«Arte Lombarda» ospita in questo doppio numero dell’annata 2016 gli atti del convegno di studi Bramante e l’architettura lombarda del Quattrocento (Milano, 28-29 ottobre 2014), promosso dal Dipartimento di Storia, Archeologia e Storia dell’arte dell’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore e dal Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani del Politecnico di Milano. L’obiettivo era celebrare anche a Milano il quinto centenario della morte del grande architetto urbinate riprendendo la sua attività sotto il ducato sforzesco attraverso novità documentarie, segnalazioni e nuove letture critiche. I contributi hanno ben corrisposto alla richiesta che i curatori avevano espresso di proporre novità e aperture. L’operato e l’eredità del Bramante lombardo sono stati infatti proiettati su un orizzonte storico e cronologico più ampio della definizione di partenza. Non si tratta solo di un allargamento tematico ma anche metodologico, dati i molteplici punti di vista e i diversi materiali dai quali hanno preso le mosse le indagini qui illustrate. Alcuni dei nomi che animano queste pagine sono gli stessi che trent’anni fa avevano dato vita al pionieristico convegno di studi Bramante a Milano, anch’esso versato su più numeri di «Arte Lombarda», e piace dedicare alla memoria di Arnaldo Bruschi e Maria Luisa Gatti Perer, curatori di quel memorabile evento, questo poderoso volume come segno del nostro impegno a mantenere vivo e propositivo il ruolo della rivista a sessant’anni dalla sua fondazione.
The author suggests that the chief influence on Bramante’s Milanese architecture was not neccessarily Brunelleschi, but what he had learned at Mantua and from Francesco di Giorgio at Urbino particularly, but also, perhaps, from a knowledge of architecture in Verona and Padua. Bramante had no prefixed vocabulary before coming to Milan and had not built anything and so used, according to circumstances, a series of heterogeneous architectural motifs that he had noted in his travels before arriving in Lombardy, which to a certain extent explains the striking stylistic divergences in the buildings which he is documented as having built. At the same time, since his vocabulary was not prefixed, he was sensitive to local architectural forms and traditions, some of which he welcomed in his work. The presence of local motifs are not proof of interference in his projects by locals, rather inidications that he accepted some of their ideas under certain circumstances. In connection with Bramante’s work with local architects and painters, the lecture also discusses an evident change of plan in the construction of the choir of Santa Maria delle Grazie, his possible designs for the façade of the same church, and seeks to confirm the old hypothesis that Bramante designed the fictive architecture of Bergognone’s frescoes in the transept of the Certosa di Pavia. The lecture closes by describing rapidly the two most important small-scale architectural forms invented or revived in Milan by Bramante that subsequently became universal in Italian Renaissance architecture and beyond: the serliana and the pilaster immediately backed by other pilasters left and right.
The essay discusses the use of light in Bramante’s buildings in his Milanese and Roman periods. The author demonstrates the importance of the Basilica at Loreto and the Duomo in Milan in the early stages of Bramante’s career, and also illustrates the influence of Brunelleschi. For the Milanese period the essay discusses particularly the use of light in Santa Maria presso San Satiro, Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Duomo in Pavia, then turns to Rome, concentrating on St. Peter’s and the impressive solution for illuminating the choir of Santa Maria del Popolo.
Early on in his architectural activity in Milan, in about 1480, Bramante had already made a significant contribution to the development of the spiral staircase, as shown by the small (unpublished) spiral staircase in the sacristy of Santa Maria presso San Satiro. This staircase shows the influence of staircases in the Torricini (small towers) of the Ducal Palace at Urbino. Very important as well is the drawing of a spiral staircase for Vigevano, probably a copy of Bramante’s drawing, which anticipates the masterpiece of the Chiocciola in the Belvedere courtyard in the Vatican. Bramante also made a significant contribution to straight staircases, starting from the staircase leading up to the choir loft in the same church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro. Unusually, the two flights are not divided by a wall. Solution then developed by Leonardo da Vinci (Ms. B, 68 verso, Codice Atlantico, 281 recto-b). Bramante designed the two stairways for the use of horses in the Palazzo Comunale in Bologna and in the Albornoz castle in Viterbo at around the same time in about 1506. These staircases can help to understand the many staircases placed in the “disegno grandissimo” (Uffizi 287 A) realized in the same period. It is likely that he also designed the complex diametral staircase leading to the Pope’s apartment at Castel Sant’Angelo.
