among Solario’s most notable paintings are “The Virgin of the Green Cushion” (1507-10), “Salome with the Head of John the Baptist” (c.1507-10), and “The Lute Player” (c.1520). His masterpiece is considered the “Madonna with the Green Cushion,” in which the illumination of the figures, the rich coloring, and the broad and solid modeling belong to the best Italian art tradition.

Art Movements

Solario belonged to the High Renaissance, a period that marked the apex of visual arts in the Italian Renaissance. Throughout his career, he remained loyal to his influences, particularly to the tradition of Leonardo da Vinci and the Lombard school. He was also exposed to the trends of Venetian painting, marking a step towards a broader, more monumental style of art, while still maintaining the detailed observation characteristic of the Lombard tradition.


Andrea Solario passed away in Milan in 1524 leaving behind a significant body of work that greatly contributed to the High Renaissance period. His incorporation of various influences into his work, while retaining his signature style, makes him a standout figure in the history of European art. His industrious blending of Northern European meticulousness with luxurious Venetian color, bold use of chiaroscuro, and careful attention to texture continue to inspire artists today. These elements of his practice place him firmly as a distinct voice within the larger narrative of Italian Renaissance art.