Although the use by Italian court leaders of public ceremonies with precise political and social significance is an established field of study, architectural and urban historians have underestimated the importance of such spectacles in cities like Milan, despite the attention the topic has received from historians of Renaissance theatre and the performing arts (e.g., on Milan: Tissoni Benvenuti 1983; Ventrone 2013; Passera 2020). I refer particularly to the power of these occasions to stimulate changes in the appearance of urban spaces — streets, palaces, squares — even if only for few days, and to the impact that giving a different temporary outfitting to the city could have had on the creation of local Renaissances and cultural identities.

The relatively rich literary production, encouraged by the Sforza dukes to celebrate the magnificence of the ducal city and the importance of the Duke’s activities (Visioli 2020), has seldom been accompanied by revealing archival discoveries and scholarship has also been hampered by a lack of visual material. These difficulties have led scholars to underestimate the importance of such studies in relation to Milan, whose practices in this field are still considered dependent on other cultural contexts which have been studied more thoroughly. The primary sources about performances and celebrations of Sforza Milan can, however, be analyzed much more carefully than hitherto from the point of view of their relationship to the streets and squares in which they took place. The aim of this paper is to concentrate in particular on itinerant ducal performances and to identify why certain spaces and streets were chosen for ducal parades as well as to examine the temporary architecture built for such occasions.

A certain number of studies have been dedicated to ceremonies related to the annual public offerings to the Cathedral that were organized by the inhabitants of separate zones of the city, zones identified, from an administrative point of view, by city gates: the Porta Orientale, the Porta Ticinese, the Porta Romana, and the Porta Comasina, for example (Tissoni Benvenuti 1983: 333–338; Covini 2001: 127–130; Ventrone 2013: 249–266). On these occasions, various types of amateur theatrical performances could include either religious or secular themes, and processions of people also brought offerings to the Cathedral along the streets. Even if these spectacles were not ordered by the dukes, they could be opportunities for some notable citizens or members of the court to flaunt their wealth and status, entailing enormous expense, so they needed to be directed and well organized (Ventrone 2013: 237). More specifically, they provided creative opportunities for the artistic community interested in architecture and engaged with urban design.

Dynastic Ceremonies in the Last Decade of the Sforza Era

With regard to events related to the Sforza dukes, historians have mostly concentrated on private spectacles hosted within the court, such as banquets, sometimes accompanied by poetry and musical performances, or jousts (Ventrone 2013: 277): an example is the celebrated and heavily studied Festa del Paradiso performed under the direction of Leonardo da Vinci in 1490 (Ventrone 2013: 267–282). However, if we look at occasions for which the dukes and the court went outside the ducal residences to impress the population, exploiting celebrations for important dynastic and political events, little has been well investigated. An exception is the ephemeral apparatus and ceremony for the wedding of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella d’Aragona on 2 February 1489, thanks to a series of contemporary literary sources (Schofield 1988; Schofield 2011–2012; Passera 2017; Passera 2020a),1 and some episodes from the age of duke Francesco Sforza have been covered by Claudio Passera’s studies (Passera 2022).2 The so-called age of Ludovico il Moro — the last two decades of the 15th century — and in particular the years preceding his investiture as the duke in 1495 instead of his nephew Gian Galeazzo, reveal the attention Ludovico dedicated to these spectacles in order to increase his personal power and gain the favour of the citizens.

Even if these events were ephemeral, the written sources describing them are sometimes very precise. The rich series of letters of ambassadors living in the court of Milan, sent to their own princes, include a large amount of information about the events; usually the best informed was Giacomo Trotti from Ferrara. The temporary legal decrees proclaimed on the piazza of the Commune of Milan also contain useful information about special events in the city. Special decrees were frequently announced to the citizens to ensure that the city would be presentable on particular days.3 For example, when, in November 1487, the ambassador of the King of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, came to Milan — in the name of John Corvinus, son of the king, who was betrothed to Bianca Sforza, the sister of the duke Gian Galeazzo (negotiation then abandoned) — there were special gride, or announcements, declaring that all citizens must clean the street in front of their houses, get rid of all the rubbish and mud, and remove all possible obstacles along the streets along which the ambassador would pass (market stalls, for example).4 Usually, the punishment for transgressors was quite severe, comprising pecuniary penalties up to ten florins, at the time a great amount of money, or the payment of all works necessary for any repairs (La Rosa 1983: 75; Gritti 2020a: 49).