The church and the sacristy of Santa Maria presso San Satiro offer a wide range of ornamental elements of great interest, especially the pilaster capitals, the result of a complex process of design and interpretation by the artists involved in their preparation using a series of ancient models. Many of the decorative and figurative subjects present here were very wide-spread in Lombardy, but what is their ultimate origin from an archaeological point of view? In other words, what antique objects influenced their creation? This contribution aims particularly at identifying some of the possible ancient sources for the decoration put in place in the Milanese church through the testimony offered by both Renaissance drawings and surviving ancient artefacts. Although difficult, this investigation allows us to begin to consider, in parallel, the different ways of interpreting the Antique exemplified by the church and the sacristy; the former is clearly characterized by sources of Lombard derivation, the latter by a more scrupulous and philological translation of particular antique models. A comparison of these two approaches provides important clues emerge for understanding how the various aspects of antiquarian culture were assimilated and used by Bramante.
What matter has been tabled so that the rotunda of Santa Maria pressoSan Satiro would have been given to us? What techniques have been implemented so that we can decipher the treated terracotta stone? Which areas corresponds to the original and which is different due to replacements or restorations? From technical and chemical analysis on the pilasters the first order has emerged the particularities that lead to believe these decorations have not been carried out in the years 1483-85 and the historical documentation of the restorations has been analyzed for long, and this is where it showed a significant event. The Rotunda, since 2003, underwent conservative restorations and therefore thorough stratigraphic survey has been conducted. The hypothesis is that a mixed compound mainly of gypsum but also with the presence of lime was used that restorers have defined with a construction term as lime chalk. With the advancement of the studies, both from the technical aspect and the drawing aesthetics, the Sacristy stands as testimony to the start of plastic art adventure in the sixteenth century century. In this sense Bramante is at the forefront; also reveals a number of interconnections with the Veneto area.
One of the most discussed works belonging to the latter activity of Bramante in Milan is the project for the ducal chapel of San Teodoro, wanted directly by Ludovico il Moro starting from 1497 and never begun. Thanks to some new documents, to a deep analysis of those published and by following the history of the chapel under the Brivio patronage since 1511, it is now possible to dispel some doubts related with this project, especially define the position of the chapel, which was thought to be outside the right transept of the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro, towards the so called Malcantone, as a pendant with the chapel of San Satiro.
The essay attempts to reconstruct the story of the farmstead of the Pozzobonelli family, acquired by Gian Giacomo Pozzobonelli in 1498 and situated in Corpi Santi di Porta Nuova in Milan. In the late 19th century the building was partially destroyed and today it is possible to see only a portion of the porch and the chapel. The discovery of a group of documents related to the Possessione Pozzobonella in the archive of the Fondazione Feltrinelli is the occasion to reconstruct the late 15th century phases of this complex, trying to formulate also some hypothesis about the functions of the different spaces of the farmstead. A specific attention is dedicated to the survived portions of the complex, and in particular to the chapel: since the end of the 19th century many scholars had focused their attentions on this little building, which presents many elements similar to those used by Bramante during his activity in Milan. Although it is still not possible to attribute this building to a specific architect, the research underlines correspondences and also irregularities of the Pozzobonelli chapel in relationship with other buildings in Lombardy at the time.The essay attempts to reconstruct the story of the farmstead of the Pozzobonelli family, acquired by Gian Giacomo Pozzobonelli in 1498 and situated in Corpi Santi di Porta Nuova in Milan. In the late 19th century the building was partially destroyed and today it is possible to see only a portion of the porch and the chapel. The discovery of a group of documents related to the Possessione Pozzobonella in the archive of the Fondazione Feltrinelli is the occasion to reconstruct the late 15th century phases of this complex, trying to formulate also some hypothesis about the functions of the different spaces of the farmstead. A specific attention is dedicated to the survived portions of the complex, and in particular to the chapel: since the end of the 19th century many scholars had focused their attentions on this little building, which presents many elements similar to those used by Bramante during his activity in Milan. Although it is still not possible to attribute this building to a specific architect, the research underlines correspondences and also irregularities of the Pozzobonelli chapel in relationship with other buildings in Lombardy at the time.
