A Renaissance Arquitecture of Power: Princely Palaces in the Italian Quattrocento 2016002674, 2016015399, 9789004243613, 9789004315501

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A Renaissance Arquitecture of Power: Princely Palaces in the Italian Quattrocento
 2016002674, 2016015399, 9789004243613, 9789004315501

Table of contents :
A Renaissance Architecture of Power:
Princely Palaces in the Italian Quattrocento
Copyright
Contents
Foreword
List of Figures
PART 1: Comparative Issues
1: Princes, Towns, Palaces: A Renaissance “Architecture of Power”
2: Medieval Vestiges in the Princely Architecture of the 15th Century
3: The Princely Palace in 15th-Century Italian Architectural Theory
4: Palaces and Palatine Chapels in 15th-Century Italian Dukedoms: Ideas and Experiences
PART 2: Case Studies
5: “Combining the Old and the New”: The Princely Residences of the Marquises of Saluzzo in the 15th Century
6: The Sforza Castle of Milan (1450–1499)
7: Patrician Residences and the Palaces of the Marquis of Mantua (1459–1524)
8: The Renewal of Ferrara’s Court Palace under Ercole I d’Este (1471–1505)
9: Architecture of Power: Imola during the Signoria of Girolamo Riario (1473–1488)
10: “Small Mice, Large Palaces”: From Urbino to Carpi
11: The Medici Palace, Cosimo the Elder, and Michelozzo: A Historiographical Survey
12: The Palace of Nicholas v: Continuity and Innovation in the Vatican Palaces
13: Alfonso I of Naples and the Art of Building: Castel Nuovo in a European Context
14: The Residences of the Kings of Sicily, from Martin of Aragon to Ferdinand the Catholic
Bibliography
Index of Manuscripts
Index of Names
Index of Places

Citation preview

A Renaissance Architecture of Power

The Medieval Mediterranean Peoples, Economies and Cultures, 400–1500

Managing Editor Frances Andrews (St. Andrews) Editors Tamar Herzig (Tel Aviv) Paul Magdalino (Koç University, Istanbul) Larry J. Simon (Western Michigan University) Daniel Lord Smail (Harvard University) Jo Van Steenbergen (Ghent University) Advisory Board David Abulafia (Cambridge) Benjamin Arbel (Tel Aviv) Hugh Kennedy (SOAS, London)

Volume 104

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/mmed



A Renaissance Architecture of Power Princely Palaces in the Italian Quattrocento Edited by

Silvia Beltramo Flavia Cantatore Marco Folin

LEIDEN | BOSTON

 Cover illustration: Detail of the Triumphal Arch at Castel Nuovo, Naples. ©Photograph by Marco Folin. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Beltramo, Silvia. | Cantatore, Flavia. | Folin, Marco. Title: A Renaissance architecture of power : princely palaces in the Italian  Quattrocento / edited by Silvia Beltramo, Flavia Cantatore, Marco Falin. Description: Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2016. | Series: The medieval  Mediterranean : peoples, economies and cultures, 400-1500, ISSN 0928-5520  ; volume 104 | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016002674 (print) | LCCN 2016015399 (ebook) | ISBN  9789004243613 (hardback : acid-free paper) | ISBN 9789004315501 (e-book) |  ISBN 9789004315501 (E-book) Subjects: LCSH: Architecture, Renaissance--Italy--History. | Architecture and  state--Italy--History--To 1500. | Architecture and  state--Italy--History--16th century. | Power (Social  sciences)--Italy--History. | Princes--Dwellings--Italy--History. |  Palaces--Italy--History. | Italy--Kings and rulers--Dwellings--History. |  Renaissance--Italy. | Italy--Politics and government--1268-1559. |  Italy--History, Local. Classification: LCC NA1115 .R395 2016 (print) | LCC NA1115 (ebook) | DDC  720.945/09024--dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016002674 Want or need Open Access? Brill Open offers you the choice to make your research freely accessible online in exchange for a publication charge. Review your various options on brill.com/brill-open. Typeface for the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts: “Brill”. See and download: brill.com/brill-typeface. issn 0928-5520 isbn 978-90-04-24361-3 (hardback) isbn 978-90-04-31550-1 (e-book) Copyright 2015 by Koninklijke Brill nv, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill nv incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi and Hotei Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill nv provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, ma 01923, usa. Fees are subject to change. This book is printed on acid-free paper and produced in a sustainable manner.