Three occasions that are better documented than others allow us to understand the process of creation behind these events: first, the wedding of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella d’Aragona in 1489 (Schofield 1988); second, the baptism of their first son, Francesco, in 1492 (Gritti 2020b); and third, the ceremony for the investiture of Ludovico Maria Sforza as duke in 1495 (Mulas 1994). The common characteristic of these events is that they involved the court moving from the Castle of Porta Giovia, the residence of the dukes at that time, to the Cathedral or the space in front of it, which had been enlarged and modified during the Sforza age, even if it was not yet what we call a proper square (Gritti and Repishti 2016–2017: 31–35). The celebration was accompanied by a schedule of events organized across several days.

The documents enable us to define the exact itinerary through the streets as well as which ephemeral structures and decorations were in common use by the Sforza. It seems clear that the way through the city centre was always the same, even if today it is difficult to clarify exactly which streets were involved because of the great changes in the centre of Milan, mainly from the 19th century (Gritti 2020a: 51–54). There are no relevant maps or graphic sources from the 15th century, and the oldest map of Milan is that made by Giovanni Battista Clarici around 1580 (Mara 2020: 185–190) (Figure 1). Galeazzo Maria Sforza decided to move the court from the ancient ducal palace flanking the Cathedral to the Castle in 1467, but the area neighbouring the Piazza dei Mercanti and the Cathedral was still perceived by the citizens as the proper centre and economic heart of the city, since markets took place there. In fact, more or less at the midpoint between the new residence of the dukes and the Duomo was the ancient civic centre of Milan, the palace of the medieval Commune which still existed and fulfilled its role in the practical administration of the city. It is no surprise that when Ludovico Sforza turned his attention to enhancing the elegance and magnificence of Milan with interventions dedicated to ensure order in the streets, the regularity of the façades, and new ideas for squares, his efforts were concentrated in that area; what is more, he encouraged private citizens to enact architectural intervention in the name of the decor of the city (Gritti 2020a: 49–51).

Figure 1
Figure 1

Giovanni Battista Clarici, Plan of Milan, 1580, detail. Roma, Accademia di San Luca. The grey circles identify the ducal court in the Castle of Porta Giovia, the broletto and the square in front of the Cathedral, and the old ducal palace (the so-called Corte Vecchia).

From the descriptions of the wedding of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella d’Aragona we can deduce that, starting from the castle, the procession’s route ended at the contrada degli Orefici on the southern side of the Broletto square (Gritti 2020a: 52–53, n45–47). There is no precise information about which streets were chosen, but on the occasion of the baptism of baby Francesco, in 1492, Giacomo Trotti writes that in this area the streets were very narrow, so that the men and horses could not keep together during the procession (Gritti 2020a: 54).5 We can imagine two possible routes, one passing through the current via Camperio and via Meravigli, just in front of the Castle, or one running through part of the present-day via Broletto, which was then called the contrada Solata. Thanks to some graphic sources dating from the first half of the 16th century, the route from the contrada degli Orefici to the Duomo is easier to identify. The whole area is represented in a plan by Vincenzo Seregni related to the design process of the Cathedral (Gritti 2012) (Figure 2): all the blocks around the Duomo are visible and also the names of the streets. The procession would probably have followed the simpler and wider route, passing very close to one side of the ancient ducal palace and entering the piazza del Duomo from the southwest. The procession, the itinerary suggests, would have included the three centres of political power in the city, starting from the residence of the dukes, then flanking the civic seat of the Commune, touching the so-called Corte Vecchia (old court), which was still the site of important administrative offices and some of the councils of the duke, and finally reaching the Cathedral.

Figure 2
Figure 2

Plan of the Cathedral of Milan and Surrounding Buildings, 1558–1567. Archivio Storico Civico di Milano e Biblioteca Trivulziana, Raccolta Bianconi, II, f. 2r. © Comune di Milano. Tutti i diritti di legge riservati.

Following a custom widely practiced in the second half of the 15th century, the route between the Castle and the Cathedral was completely decorated for the celebration of special events. In particular, the streets could be covered with foliage, the façades of houses decorated with drapes and tapestries, and, sometimes, the spaces over the streets bedecked with drapery. The procession involved a series of men and women of the court whose order of appearance, movements and gestures were carefully prepared (Passera 2020a: 117 and passim). As we have seen, in 1492, during the baptism of the son of the duke and the duchess, the parents did not take part in the ceremony and the baby was taken to the Duomo by his godfather, Ludovico Sforza. The curious arrangement meant that Ludovico could ride alone at the head of the procession, flanked only by Giacomo Trotti, while all the other members of the court came after them. This can be considered a powerful symbol of Ludovico’s political influence, since he was not technically duke at that time and the most important position had to be given to the baby prince.

