12 February 2015

The Sforza Castle -- Museum of Ancient Art

With nearly 2,000 items, the Museum of Ancient Art is the most important collection of Late-Antiquity, Medieval and Renaissance sculpture in Lombardy. The Museum, housed in rooms bearing the Sforza and Spanish era decorations, displays items linked to the history of the city and the region, as well as masterpieces acquired by the City Council throughout the course of time.

After you pass through the arch of the Pusteria dei Fabbri, once one of the gates of the Medieval walls of Milano, your attention is drawn to the 14th-century funerary monument of Bernabo Visconti, a masterpiece by Bonino da Campione, and to the elegant sculputres by the Tuscan Giovanni di Balduccio, called to Milano by Azzone Visconti to decorate the churches and gates of the city walls. The history of the city is shown in the friezes from the Medieval Porta Romana, depicting events following the capture of the city by Frederick I Barbarossa in 1162, and in the 16th-century Gonfalon of Milano featuring the portrait of Saint Ambrose.

The Sforza period of Milano is represented by the Sala delle Asse, designed by Leonardo da Vinci, who was called to Milano by Ludovico il Moro, the frescoes of the Ducal Chapel and the private rooms of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, where Late-Gothic (Jacopino da Tradate) and Renaissance (Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, Antonio and Cristoforo Mantegazza) works are displayed.

After the Armoury, housing a selection of arms from the Late Middle Ages to the 18th century, the itinerary is completed by two outstanding masterpieces: the funerary monument of Gaston de Foix, commissioned by the King of France Francis I and sculpted by Bambaja, and the famous Rondanini Pieta by Michelangelo, his last and unfinished work.