Monday, April 18, 2011

Delicate and exquisite: a classicizing vegetal border from the portal of Santa Maria delle Grazie

Delicate, exquisite, classicizing: a spiral of acanthus on the frame surrounding the principal portal of the fifteenth century church, Santa Maria delle Grazie. A condottiere of Francesco Sforza (ipso facto duke of Milan) called Gaspare Vimercati sponsored the construction of the church--founded in 1463--around a pre-existing chapel in this area then outside city walls. The adjacent Dominican monastery was finished in 1469. Both were projected by one of the day's top architects, Guiniforte Solari, and the nave and side aisles were painted by top artists, Bernardino Butinone, Bernardino Zenale and Giovanni Donato Montorfano, a good hint of the importance of the patron. In and of itself, the church is both beautiful and exemplary, don't miss it when you come to vist Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper in...More......

...the monastery's refectory (dining room). And be sure to make the reservations way in advance (I'm talking about a couple of months; check out the official online calendar, and even if it's filled up, write them, anyway, as there may be free spaces just liberated, but which haven't been registered on the site, yet:

Heard of Bramante, the architect who 'started' Italian Renaissance architecture in Rome with his little San Pietro in Montorio? He was in Milan first. Where Leonardo da Vinci worked off and on over about twenty years, including painting his Last Supper. Bramante is thought to have designed the principal portal (1488-90) of marble--featured in today's picture--, and also to have collaborated, at least in the design of the semi-circular apse, where--skipping over complex and bloody dynastic power struggles--then duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro, buried his young Este wife (1497), and planned to make the apse the new Sforza mausoleum.

There's lots more to recount about this church, its chapels--whose decoration was entrusted to important families and at least one confraternity--, the sagristy and the lovely little cloister courtyard open to the public, but all this for another day.

I took this photo for our enjoyment on the 17th of April, 2011, around 4 P.M.

If you're interested, I also created a diagram for needlepoint and cross stitch from the design for my blog, Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint art:


1 comment:

Margaret said...

I love those kinds of details. They are so rare in modern architecture.

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