Other spectacles took place in the neighbouring streets, such as dance performances, which could also include ordinary citizens. For example, on the occasion of the baptism of 1492, people dressed “ala moresca” and “feste de mori” filled all the streets around the area. These were probably choreographed performances with dresses and accessories based on the so-called Moresque dance, which was very common in Italian Renaissance courts and simulated the fighting between Christians and Moors: the dance became particularly famous in Milan during the age of Ludovico Sforza, because of the assonance with his nickname, the Moor (Moro) (Pontremoli and La Rocca 1987: 231). Giacomo Trotti also writes that many citizens shouted ‘Moro Moro’ during the procession: we do not know if this was a spontaneous reaction to the passage of Ludovico Sforza or if these cries were organized in advance, as other similar occasions seem to suggest, such as the ceremony for the arrival of Federico d’Aragona in 1475, described by the Gonzagas’ ambassador (Battioni 2008: 86).

These events occasioned the construction of ephemeral structures in public spaces, thereby presenting opportunities for architects and other artists to work together and devise large-scale ensembles that would be difficult to build except in wood. These should be understood as an integral part of the celebrations, along with the procession itself, and its timing, and also along with dances and spectacles. The designer of the event was the director, who had to consider all its different aspects, as we can see from the famous letter that involved Donato Bramante, who had been summoned for ideas for the celebration of the baptism in 1492.6 In this letter, Bramante shows he had to evaluate carefully all the problems related with the event, including the timing and the people involved, and not just the architectural or artistic aspects. Considering the complexity of these ceremonies, it is not surprising that ‘ideas-men’ like Bramante or Leonardo were interested in them and employed by the Sforza on some of these occasions, even if we are not able to be precise about their roles. Indeed, in some respects, these events could have served as a sort of laboratory for the temporary re-designing of the centre of Milan, because they offered a splendid opportunity for testing the urban arrangement of the city centre and trying out new urbanistic solutions.

The Tribunale

One of the most typical architectural structures realised for these ceremonies, and often underestimated by scholars — who are usually more interested in stage-sets — was the so-called tribunale. The word is taken directly from documents of the period and indicates tribunes on which the dukes and the guests could sit in full view of the citizens. Simple wooden tribunali were used as furniture in important rooms in the ducal palaces and could be enriched with other elements, such as the capocieli (canopies); usually the tribunali were decorated with drapery and supplied with carpets and tapestries. Sometimes these furnishings, when precious, were also moved from one residence to another for special occasions (Gritti and Repishti in press). Obviously, some of these structures were simply functional, because seats had to be provided for members of the court and visitors, but in other cases, especially when in public spaces, they could assume particular forms and structures. The location of these tribunali and their decoration could be quite varied and might include different symbols and meanings related to the display of ducal power.

One of these tribunali is illustrated on the illuminated front page of the Messale Arcimboldi (Romano 2006–2007) (Figure 3). This image illustrates precisely the ceremony of the investiture of Ludovico Maria Sforza as duke on 26 May 1495 (Mulas 1994): he and other members of the court are identifiable within the structure, located in the piazza del Duomo. The wooden structure’s ceiling is supported by pillars spaced so as to enable people to see what was happening inside. There were tribunes enriched with precious draperies and, in this case, the ducal treasure is visible on a credenza — a large sideboard or cupboard — in the back wall. The architectural features of the tribunale are perfectly consistent with the architectural vocabulary prevalent in Milan in 1495: the pillars have shafts with candelabra decorations, and the attic bases and capitals match the varietas of the then current S-volute type. Moreover, the foreground pedestals are decorated with clypei with profiles, in the style of those containing emperors’ profiles very common at that time, and in the entablature, the architrave presents only two steps, an uncommon detail elsewhere, but already used in Milan after the 1480s (Schofield 2001: 54). A similar structure in the form of a baldachin is visible in the so-called Calagrani altarpiece by Ambrogio Bergognone (for the painting, see Albertario 2019) (Figure 4), and a similar composition forms the basis of the fictive architecture of the walls of the transepts of the Certosa in Pavia (for these frescos see Bruschi 1969: 781–782; Giordano 1998: 51–53; Schofield 2016: 14) (Figure 5). The frescos in the Certosa are again by Ambrogio Bergognone, but scholars debate whether Bramante participated in the design of the fictive architecture. It is no coincidence that the illuminated page of the Messale Arcimboldi has been associated with the workshop of Ambrogio Bergognone by Romano (2006–2007).

