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Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno, nicknamed “Salai” (1480-1524), was apprentice and close companion to Leonardo from 1490 until 1516. His loutish behavior and fondness for of stealing caused Leonardo to give him the nickname “Salaì,” meaning ‘devil’. According to several scholars, he was the model for Leonardo’s paintings of St. John the Baptist and Bacchus, as well as numerous drawings. When Leonardo moved to Amboise in France, Salai remained in Milan as tenant of Leonardo’s vineyard property.



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