Contents Foreword vii List of Figures x

PART 1 Comparative Issues 1 Princes, Towns, Palaces: A Renaissance “Architecture of Power” 3 Marco Folin 2 Medieval Vestiges in the Princely Architecture of the 15th Century 28 Silvia Beltramo 3 The Princely Palace in 15th-Century Italian Architectural Theory 53 Flavia Cantatore 4 Palaces and Palatine Chapels in 15th-Century Italian Dukedoms: Ideas and Experiences 82 Andrea Longhi

PART 2 Case Studies 5 “Combining the Old and the New”: The Princely Residences of the Marquises of Saluzzo in the 15th Century 107 Silvia Beltramo 6 The Sforza Castle of Milan (1450–1499) 134 Aurora Scotti 7 Patrician Residences and the Palaces of the Marquis of Mantua (1459–1524) 163 Giulio Girondi 8 The Renewal of Ferrara’s Court Palace under Ercole i d’Este (1471–1505) 187 Marco Folin

vi

Contents

9

Architecture of Power: Imola during the Signoria of Girolamo Riario (1473–1488) 216 Stefano Zaggia

10

“Small Mice, Large Palaces”: From Urbino to Carpi 235 Elena Svalduz

11

The Medici Palace, Cosimo the Elder, and Michelozzo: A Historiographical Survey 263 Emanuela Ferretti

12

The Palace of Nicholas v: Continuity and Innovation in the Vatican Palaces 290 Flavia Cantatore

13 Alfonso i of Naples and the Art of Building: Castel Nuovo in a European Context 320 Bianca de Divitiis 14

The Residences of the Kings of Sicily, from Martin of Aragon to Ferdinand the Catholic 354 Marco Rosario Nobile

Bibliography 379 Index of Manuscripts 440 Index of Names 442 Index of Places 461

Foreword Silvia Beltramo, Flavia Cantatore and Marco Folin Throughout Italy, as in the rest of Europe, rulers in early modern times seem to have considered the construction or renovation of their dwellings as the cornerstone of their strategies for achieving magnificence, entrusting the greatest artists of the time with the task of giving architectural form to the new ideas of power that gained ground in the early modern period. Indeed, the issue of a sovereign’s palace – already discussed in contemporary treatises, starting with Leon Battista Alberti’s De re aedificatoria – has always been central to the interests of historians of Renaissance architecture (and culture) as one of the key episodes of the renewal of the architectural language and urban form. It is therefore a well-established topic, which has produced a great number of monographs on the best-known palaces. Nonetheless, Renaissance court palaces have not been addressed organically until now: that is to say, looking at their development over the course of time and from a comparative perspective, analysing their diverse courses of evolution in the different regions of Italy. The ambitious aim of this book is twofold: firstly, to contribute to fill this historiographical gap by pointing out several interesting aspects of one of the main architectural forms of the Renaissance, taking into account not only its artistic and cultural complexities but also its political and urban implications. Secondly, it aims to show the full potential of an approach to the history of architecture that is open to ideas derived from other disciplines, such as the ­history of institutions and court society as well as the history of political ideas and, more generally, early modern culture. Our starting point was the 56th Inter­ na­tional Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (Venice, 8–10 April 2010), which included a session organized by the authors of this Foreword entitled Princely Palaces in Renaissance Italy. A second opportunity for discussion was the session that we coordinated on the same subject within the 1st International Meeting of the European Architectural History Network (Guimaraes, 17–19 June 2010).1 These sessions provided a chance for debate, and subsequently other scholars with similar interests joined the forum. 1 The two sessions included the following papers: Silvia Beltramo (The Seignorial Mansions of the Saluzzo’s Marquis in XVth Century: The Castle of Saluzzo and the Palace of Revello), Flavia Cantatore (Between Continuity and Innovation: The Vatican Palace of Nicholas V), Bianca de Divitiis (Castelnuovo and Castel Capuano in Naples: The Transformation of Two Medieval Castles in “all’antica” Residences for the Aragonese Royals), Marco Folin (The Renewal of the