The essay is focused on the riconsideration of the buildings constructed at the end of the 15th century in the block developed around the Santo Sepolcro’s church in Milan by wealthy merchants mainly rooted in the ancient parish of San Sebastiano. Specially attention is given at the so-called ‘Casa dei Grifi’ in via Valpetrosa 5, renovated «ad antiquum» around 1496 by Andrea Ghisolfi, as certifying a document on the supply of construction materials. In this small palace still survives the original Renaissance court with three porticoed sides decorated all around by eight stone medallions carved with Caesars heads, that combines traditional forms in private milanese architectural of the late 15th century and bramantesque elements. The restoration of the house can be placed in general renewal of the capital of the Duchy promoted by Ludovico il Moro with the “Decretum in favorem volentium laute hedificare” (1493). The same is for the so-called ‘Palazzo Castani’ in piazza San Sepolcro 9, constructed before 1495 by Gabriele Venzago called della Fontana, a rich merchant who promoted also the restoration of a fountain in Sant’Eustorgio monastery (1481) and the erection of the Santa Maria della Rosa church (1479-1493). The building is one of the milanese architectures closest to the Bramante’s inventions: the elegant architectural solutions employed in the mansion, both in the sober portal and in the courtyard, anticipate the ones adopted in the classic architecture of the early sixteenth century.
The rereading of the documents published by Giuseppe Stolfi e Charles Robertson about Gian Giacomo Trivulzio’s residence in Milan allows to clarify the hypothesis about Bramante’s and his employees’ presence in an impressive private building site, which opens the private palaces series of the last twenty years in Quattrocento Lombardy. The building on construction, although recorded only by the survived 1485’s Libro Mastro, appears well more structured as drafted by Robertson on 2002, while the graphic documents published by Stolfi on 2001 permit to place exactly the operations as detailed previously. The analysis of spaces, apparata, and some elements in the palace, and their reception in the context of lombard palaces, provide data of primary interest in outlining commissioners’ relationships around the figures of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio and Bramante. At present this research is in progress within the study “Anticamente moderni”: palazzi rinascimentali di Lombardia (publication forthcoming), started from the background of the research project Constructing Lombard Identity (UNIL, EPFL, Université de Genève, UZH), supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and coordinated by Serena Romano (http://www2.unil.ch/lombardy/index.html).
The Victoria and Albert Museum of London collection features a famous drawing of the project for the façade of a church. It is catalogued as “Design for the façade of the Church of Santa Maria presso San Celso, Milan”, and dated 1570. It is attributed to “Galeazzo Perugino”. If on the one hand the subject has been unanimously recognized as exact, the date and the attribution have not, and this issue has sparked an interesting debate among scholars of Milanese and Italian architecture of the Cinquecento. Published for the first time by Wolfgang Lotz, the drawing was initially attributed to Cristoforo Lombardo, and further studies supported this thesis. Redrawings of the plans and sections, and 3D reconstructions of the project have been recreated; they can be helpful tools in the continuing studies on it and can suggest new interpretations. The project reveals some incongruences, especially in terms of the correspondence between the façade and internal space. Through the analysis of the drawing, it is possible to discern two different “souls” in it: a more expressive and decorative one, and a more classical and puristic one. This reinforces the hypothesis that the drawing had been made by Cristoforo Lombardo, who had been the protagonist of a complex transition phase in the Milanese architectural scene after Bramante’s departure from the city.