Figure 3
Figure 3

Ducal Investiture of Ludovico Maria Sforza, front page of the Messale Arcimboldi. Milano, Biblioteca e Archivio del Capitolo Metropolitano, ms. II-D-01-013, f. 1r. © Biblioteca e Archivio del Capitolo Metropolitano di Milano.

Figure 4
Figure 4

Ambrogio da Fossano called Bergognone, Sacra conversazione, tempera and oil on panel; Milano, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. ©Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana/Mondadori Portfolio.

Figure 5
Figure 5

Ambrogio da Fossano called Bergognone, Painted Architecture, fresco; Certosa di Pavia, transept.

As regards the tribunale built for the baptism of Francesco, son of Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Giacomo Trotti stressed that it was much longer than any other he had seen and particularly that it was entirely covered by foliage and stucco reliefs with the Labours of Hercules.7 Trotti gives no information about the colours or any of the painted decorations, but the presence of stucco sculptural reliefs with mythological subjects constitutes a strong reference to the antique world. The covering of this tribunale with foliage suggests an arboreal pavilion rather than a traditional tribune. Two other famous cases of decoration simulating arboreal pavilions existed in Milan in the 1480s and 1490s: one, probably suggested by Bramante, was in the house of Gaspare Ambrogio Visconti, and the other was the Sala delle Asse in the Castello Sforzesco by Leonardo da Vinci, which is somewhat later (for this one, see Schofield 1995: 113). During the baptism, another tribunale was built in the Cathedral, under the tiburio, for the official rite (Gritti 2020b: 41, document no. 24 on p. 50).

Certainly, the complex organisation of these events was an extraordinary opportunity for architects, painters, sculptors, and other artists to work together, one that stimulated not only collaborations but also cultural exchanges and the dissemination of architectural inventions and innovations among the artists. To better understand such relations, one would have to establish how architecture was perceived by personalities who were not architects or engineers and to assess their role as cultural vehicles. This point is particularly difficult to demonstrate, but at least one example, strictly connected with the aforementioned baptism, offers proof of the presence of the same artists both in important building sites of the time and in the decoration of ephemeral structures. Some documents testify that on this occasion the central nave of the Cathedral was decorated with drapery and with angels’ heads painted on cardboard by the painter Giovan Pietro Rizzi.8 These kinds of angels were quite common in the Quattrocento, but today very few examples survive. None survive in Milan, but some 15th-century Florentine examples give us an idea of what they looked like: silhouettes painted on both sides and with a small hole at the top so that they can be hung from hooks (Morandi 1992; Pittiglio 2007). The relevant detail in this context is the presence of the painter Giovan Pietro Rizzi, whose activity for the Cathedral is connected with decorations of paper or cardboard in several other instances (Gritti 2020b: 41), but who is above all documented as fresco painter in the parish church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro (Shell 1995: 26 and note 37, and document no. 8 on pp. 207–208; Buganza 2017: 389–390, 404n21–22), very well known as one of the most important designs by Bramante in Lombardy.

Triumphal Arches, Tiburi and Porticoes

Other types of ephemeral apparatus are better studied, especially those for the wedding of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella d’Aragona: porticos made with juniper columns and triumphal arches located along the itinerary and, finally, the well-known wooden tiburio built in front of the main door of the Duomo. Triumphal arches were popular for these occasions (Passera 2020a: 129–130) because they gave a strong suggestion of ancient triumphs or, when located near squares, an idea of ancient forums with triumphal entrances. In the duchy of Milan, we find some examples of such arches used not just for ephemeral structures, but also for permanent architecture involving different artistic media. For example, in the new Piazza Ducale in Vigevano, promoted by Ludovico Sforza between 1492 and 1494, the built portico is decorated with painted triumphal arches, which mark the entrances to the square from the main streets of the city (Schofield 1992–1993: 161–165) (Figure 6).

Figure 6
Figure 6

Vigevano, Piazza Ducale, painted triumphal arch.