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Foreword

The first part of the book focuses on some general issues: the question of the slow consolidation of seigneurial powers in 15th-century Italy and the emergence of princely courts with their specific self-representation requirements; the problem of the gradual reorganization of old heterogeneous medieval structures into new buildings with a uniform appearance; the theoretical development of the “princely palace” (regia) category, which every type of dominant power (whether religious or secular) had to compete with over the centuries; and the circulation of some architectural models variously reinterpreted in different regions depending on the recommendations from treatises or, more often, local traditions. The ten chapters which make up the second part of this volume – which are arranged in a geographical sequence, from north to south – focus on a series of particularly significant examples chosen to broaden the research. Together with the best-known cases – Rome and Urbino, Mantua and Milan – there are others which, however interesting, have received less historiographical attention until now (Imola, Ferrara, Saluzzo, Carpi), and others which have been mostly overlooked, such as the royal residences built or renovated by the Kings of Naples and Sicily. The desire for a broader perspective explains the inclusion here of the princely palace dressed in ‘republican garb’ built by the Medici in Florence, where a very special kind of court was established, in some ways antagonistic to those of other contemporary Signori, but nevertheless part of the same political, cultural, and artistic world. Though the panorama that emerges from these case studies is far from homogeneous (not least, because of the different perspectives adopted by their respective authors), one basic element appears particularly evident: the need to abandon the old interpretative approach, which saw the development of 15thand 16th-century court architecture as a sort of ‘dissemination’ of the influence of a handful of avant-garde centres. Rather, the opposite is true: the chapters in this volume clearly reveal that the diffusion of the all’antica language in Italy was the result of an intense dialogue between the supporters of classicism on the one hand and the partisans of vernacular traditions on the other, each proud of their distinct identity. In fact, dialectical comparison and the coexistence of very heterogeneous regional processes and phenomena are a constant feature Ducal Palace in Ferrara under Ercole I d’Este, 1471–1505), Giulio Girondi (The Influence of the Model: The Court of Mantua and the Aristocratic Palaces of the Renaissance), Laura Lametti (The Palace of the Trinci Signori in Foligno, Umbria, about 1407–1430), Andrea Longhi (Chapels in 15th Century Palaces and the Idea of Palatine Chapel), Elena Svalduz (Small “Houses”, Large Palaces: Carpi and the Renaissance Courts), Stefano Zaggia (Urban Design and Architecture of Power in Imola during the Signoria of Girolamo Riario, 1473–1488). In Venice, the chair and discussant was Evelyn Welch.

Foreword

ix

of Italian architecture throughout the early modern period. Thus, during the 15th century, a short distance from one another, we see the coexistence of medieval prototypes on the one hand, such as the fortress, and new models, such as princely country residences, on the other; one the one hand, compact, geometrically coherent palaces designed ex novo, and on the other, heterogeneous groups of buildings that arose over the centuries without any sense of order; buildings situated in the middle of squares, roads, parks, and gardens, and at times nestled within a dense medieval network; dwellings often distinguished by an entire symbolic apparatus intended to aggrandize their inhabitants, but sometimes also displaying the commercial activities that – less ‘nobly’ – princes continued to carry on within those palaces. As a matter of fact, the solutions differed greatly from each other not only from an architectural point of view but also in terms of the functions – political and cultural, as well as material and economic – that the buildings performed in the urban context. This variety of configurations seems to require a profound reconsideration of the actual role of the architect in the design of palaces, which often took decades to build, under the ultimate control of particularly discerning and competent patrons, in a period in which the autonomy of the artist was far from universally accepted. A direct examination of the architectural structures, a more in-depth study of the sources, and a closer examination of the chronologies will prompt us to re-evaluate the godlike role attributed to an individual creative ‘genius’ cherished by idealistic historiography. The key role played by a large number of other people thus emerges, people who are undefined and unidentifiable but who nevertheless contributed to the construction of these palaces with sometimes large degrees of autonomy. Another issue that the studies collected here require us to reconsider is the very idea of the Renaissance court as a hortus conclusus – a universe in some way separate or even self-sufficient with regard to the city and the territory (as sometimes postulated by the historiography of the last century). In fact, the opposite is true: in Ferrara as in Urbino, in Saluzzo as in Rome, and in all the other cases discussed in the following pages, the court and the city constituted two communicating, symbiotic worlds, mutually animated by multiple ties which inextricably linked them, and not only at the level of buildings, although this union is particularly explicit. These connections did not loosen over the centuries; on the contrary, they profoundly influenced the structure of the cities that hosted a court, either moulding the spaces increasingly dominated by the disproportionate dimensions of princely mansions or shaping the aristocratic buildings often modelled on seigneurial examples. We can only hope that these ideas will be taken up in future research, building on the principles underpinning our work and using them to survey a broader chronological, geographical, and thematic horizon.