This article offers the first thorough study of the Palazzo Talenti da Fiorenza in Milan and provides a new interpretation of its distinctive courtyard, which features a variety of disparate architectural elements, including quattrocentesque all’antica capitals as well as two tree-trunk shaped columns. Through a close examination of the physical and documentary evidence, it argues that the current palace, begun after 1553, is a consciously historicizing structure that intentionally recalls the late fifteenth-century architecture of Donato Bramante and even exploits architectural elements originally destined for his unfinished Canonica of Sant’Ambrogio. More than just an assemblage of fragments, this deliberately archaic architecture sought to celebrate the heritage of the Talenti da Fiorenza family and reaffirm their status within Milanese noble society.
Based on documents, it can not be established with precision when Bartolomeo Suardi met for the first time Bramante. However, it is likely that the two artists met in the early eighties of the fifteenth century in Bergamo, when they were both working within the artistic scene of goldsmiths. From Bergamo they moved to Milan to work on the construction of Santa Maria presso San Satiro and it is precisely here that, in a document that dates 1489, we see appearing for the first time the nickname of «Magistro Bertholameo Brabantino depinctore». Hence, it appears that the fame surrounding Bartolomeo Suardi and his peculiar nickname mentioned, was mostly related and deeply connected from the very beginning to the person of Donato Bramante. The purpose of this essay is double. On the one hand we evaluated the relation between Bramante and Bramantino through some interesting analogies such as the examination of specific architectonic details within the first pictorial works of Bramantino. These architectonic details seem to refer directly to those canons and examples that Bramante was in that time revealing to the artistic scene of Milano. On the other hand, and as a conclusion, we analyzed in a more comprehensive way the term ‘bramantismo’, an expression often used by the artistic literature as an automatic interpretation to analyze the works of those artists who were at that time gravitating around the master from Urbino who chose Milan as his privileged place of activity.
In the last quarter of the fifteenth century, when Bramante arrived at Milan, the city was the major centre in Italy for the research of modern domed buildings. The challenge was to overcome the too strict Sagrestia Vecchia’s cubic type, incapable of clearly expressing the signum Crucis - the symbol of modern faith as opposed to the idolatrous pagan religion. The development of a modern Christian temple, cross-shaped and domed, had already began in the previous decades with Alberti (as an architect, not theorician) and Filarete’s Architettonico libro, for whom the cross was assumed as an iconic mark. In the 1480s, Leonardo, who in some sketches foreshadowed a revolutionary conception of the domed churches, both in their geometry or structure, enriched the researches in Milan. He did not design his compositions of spaces using two-dimensional walls and linear pilasters (as late-mediaeval architecture did), but taking off regular empty volumes from a solid structural body: so that the structure was reduced to a shapeless continuity of three-dimensional masonry. The use of a free combinatorial geometry, allowed Leonardo as well to shape pyramidal architectural compositions, both geometrically or structurally. Bramante felt the effects of the Milanese experimentations: his works, actually built or not (from the three domes of Santa Maria presso San Satiro to Santa Maria delle Grazie, through the Prevedari engraving and the Pavia’s cathedral), show his restless typological varietas; nonetheless, the master would reach his most mature achievements only at Rome. In Milan he remained in the field of a fertile eclecticism, confronting himself with all sort of local and foreign sources.