An important precedent is the triumphal arch designed in honour of the ducal couple, Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti, commissioned in 1454 from Antonio Averlino called Filarete, which was to be located in the central square of Cremona (Della Torre 1981: 14–18; Visioli 2005: 49–60). This arch was never built, but we know that Ludovico Maria Sforza was particularly interested in celebrating the fame and image of his father, the first Sforza duke. For this reason, he wanted to place the equestrian bronze monument designed by Leonardo on a great new town square he began building in 1492 in front of the Castle in Milan. With regard to this square, Venanzio De Pagave, an 18th-century writer who sometimes used original documents, writes: ‘Ludovico ordered a wooden triumphal arch on the square of the Castle, like those of the Romans, and we have well-founded reasons to think that it was realized after a design by Bramante’ (Patetta 1987: 415–416). It seems that part of Ludovico’s plans for Milan was to turn this square in front of the Castle into a new civic centre, very near to the then residence of the dukes, providing an alternative to the traditional civic spaces of the city (Schofield 1992–1993: 157–159; see also Rossetti 2020: 66–69) (Figure 7). Nevertheless, this source and other documents collected by Richard Schofield, such as a description of the mock battle held there on 14 February 1499 (Schofield 1992–1993: 159), confirm that a playful use of the public spaces for spectacles, jousts, and ceremonies remained a crucial part of ducal policy, even in those squares in which Ludovico’s new urban designs were not yet completed. After all, if one does not have the time or finances to build real spaces and structures, readily constructed ephemeral tribunali and triumphal arches, combined with social performances like jousts and striking costumes, could be quick and effective demonstrations of power. More specifically, it is possible that ephemeral apparatuses were even preferable to real structures, because the speed with which they could be realised and the sometimes relatively limited costs compared to those necessary for a permanent building offered a welcome flexibility to explore new solutions at every turn.

Figure 7
Figure 7

Leonardo da Vinci, Plan of the Square in Front of the Castle of Porta Giovia in Milan. Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Codex Atlanticus, f. 260r, detail. ©Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana/Metis e Mida Informatica/Mondadori Portfolio.


Today it is difficult to assess precisely the impact that ephemeral structures could have had on contemporary architectural culture, primarily because the sources about the events here described are mostly written ones, with very few visual representations that can be analyzed. Nevertheless, the great number of descriptions, written by humanists or witnesses, of events, whose political importance was manifest, suggests that patrons, artists, and also simple citizens were very familiar with these apparatuses. Besides foliage, tapestries, and veils used to decorate houses and streets — very common at the time and frequently reused on different occasions — the tribunali were designed and realised ad hoc each time for two clear reasons: first, because their arrangement had to fit specific urban contexts, the individual phases of the ceremony, and the number of people and objects involved, either as part of the ceremony or purely for display; and second, because the tribunale was clearly the space chosen for the staging of the most important act of each ceremony, and it could include symbolic decorations or an iconographical programme articulating political or cultural aspects of the Sforza’s image. Contemporary onlookers were well aware of this, and it is unsurprising that written accounts focus on the description of the tribunale. But these structures fascinated artists too: Leonardo da Vinci drew sketches of the tiburio constructed for the wedding of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella of Aragona in 1489 (Schofield 2011–2012: 81–82), suggesting that these ephemeral structures fostered new local architectural ideas across painting, sculpture and built architecture.