List of Figures 1.1 1.2

1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.10 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4

2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10

Verona, Castelvecchio, 1354–1376 20 Piero della Francesca, view of Castel Sismondo in Rimini: detail from the Portrait of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in front of Saint Sigismund, Rimini, Tempio Malatestiano, 1451 21 Mantua, the ‘palatial system’ of the Gonzaga with the late 14th-century fortress to which part of the court moved in 1459 22 Pesaro, Ducal Palace, c.1466–1472 22 Ferrara, Nicolò Baroncelli’s base of the monument to Nicolò iii d’Este, 1443–1451 23 Ferrara, ground floor shops of the court palace, c.1472–1484 24 Poggio a Caiano, the Medicean villa, from c.1480 24 Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro’s studiolo, 1473–1476 25 Francesco di Giorgio Martini, layouts for the Case de’ principi e gran signori, c.1478–1481 26 Francesco di Giorgio Martini, layouts for the Case de’ principi e gran signori, c.1478–1481 27 Milan, castle of Porta Giovia. The complex defensive structures of the castle in Milan in the first half of the 16th century 45 Milan, castle of Porta Giovia. Tower of Santo Spirito with its ‘burchioni’ walls constructed with diamond-tip ashlar stones, c.1451–1460 46 Venice, Matteo Raverti and Giovanni Bon, main façade of Ca’ d’Oro for Marino Contarini, from 1423 47 Venice, examples of Venetian gothic windows, a system using elaborate traceries to hide structural elements and give weightlessness to the building 48 Venice, Ducal Palace, the Porta della Carta, Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon, from 1438 49 Bologna, the destroyed Bentivoglio palace designed and built from 1459 by Pagno di Lapo Portigianni 50 Taormina, Corvaja palace, the crenelations finishing off the façade which arched windows divided by a slender central column 50 Taormina, Corvaja palace, entrance gate to the courtyard and staircase with ogival arched gate 51 Filarete, the façade of the Banco Mediceo in Milan, with a stone gate inserted into the brickwork walls and mullioned windows at the first floor 52 Milan, castle of Porta Giovia. The ducal courtyard with the Loggetta di Benedetto Ferrini, second half of the 1460s 52

List Of Figures 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 4.1

4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 6.1 6.2 6.3

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Plan of the Vitruvian Roman house 72 Filarete, schema of the parelli for the scale representation and site plan of the city of Sforzinda 73 Filarete, plan of the casa regia 74 Filarete, façade of the casa regia 75 Francesco di Giorgio Martini, plan of the king’s palace 76 Francesco di Giorgio Martini, studies for palace façades 77 Francesco di Giorgio Martini, studies for two palace façades 78 Francesco di Giorgio Martini, plans for princely palaces 79 Francesco di Giorgio Martini, plans for princely palaces 80 Francesco di Giorgio Martini, plans for princely palaces 81 Pinerolo, fortress of the House of Savoy, 16th century plan; the chapel is in the corner of the medieval castle, with the apse at the base of the corner tower 98 Milan, chapel of San Gottardo in Corte 99 Chambéry, Sainte-chapelle: the apse turned towards the city 100 Ferrara, façade of the Palatine chapel, alongside the staircase 101 Urbino, Ducal Palace, plan of the ground floor, with the twin chapel, connected to the Duke’s apartment via the spiral staircase in the Torricino 102 Revello, chapel of the marquis, apse and nave 103 Mantua, diagram of the Ducal Palace, and development of the plan of the chapel of Santa Barbara 104 View of the historical city centre of Saluzzo enclosed within the city walls of 1380 127 The castle of Saluzzo from the relief produced by Carlo Borda 128 Drawing by Clemente Rovere of the castle of Saluzzo overlooking the town, mid-19th century 129 Saluzzo, the mid-15th century castle tower 130 Saluzzo, castle interior with the rediscovered grisaille frescoes which once decorated the ancient private courtyard of the castle 130 Reconstruction of the rooms in the Saluzzo castle 131 Drawing by Francesco Horologi depicting Revello with the marquis’ palace in the forefront and the castle on the hill 132 Detail of the marquis’ palace showing the marble façade with superimposed loggias 132 Revello, the marquis’s chapel located within the palace walls 133 Francisco de Hollanda, Il castello di Milano, c. 1545 157 Milan, the Sforza Castle: aerial view 157 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the external wall of Ducal Court towards the Piazza d’armi 158