The article focuses on bodies crowned by masonry domes with the intention to better understand the constructive experiences gathered by Bramante during his stay in Milan. First, the search for Leonardo da Vinci of «il disiderio de la forza» and his interest in the San Lorenzo at Milan is discussed. Subsequently the Bramante’s project for the sacristy of Santa Maria at San Satiro, the lantern for the Duomo and the tribuna for Santa Maria delle Grazie are examined. The opinio on the Cathedral, dated 1488, reveals Bramante as a manufacturer of precise structural static concepts, careful and cautious. Its guiding concepts are «forteza» and «legiereza» and are already present in embryo in the project of the sacristy in Santa Maria presso San Satiro, completed in 1483. While the project for the tribune of Santa Maria delle Grazie of the years 1492 and following seems not only developed precisely on the basis of these concepts, but you can still observe the care and caution of a very builder.
Vasari makes out that Bramante’s pioneering architecture was determined by the encounter with antiquity in Rome, and buildings such as the Tempietto and St. Peter seem to confirm this view at first glance. This essay examines the extent to which the Roman antiquities really shaped the buildings that Bramante created in Rome, or vice versa, how strongly is their connection with Bramante’s past experiences in Northern Italy. It is soberly considered, with which cultural circles the essential elements of the Roman works of Bramante can be concretely combined. In this way it turns out that most of them have their models in Northern Italy, in Lombardy, but also in Venice. The early works of Bramante in Rome do not even come as close to antiquity as the buildings of the 15th century in Rome do. The disposition of the St. Peter’s church is shaped by models of Northern Italy and the ideas of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The Tempietto comes closer to the antique than any other Renaissance building, but its disposition is determined by Vitruvius, and Vitruvius was intensively studied in Milan. The building is not oriented to the ancient monuments, where they deviate from Vitruvius or from ideal concepts of the Renaissance. In conclusion is considered, why the architecture that Bramante created in Rome, although its individual elements are more connected to Northern Italy than to Roman antiquity, has a different overall effect than the one he created in Milan. The special situation that prevailed in Rome as the center of Christendom at the time of Bramante appears to be the reason for this, especially the possibilities offered there, more than in other places, to realize ideal imaginings of the Renaissance.
As an alternative to permanent setting critical that the design of the New St. Peter’s in Rome would be the outcome of a ‘turning point’ in the architectural conceptions of Bramante, motivated by the direct knowledge of the most significant Roman antiquities, attention is being paid to the previous period biography of Donato. Mention of Milanese buildings in GDSU 8Av sheet allow, in fact, to initiate a ‘mapping’ of sources and architectural calculations by which to identify what may have constituted for thought in his meetings with Leonardo, Francesco di Giorgio and Giuliano da Sangallo, contributing the formation of the “mental equipment” with which it is addressed the preparation of projects for the Vatican Basilica. The study is proposed as the author’s initial contribution to a survey conducted by Richard Schofield.
Among the 15th and the 16th century the Piedmont of today didn’t constitute a homogeneous territory both the political viewpoint and the cultural viewpoint: the advent of the modern architectural culture was born in different times into distinct areas and today architectures aren’t understanded. Historians generally have attributed many buildings to Bramante or generically to Bramante’s culture, but they have been rarely compared with the Bramante’s works. The buildings attributed to Bramante or to Bramante’s school are the parish churches of Santa Maria Annunziata in Roccaverano and of San Lorenzo in Saliceto, the courtyard of the Vinovo castle, the Malabayla palace in Asti and the church of S. Sebastiano in Biella, which constitutes the case here considered. This essay aims at reconsidering the hypothesis according to the building, founded in 1502, constitutes an example of penetration of Bramante’s architectural culture in Piedmont descended from the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro in Milan, in fact Sebastiano Ferrero, patron of San Sebastiano, lived in Milan since 1499. Given the limited availability of documents and information on architects and workers, instead the architectural analysis has highlighted a revival of traditional solutions of lombard architecture at the end of the fifteenth century, while the presence of the barrel vault on columns is present only in the church of Santa Maria in Valvendra in Lovere, and the Brunelleschi’s die, used by Bramante in the cloisters of St. Ambrose, is a rare solutions in Milan at the beginning of the 16th century. Different elements, taken from the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro, live side by side in the church of San Sebastiano, but we can’t define it a Bramante’s space, because San Sebastiano in Biella shows a Bramante’s heritage composed of single citations like the rich decoration influenced by ancient models and the barrel vault. Furthremore the wasted decorations contrast with new trends of architectural style in Milan during French period.