  1. Italy is the only country in which printed descriptions of princely weddings were published during the 15th century; the existence of such a genre testifies to the social and political importance of these events (Passera 2020b: 123–124). [^]
  2. I am grateful to Claudio Passera who showed me in advance the results of his research – which focuses, among other things, on the triumphal entry of Francesco Sforza in Milan in 1450. [^]
  3. The results of my research into the laws and decrees which regulated the public urban interventions in Milan are available on the website La città del duca: Milano 1450–1499, This site places primary sources at the disposal of the scientific community and result from the research project The Duke’s City. The Politic of Images in Sforza Milan, sponsored by the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies of the Politecnico di Milano, directed by Francesco Repishti and coordinated by Jessica Gritti. [^]
  4. ‘MCCCCLXXXVII die XVIIII novembris. Dovendosi dì proxima per lo reverendissimo monsignore veschovo Varadino in nomine del illustrissimo fiolo unigenito del serenissimo re de Ungaria celebrare le sponsalitie de la illustrissima madona Biancha sorella del nostro illustrissimo et excellentissimo signore duca de Milano et havendo el prelibato monsignore ad transferirse in molti lochi per questa inclita cità aciò che più expedite siano le vie, et anche per più ornamento di questa excelsa citade. E però per parte del spectabile et egregio domino Bartholameo de la Cruce ducale iudice de le strate ponti et aque de la citade et ducato de Milano in executione de littere del prelibato illustrissimo signore nostro signate B. Chalcus. Questa publica crida e bando che cadune persone de quale conditione o stato volia se sia nel termino de duo giorno proximo habino spazati et exportati li terrazi, fanghi, et ogni inmonditia devante ale loro caxe et remosso ogni obstaculo et non ardiscano né presumano mandare aqua alcuna per li loro viali ne le strate per quanto hano a caro la gratia del prefato illustrissimo signore nostro et ulterius sotto la penna se contene ne li ordini e decreti ducali sopra ciò. Avisando caduna persona che contrafarà o sarà inobediente se procederà con la executione reale et personale et non se haverà rispecto ad alcuno. Signatum Bartholameus. Cridatum ad scallas pallatii novi comunis Mediolani per Nicolam de Castello preconem comunis Mediolani die suprascripto lune XVIIII mensis novembris sono tube premisso’ (19 November 1487; Archivio di Stato di Milano, Registri degli atti sovrani, 22, ff. 591–592; see also the website, [^]
  5. ‘Era dal uno canto et da l’altro, de la piaza del Castello in belle squadre, cum grande ordine, li balestreri a cavallo, li stradiotti, li mamaluchi, cum altri cavalli legieri, vestiti a diverse liveree de veluti et sete de vari colori. Haveva intorno il signor Ludovico circha ducento provisionati in andare et ritornare dal baptesimo et non volse veruno ambassadore cum lui, se non io, perché l’altra brigata se ne veniva seperata et lontana, perché la strata per la quale se andava et veniva dal Domo al Castello, non gli poteva capere ad uno tracto tanta moltitudine de persone et de cavalli. Tuta la terra et fanti a pedi et a cavallo et cittadini cridavano “Moro Moro” et gli furono molti vestiti ala morescha et facte alchune feste per le strate de mori, che fo veramente uno dignissimo et ornatissimo spectaculo’ (12 June 1492, Milan; Archivio di Stato di Modena, Carteggio Ambasciatori, Milano, 7, ff. 141–142; a complete transcription in document no. 24 in Gritti 2020b: 50). [^]
  6. This famous letter (15 May 1492, Milan, Archivio di Stato di Milano, Autografi, 98, 16) was first noticed by Michele Caffi (1871: 329), then again by Francesco Malaguzzi Valeri (1915: 132); published in full by Luisa Giordano (1995: 21n5) and by Francesco Repishti (2016: 207–208); recent discussion in Gritti 2020b: 35–37, of document no. 12 on p. 45. [^]
  7. ‘S’è facto uno tribunale in piaza, il terzo più longo che non fo quello che se fece quando la duchessa de Barri venne a marito, lavorato et coperto da diverse verdure et dentro ornato de belle tapezarie, et dal canto de fora erano tute le fatiche de hercule in giesso de relevo et alchune altre figure varie’ (12 June 1492, Milan, Archivio di Stato di Modena, Carteggio Ambasciatori, Milano, 7, ff. 141–142; full transcription of the letter in document no. 24 in Gritti 2020b: 50). [^]
  8. Three payments from the registers of the Archivio della Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano concern the ceremony of the baptism: 27 June 1492, AVFDMi, Liber mandatorum, 677 (1491–1492), f. 75v (was 72v); 28 June 1492, AVFDMi, Liber mandatorum, 677 (1491–1492), f. 76r (was 73r); 1 July 1492, AVFDMi, Giornale di cassa, 843, f. 63r; a complete edition of the documents, numbers 27 to 29, is in Gritti 2020b: 51–52. An example of the payments: ‘Die XXVIIII Iunii. Mandato ut supra det thesaurarius suprascriptus Johannipetro de Rixiis pictori libras tredecim soldos duos et denarios sex imperialium pro eius solutione cherubinorum et seraphinorum trecentum quinquaginta per ipsum Johannempetrum factorum in cartonis positis in ornamento circha drapos extensos in nave de medio videlicet a tuburio usque ad altare domine Sancte Marie in medio ecclesie tempore solempnitatis baptisimi filii illustrissimi domini ducis Mediolani qui baptizatus fuit die festi Pentecostes celebrati decima die suprascriptis mensis Iunii ut patet lista una per eum Johannempetrum producta visa per duos negotiorum gestores prefate fabrice infilata in fillo diversorum anni presentis’. [^]

Competing Interests

The author has no competing interests to declare.