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List of Figures

6.4 Milan, the Sforza Castle: detail of one of the two bugnato turrets looking towards the city 158 6.5 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the Rocchetta 159 6.6 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the Corte Ducale 159 6.7 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the courtyard of the Rocchetta 160 6.8 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the courtyard of the Corte Ducale 160 6.9 Milan, the Sforza Castle: capital from the courtyard of the Rocchetta 161 6.10 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the Sala delle Colombine 161 6.11 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the chapel of the Corte Ducale 162 7.1 Mantua, Court palaces. The main Renaissance constructions from 1459 to 1524 and the palatial complex at the end of the 19th century 180 7.2 Revere (Mantua), the palace of Ludovico ii Gonzaga: plan of the ground floor from 1447 181 7.3 Motteggiana (Mantua), the villa of Ludovico ii Gonzaga: plan of the first floor around the mid-15th century 182 7.4 Motteggiana (Mantua), the villa of Ludovico ii Gonzaga: the courtyard from the loggia 183 7.5 The apartment of Isabella d’Este on the ground floor of the Corte Vecchia 184 7.6 Mantua, Arrivabene palace: loggia, 1481 185 7.7 Mantua, the palace at 3 Piazza San Giovanni: great hall on the first floor 186 8.1 Ferrara, aerial view of the central spaces of the town 207 8.2 The court of Nicolò iii, Leonello and Borso d’Este 208 8.3 The court of Ercole i d’Este after the works of 1471–1474 209 8.4 Ferrara, the ‘Via Coperta’ between the court palace and the Castelvecchio 209 8.5 Ferrara, the two monuments to Nicolò iii and Borso at the entrance of the court palace 210 8.6 Il dissegno di Ferrara vecchia del 1490 211 8.7 Gregorio di Lorenzo, Busts of Antoninus Pius, Marcus Agrippa, Hadrian and Sulpicius Galba (originally on the façade of the court palace of Ercole i d’Este) 212 8.8 The court of Ercole i d’Este in 1477–1505 213 8.9 Ferrara, the staircase in the courtyard of the court palace, 1481 214 8.10 The court palace and the Castelvecchio around the middle of the 18th century 215 9.1 Imola, the central spaces of the town before the Riario’s Signoria, c.1473 231 9.2 Melozzo da Forlì, Sixtus iv Appointing Platina as Prefect of the Vatican Library, fresco (detail), 1477 232 9.3 Imola, the central spaces of the town at the end of Riario’s Signoria, 1499 233 9.4 Imola, the porticoed building erected in the square by Girolamo Riario 234 9.5 B. Rosaspina, Piazza d’Imola, engraving, 1831–1836 234

List Of Figures 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 10.9 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 12.9 12.10 13.1 13.2 13.3

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Urbino, Ducal Palace, courtyard 258 Carpi, Pio Palace, courtyard 258 Urbino, Ducal Palace, plan of the ground floor 259 Urbino, Ducal Palace, plan of the first floor 259 Reconstruction of the pre-existing sections in the area of the Ducal Palace and the old cathedral of Urbino according to Höfler 2006 260 Carpi, Pio Palace, plan of the ground floor 260 Urbino, Ducal Palace, courtyard, detail of a capital 261 Carpi, Pio Palace, plan of the first floor 262 Carpi, Pio Palace, detail of the main façade 262 Medici Palace, the corner between Via Cavour (Via Larga) and Via dei Gori with the closed Loggia by Michelangelo’s windows 285 Medici Palace, plan of ground floor, a. 1650. Drawing based on a 17th century plan in Florence, Archivio di Stato 286 Medici Palace, plan of first floor (piano nobile), a. 1650. Drawing based on a 17th century plan in Florence, Archivio di Stato 287 Medici Palace, the façade on via Larga. The windows of first floor 288 Medici Palace, the façade on via Larga. The upper floor 288 Medici Palace, the façade on via Larga. The bugnato of the ground floor 289 Aerial view of the Vatican 309 The Borgo and the Vatican at the time of Nicholas v 310 Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, View of Rome, detail of the Borgo, the Basilica of Saint Peter and the Papal Palace 312 View of the palace of Nicholas v from the Belvedere courtyard (with later additions) 313 Davide Ghirlandaio, Portrait of a lady, detail of the palace of Nicholas v from the Belvedere courtyard 314 The Vatican palace, schematic reconstruction from the north at the time of Nicholas v 315 The Vatican palace, plan of the ground floor (reconstruction of the plan with corridors, windows and passageways in 1521) 316 The Vatican palace, plan of the first floor (reconstruction of the floor with corridors, windows and passageways in 1521) 317 The Vatican palace, plan of the second floor (reconstruction of the floor with corridors, windows and passageways in 1521) 318 Donato Bramante and workshop, project from 1506–1507 for the reconfiguration of the Vatican palace 319 Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the exterior 344 Lagopesole, view of Frederick ii’s castle, c.1230 345 Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the exterior; detail of the towers 346