In 1512, after having chased the Bentivoglio from Bologna, Pope Julius II decided not only to rebuild the destroyed fortress of Porta Galliera, which however never ended up to be built, but also to create a new military post at Porta Maggiore, to defend the road to Romagna. This second fortress, the so-called “rocchetta”, reused the walls of the ancient medieval gate, while a new one, in Renaissance style, was built on a site nearby. Almost completely ignored by Renaissance historians, the gate and the “rocchetta” of Porta Maggiore are reconstructed thanks to contemporary chronicles and some important drawings, mostly from 18th century. Both buildings, probably designed by Bramante, were demolished in 1770 when Gian Giacomo Dotti created the new Porta Maggiore. In the early twentieth century even this building was destroyed and, during the demolition work, the remains of the previous medieval gate returned to light, which, restored and supplemented, are forming the present gate.
The Prevedari engraving (1481) supports the knowledge of Bramantesque architectures in all territories of ancient Republic of Genoa (Riviere di Ponente e di Levante, Oltregiogo, Corsica) and of neighboring Imperial Fiefs (Finale), even if in a secondary display at first glance. The «monstrous columns» give a meaningful example of this historical process, from 1483 to the beginnings of XVII century. Lombard marble workers exported their prototype from Genoa even to Andalusia and Castilla, where Diego de Sagredo ratified it as a model in his treatise of architecture (Medina del Romano, Toledo 1526).
We can recognize, through the Spanish religious architecture analysis, a relationship between the Lombard work of Bramante and the contemporary Hispanic experiments with the introduction of the artistic and architectural elements of the Renaissance. The first church in Spain which show shapes inspired by the Italian Renaissance art is the Franciscan convent of San Antonio de Mondejar in Tendilla (1487-1509); however, in it the similarities are only the decorative elements. Conversely, the typology of the Bramante cloisters with overlapping arches, inspired by the courtyards of St. Ambrose of Milan, is a natural vehicle of the Renaissance architectural ideas in the Iberian Peninsula: hereof we consider significant the cloisters of the San Gregorio College in Valladolid (1487-1496), annexed to the Dominican convent of San Pablo: this community wanted to use more stringent rules and to avoid disagreements with the rest of the Dominican Province of Spain, that still flaunted the strict religious Reformation; so the convent of San Pablo got to integrate into the Congregation Observant of Lombardy, for which Bramante intervened in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie (1492). At the end of the fifteenth century, the mendicant Catholic religious orders played a fundamental role, not always recognized, for the spread of the new architectural design; this is demonstrated by examining the Spanish buildings of the Dominican friars.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, when the Low Countries open up to the Italian Renaissance culture, it is the artistic language of the Lombardy that they adopt in first, especially regarding the architecture. Thanks to the French that bring over of the alpine borders the picturesque Lombard style of the fifteenth century discovered during the Italian wars, the monuments of Flanders gradually dressed their gothic structure by ancient ornaments arranged according to the codes of the Northern Italians. Also in the Flemish paintings, where the first manifestations of Renaissance architecture in the Low Countries can be observed, the architectural backgrounds reveal a Lombard influence: candelabra, medallions with ancient busts, fanciful capitals and balusters are developing everywhere in a typically Lombard abundance. Beyond these ornaments relatively diffused, other rarer architectural formulas, because typical of the Milanese activity of Bramante, can be also seen in the Jan Gossart’s paintings, a Flemish artist who was present at the Julius II’s courtyard in Rome in 1509, but never mentioned in Milan. Through the study of some chosen paintings, we will measure the influence of Bramante’s milanese works in the conception of Gossart’s painted architectural backgrounds before to determine from where the Flemish detained this unexpected knowledge.