Albertario, M. 2019. Francesco Eustachi e la pala di Sant’Epifanio. Ipotesi per un committente pavese di Bergognone. In: Mulas, PL (ed.), Laboratorio. Attualità delle ricerche sulla storia dell’arte a Pavia e in Certosa, 219–229. Milano: Scalpendi.

Battioni, G. (ed.) 2008. Carteggio degli oratori mantovani alla corte sforzesca (1450–1500). Roma: Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali — Direzione generale degli archivi.

Bruschi, A. 1969. Bramante architetto. Bari: Editori Laterza.

Buganza, S. 2017. Proposte per la ricostruzione dell’attività di Pietro da Velate, pittore e maestro vetraio. In: Natale, M (ed.), Bramantino e le arti nella Lombardia francese (1499–1525), Atti del convegno (Lugano/Milano, 6–7 November 2014), 387–414. Milano: Skira.

Caffi, M. 1871. Review of ‘I capi d’arte di Bramante d’Urbino nel Milanese, memorie storico-artistiche raccolte per cura del Dott. C.C.’. Archivio Storico Italiano, III, XIII, 62: 329.

Covini, MN. 2001. Feste e cerimonie milanesi tra città e corte. Appunti dai carteggi mantovani. Ludica. Annali di storia e civiltà del gioco, 7: 122–150.

Della Torre, S. 1981. Artisti toscani a Cremona nel Quattrocento: Domenico da Firenze e il Filarete. Cremona, 2: 14–18.

La Rosa, M. 1983. Realtà e immagine della città di Ludovico il Moro. In: Ludovico il Moro. La sua città e la sua corte (1480–1499), 67–84. Como: NODO.

Giordano, L. 1995. Carattere e stile di una committenza. In: Giordano, L (ed.) Ludovicus dux, 18–22. Vigevano: Diakronia.

Giordano, L. 1998. Duchi, priori, artisti: la dinamica delle commissioni alla Certosa di Pavia. In: Sciolla, GC (ed.), Ambrogio da Fossano detto il Bergognone. Un pittore per la Certosa, 47–53. Milano: Skira.

Gritti, J. 2012. Disegnio della pianta della chiesa del domo di Milano con la piaza et Campo santo. In: Repishti, F (ed.), Corpus dei disegni di architettura del Duomo di Milano. Politecnico di Milano. Available at [last accessed 2 February 2022].

Gritti, J. 2020a. Legislazione e decoro urbano nella Milano di Ludovico Maria Sforza. In: Repishti, F (ed.), Leonardo e la città ducale, Roma, Atti del convegno (Politecnico di Milano, 16 October 2019), 41–58. Roma: Officina Edizioni.

Gritti, J. 2020b. Donato Bramante e il battesimo di Francesco Sforza conte di Pavia. Arte Lombarda, 188: 32–52.

Gritti, J, and Repishti, F. 2016–2017. Francesco Sforza e il palazzo ducale di Milano. Libri & Documenti, 42–43: 27–57.

Gritti, J, and Repishti, F. In press. The Sforzas and the Palazzo Ducale of Milan between Filarete and Leonardo. Leonardo Studies, 3.

Malaguzzi Valeri, F. 1915. La corte di Lodovico il Moro. II. Bramante e Leonardo da Vinci. Milano: Hoepli.

Mara, S. 2020. Arte e scienza tra Urbino e Milano: pittura, cartografia e ingegneria nell’opera di Giovanni Battista Clarici (1542–1602). Padova: Il Poligrafo.

Morandi, C. 1992. Maestro di Signa. Angelo reggicandelabro. In: Ventrone, P (ed.), Le tems revient, ‘l tempo si rinuova. Feste e spettacoli nella Firenze di Lorenzo il Magnifico. Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana editoriale. pp. 2013–2014 entry 5.7.

Mulas, PL. 1994. Cum aparatu ac triumpho quo pagina in hac licet aspicere. L’investitura ducale di Ludovico Sforza, il messale Arcimboldi: problematiche e spunti di riflessione. Artes, 2: 5–38.