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List of Figures

13.4 Nardo Rapicano, detail of the scarps of Castel Nuovo, c.1492 347 13.5 Plan of Castel Nuovo 348 13.6 Castel Nuovo from the sea, with the Torre San Vincenzo (The banishment of the French from Naples in July 1495) 349 13.7 Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the exterior; detail of the triumphal arch 350 13.8 Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the courtyard 351 13.9 Naples, Castel Nuovo, Porta del Trionfo by Domenico Gagini 352 13.10 Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the Gran Sala 353 14.1 Siracusa, Maniace castle, Vis de Saint Gilles staircase, first half of the 13th century 371 14.2 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), view of the tribune of the church of Sant’Antonino 372 14.3 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), view of the uncovered connecting arch between the first floor and the tribune of the church of Sant’Antonino 373 14.4 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), plan of the first floor indicating the arrangement of the rooms in the 15th century 374 14.5 Unknown painter, View of Palermo’s Marina, oil on canvas, 17th century 375 14.6 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), courtyard, detail from the base of one of the cylindrical pilasters 376 14.7 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), virtual axonometric reconstruction showing the hypothesis of the atrium covered by a vault 377 14.8 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), first floor, an all’antica doorway 378

Part 1 Comparative Issues



chapter 1

Princes, Towns, Palaces: A Renaissance “Architecture of Power” Marco Folin It was an old custom in medieval Europe, dating back to Roman times, that a  prince’s palatium should be one of the most tangible outward signs of his  monarchic rule. There are countless examples of this, from Justinian’s Constantinople to Charlemagne’s Aachen, and from Henry iv’s Goslar to Frederick ii’s Foggia.1 Subsequently, this tradition was reaffirmed and codified by the authors of the specula principum, who included Magnificence – also, and above all, understood as magnificentia aedificandi – among the exclusive group of sovereign Virtues.2 Thus, for example, in a textbook widely read and quoted throughout the Renaissance, Giles of Rome could appeal to the authority of Aristotle (and Thomas Aquinas) to claim that “kings and princes should own marvellous and perfectly built residences” (“reges et principes debeant habere habitationes mirabiles et subtili industria constructas”), built specifically for the sake of magnificence so as to impose on their subjects an image of  unattainable superiority which would discourage any possible uprising, ­ultimately also providing accommodation for an ever growing court (“where there are many riches, there are many who consume them”3). It is easy to 1 On the question of the “architectures of power” and their respective legacies, see Ernst Voltmer, “‘Palatia’ imperiali e mobilità della corte (secoli ix–xiii)”, in Arti e storia nel Medioevo, ed. Enrico Castelnuovo and Giuseppe Sergi, i, Tempi, Spazi, Istituzioni. Turin: Einaudi, 2002, 557–630, with the cited bibliography. 2 See A.D. Fraser Jenkins, “Cosimo de’ Medici’s Patronage of Architecture and the Theory of Magnificence”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 33 (1970): 162–170; Louis Green, “Galvano Fiamma, Azzone Visconti and the Revival of the Classical Theory of Magnificence”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 53 (1990): 98–113; Martin Warnke, “Liberalitas principis”, in Arte, committenza ed economia a Roma e nelle corti del Rinascimento (1420–1530), ed. Arnold Esch and Christoph L. Frommel. Turin: Einaudi, 1995, 83–92; Luisa Giordano, “Edificare per magnificenza. Testimonianze letterarie sulla teoria e la pratica della committenza di corte”, in Il principe architetto, ed. Arturo Calzona et al. Florence: Olschki, 1992, 215–227; for additional transalpine references, see also Simon Thurley, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1993, 11–23. 3 “Ubi sunt multae divitiae, multi sunt qui comedunt illas”: Egidio Colonna, De regimine principum libri iii (Rome: Giannetti, 1607), 353–356.

