A History of Milan under the Sforza

By Cecilia M. Ady; Edward Armstrong | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
ARCHITECTURE

"WHILE the Duke lived, he never ceased to build." Such is Cagnola's comment upon the reign of Francesco Sforza, and it is equally applicable to those of his two sons. Nevertheless, the history of Architecture under the House of Sforza, centres not so much round the ducal patrons or the architects and sculptors whom they employed as round the buildings themselves. The Certosa of Pavia, for example, bears the mark of no one patron or architect. Its church, beginning with the long high naves and their Gothic pillars, and culminating in the full Renaissance work of the façade, contains in itself the story of Lombard architecture. A crowd of workers were attracted thither for the sake of the artistic education which the Certosa afforded, each generation in turn imbibing the tradition of its predecessors to such an extent as to make individual work in many cases indistinguishable. Each succeeding Duke, from Gian Galeazzo Visconti to Francesco Sforza II., contributed his share towards the monument which formed the glory of no one man but of two dynasties. What is true of the Certosa is also true of the Duomo and Castello of Milan and indeed of all the chief buildings in the Duchy. The leading architects of the day were employed, not on one building alone, but on each in turn. Hence it is by an account of the great monuments of the Duchy, of those which originated under the Visconti and were completed by the Sforza, of those begun by Francesco Sforza and of those begun by Lodovico, that the architecture of the period can best be understood.

Foremost among the building operations inherited from the

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