Passera, C. 2017. Un incunabolo per lo sposalizio di Isabella d’Aragona: Le Nuptiae illustrissimi ducis Mediolani di Stefano Dolcino (1489). Drammaturgia, 4: 305–326.

Passera, C. 2020a. ‘In questo picolo libretto’: Descrizioni di feste e di spettacoli per le nozze dei signori italiani del Rinascimento. Firenze: Firenze University Press. DOI:

Passera, C. 2020b. L’editoria al servizio del principe: la città in festa negli incunaboli italiani per nozze. Medioevo e Rinascimento, 34(31): 123–156.

Passera, C. 2022. Feste e spettacoli nell’età di Francesco I Sforza. Notizie dai libri della biblioteca del castello di Pavia. Interpres, 40: 91–159.

Patetta, L. 1987. L’architettura del Quattrocento a Milano. Milano: Città Studi Edizioni.

Pittiglio, G. 2007. Gli angeli di cartapesta del Museo Nazionale del Palazzo di Venezia: funzione, contesto e vicende attributive. In: Sconci, MS (ed.), Gli angeli alla corte dei Medici. Fragili apparati scenici per le grandi feste popolari, 9–14. Roma: Quintilia Edizioni.

Pontremoli, A, and La Rocca, P. 1987. Il ballare lombardo: Teoria e prassi coreutica nella festa di corte del XV secolo. Milano: Vita e Pensiero.

Romano, C. 2006–2007. Matteo da Milano e il messale Arcimboldi: Problematiche e spunti di riflessione. Libri & documenti, 33: 9–33.

Repishti, F. 2016. Bramante in Lombardia: regesto delle fonti. Arte Lombarda, 176–177: 197–218.

Rossetti, E. 2020. ‘Anche non havessimo rasone che la lassino a nuy’: Tra confische, acquisti e donazioni: un bilancio della politica immobiliare di Ludovico il Moro. In: Repishti, F (ed.), Leonardo e la città ducale, Roma, Atti del convegno (Politecnico di Milano, 16 October 2019), 59–76. Roma: Officina Edizioni.

Shell, J. 1995. Pittori in bottega. Milano nel Rinascimento. Torino: Umberto Allemandi & C.

Schofield, R. 1988. A Humanist Description of the Architecture for the Wedding of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella d’Aragona (1489). Papers of the British School at Rome, 56: 213–240. DOI:

Schofield, R. 1992–1993. Ludovico il Moro’s Piazzas. New Sources and Observations. Annali di architettura, 4–5: 157–167.

Schofield, R. 1995. Gaspare Visconti, mecenate del Bramante. In: Esch, A, and Frommel, CL (eds.), Arte, committenza ed economia a Roma e nelle corti del Rinascimento (1420–1530), Atti del convegno (Roma, 24–27 October 1990), 297–330. Torino: Einaudi.

Schofield, R. 2001. Bramante e un rinascimento locale all’antica. In: Di Teodoro, FP (ed.) Donato Bramante: ricerche, proposte, riletture, 47–81. Urbino: Accademia Raffaello.

Schofield, R. 2011–2012. L’architettura temporanea costruita per il matrimonio di Gian Galeazzo Sforza e Isabella d’Aragona (1489). Quaderni dell’Istituto di Storia dell’Architettura, 57–59: 77–85.

Schofield, R. 2016. Bramante milanese: collisioni di culture architettoniche? Arte Lombarda, 176–177: 7–15.

Tissoni Benvenuti, A. 1983. Il teatro volgare della Milano sforzesca. In: Milano nell’età di Ludovico il Moro, Atti del convegno (Milano, 28 February–4 March 1983), 333–351. Milano: Comune di Milano and Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana.

Ventrone, P. 2013. Modelli ideologici e culturali nel teatro milanese di età viscontea e sforzesca. Studia Borromaica, 27: 247–282.

Visioli, M. 2005. Le piazze maggiori di Cremona in età sforzesca: Platea Maior e Platea Domini Capitanei. Cremona: Edizioni Del Miglio.

Visioli, M. 2020. La città del duca: Milano nelle testimonianze storiografiche e letterarie dell’età di Ludovico Maria Sforza. In: Repishti, F (ed.), Leonardo e la città ducale, Roma, Atti del convegno (Politecnico di Milano, 16 October 2019), 31–40. Roma: Officina Edizioni.