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f­ollow the wide-ranging circulation of these ideas in late medieval and Renaissance literature, from Galvano Fiamma to Christine de Pisan, from Leonardo Bruni to John Skelton, from Platina to Pontano, and many others. Thus, over the centuries a recurrent phenomenon can be observed: any period involving the consolidation of dynastic rule often seems to coincide with a phase when one or more palatial residences are (re)constructed as a manifesto of the ambitions of the Crown. To focus on the more high-profile cases of the 15th century, this occurred in France with Charles v the Wise at the beginning of the century,4 in England with Edward iv of York,5 in Burgundy with Philip ii the Bold, and in Provence with René of Anjou.6 There was no lack of architect–kings in the 16th century either: from Francis i in the Loire Valley to Henry viii along the Thames, Maximilian i in Innsbruck, or Philip ii in the Escorial. Their achievements can only be properly understood against the background of this long period.7 One of the most notable exceptions to this widespread practice was central and northern Italy, where the local princely dynasties, which were gradually established from the end of the 13th century, never managed to rid themselves completely of their municipal origins or to impose a pleno iure monarchic image of themselves.8 No city in Italy lacks its own municipal palace, but at the dawn of the modern era few could boast a real dynastic palace: that is, an official residence of a sovereign, a residence endowed with a series of spaces with specific functions – in accordance with the canonical triadic structure of aula regia, cubiculum, capella – and at the same time fully equipped for the exercise of power (thus with rooms suitable for princely offices, starting with the chancellery). 4 See Françoise Autrand, Charles v le Sage (Paris: Fayard, 1994), 760–766; and Boris Bove, “Les palais royaux à Paris au Moyen Âge (XIe–XVe siècles)”, in Palais et pouvoir de Constantinople à Versailles, eds. Marie-Françoise Auzépy and Joël Cornette (Paris: Presses Universitaires de Vincennes, 2003), 67–74. 5 Thurley, The Royal Palaces, 18–21. 6 Françoise Robin, La cour d’Anjou-Provence. La vie artistique sous le règne de René (Paris: Picard, 1985), 93–164. 7 See Hubertus Günther, “Kaiser Maximilian i. zeichnet den Plan für sein Mausoleum”, in Il principe architetto, 493–516; Jean Guillaume, “François 1er architecte: les bâtiments”, ibid., 517–532; and Monique Chatenet, “Francesco i architetto: i documenti”, ibid., 533–544; on Philip ii, see Rosemarie Mulcahy, Philip ii of Spain, Patron of the Arts (Dublin: Four Courts, 2004), and appended bibliography; as for Henry viii, see Thurley, The Royal Palaces, 39–66. 8 See Gian Maria Varanini, “La propaganda dei regimi signorili: le esperienze venete del Trecento”, in Le forme della propaganda politica nel Duecento e Trecento, ed. Paolo Cammarosano (Rome: École française de Rome, 1994), 311–343.

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Undoubtedly, in 14th-century Italy some attempts were made to translate dynastic ambitions into monumental “architectures of power”, as with the ­palace of Azzone Visconti in Milan (c.1340) or the ‘Reggia’ erected in Padua by  Marsilio and Ubertino da Carrara a few years later.9 These, however, are rather isolated examples from which we cannot generalize. On the contrary, the motivation behind many of the most impressive princely buildings from the 14th century seems to be not so much a concern for magnificence, but rather more concrete and urgent military needs – to the extent that neither the Augusta fortress of Castruccio Castracani in Lucca (1332) nor the Castelvecchio of Cangrande ii della Scala in Verona (1354) seems to have been conceived as a privileged residence for its prince. Rather, each was seen as one of many temporary town houses available to the princely family (Fig. 1.1).10 The Italian princes’ reluctance to endow themselves with regal residences derived not only from their need to show themselves as “being close to the people”, but also from their customs concerning inheritance matters. In particular, the relatively late introduction of the system of primogeniture led to a very high level of internecine conflicts at the very heart of the ruling families between different branches with equal inheritance rights, who tended to reside in buildings, and often in whole quarters, which were clearly distinct if not on opposite sides of town.11 In some cases (the most emblematic of which, though certainly not the only one, is that of Bernabò and Galeazzo Visconti in Milan) the town was split into two or more sections, under the control of different dominating powers fighting one another; they shared not only the same 9

10

11

See still Giovanni Lorenzoni, “L’intervento dei Carraresi, la reggia e il castello”, in Padova. Case e palazzi, eds. Lionello Puppi and Fulvio Zuliani (Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1977), 29–50; and for the palace of Azzone Visconti, see Patrick Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir. Urbanisme et politique édilitaire à Milan (XIVe–XV siècles) (Rome: École française de Rome, 1998), 108–125. See Louis Green, Castruccio Castracani. A study on the origins and character of a fourteenthcentury Italian despotism (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986), 104–112; on Castelvecchio, see Gian Maria Varanini, “Castelvecchio come residenza nella tarda età scaligera”, Verona illustrata. Rivista del Museo di Castelvecchio 2 (1989), 11–18; more generally, Nicolai Rubinstein, “Fortified Enclosures in Italian Cities under Signori”, in War, Culture and Society in Renaissance Venice. Essays in Honour of John Hale, eds. David S. Chambers, Cecil H. Clough and Michael E. Mallett (London: Hambledon, 1993), 1–8. On the inheritance practices of the Italian princely families see Franco Niccolai, “I consorzi nobiliari e il comune nell’alta e media Italia”, Rivista di Storia del Diritto Italiano 13 (1940), 116–147; Marzio Barbagli, Sotto lo stesso tetto. Mutamenti della famiglia in Italia dal xv al xx secolo (Bologna: Mulino, 1984), 189–203; and also Franca Leverotti, Famiglia e istituzioni nel medioevo italiano (Rome: Carocci, 2005), 73–83 and 162–167.

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entitlements to the princedom but also a concomitant – and antagonistic – need for visibility, expressed through the construction of fortresses and residences armed against each other.12 The result was a particularly varied urban landscape, in which the buildings clustered around the municipal core of the city were interwoven with spaces and buildings of princely status. The latter were as numerous as the collateral branches of the family contending for the dynastic inheritance, without diminishing the worth of the great aristocratic homes of the patrician elite who still participated to a certain extent in the honours and duties of government. This situation is well documented in most of the cities that were, for a certain period of time, the seat of a princely court. Thus in Verona as in Mantua, in Ferrara as in Camerino, in Pesaro as in Foligno, late medieval sources never speak of a ‘palace’ but rather of a cluster of domus, somewhat fortified. The latter were at times, but not necessarily, contiguous – often situated on two sides of a piazza or a public road – resulting in an accumulation of similar functions in close competition with each other.13 This configuration was typical of Italian dynastic centres (except in the south) for most of the 15th century. 12

13

See Luca Beltrami, Il castello di Milano sotto il dominio dei Visconti e degli Sforza (Milan: Hoepli, 1894), 20–28. Carpi is an analogous example, on which see Manuela Ghizzoni, “Ordinamenti politici e strategie signorili: note di storia urbanistica carpigiana tra Medioevo e Rinascimento”, in L’ambizione di essere città. Piccoli, grandi centri nell’Italia rinascimentale, ed. Elena Svalduz (Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti, 2004), 121–154. For Verona, see Gian Maria Varanini, “Patrimonio e fattoria scaligera: tra gestione patrimoniale e funzione pubblica”, in Gli Scaligeri 1277–1387. Saggi e schede pubblicati in occasione della mostra storico documentaria allestita dal Museo di Castelvecchio di Verona, ed. idem (Verona: Mondadori, 1988), 383–386; for Mantua, Giovanni Rodella, “Le strutture architettoniche”, in Il palazzo ducale di Mantova, ed. Giuliana Algeri (Sometti: Mantova, 2003), 17–52; and Marina Romani, Una città in forma di palazzo. Potere signorile e forma urbana nella Mantova medievale e moderna (Brescia: Centro di Ricerche Storiche e Sociali Federico Odorici, 1995), 61–88; for Ferrara, see below pp. 187–192; for Camerino, see Fiorella Paino, “The Palazzo of the da Varano Family in Camerino (Fourteenth–Sixteenth Centuries): Typology and Evolution of a Central Italian Aristocratic Residence”, in The Medieval Household in Christian Europe, c. 850–c. 1550. Managing Power, Wealth and the Body, eds. Cordelia Beatti, Anna Maslakovic and Sarah Rees Jones (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 335–358; for Pesaro, see Massimo Frenquellucci, “Il palazzo ducale sulla scena della piazza di Pesaro all’epoca dei Malatesta e degli Sforza”, in Sabine Eiche et al., La corte di Pesaro: storia di una residenza signorile (Modena: Panini, 1986), 57–66; for Foligno, see Vittorio Franchetti Pardo, “Palazzo Trinci nel contesto della città di Foligno”, in Il palazzo Trinci di Foligno, eds. Giordana Benazzi and Francesco F. Mancini (Perugia: Quattroemme, 2001), 29–50.

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This was the case not only for ‘minor’ localities such as Carpi but also in centres of great cultural vitality such as Ferrara, where – though the chancellors had, for ideological reasons, taken to dating their documents from the ‘palatium’ of the Este – the chroniclers describe a shapeless grouping of various types of buildings, mixed in with “stench, shacks, rubbish, sediments of wood, dogs and all sorts of refuse” which poured into “nauseating little piazzas” surrounding the court.14 Fortresses Around the mid-15th century in Italy, the balance of political powers gradually crystallized with the ratification of the Peace of Lodi (1454), after which many of the ruling dynasties succeeded in acquiring sovereign titles with a more solid and authoritative stamp than in the past. Only thereafter did conditions become more propitious for the construction of genuine royal palaces, specifically and explicitly constructed to house the sovereign and his court, thus symbolizing their full power in the city.15 Within a few years, building projects of unprecedented ambition were launched in what at that time were the three main monarchic seats of Italy: the restructuring of Castel Nuovo by Alfonso of Aragon in Naples from 1446 onwards; the reconstruction of the Castello di Porta Giova in Milan, commissioned by Francesco Sforza after his conquest of the city in 1450; and the renovation of the Vatican Palace as one of the projects undertaken by Pope Nicholas v in Rome from 1453.16 All these initiatives share certain traits: the model they all conformed to – following the path already taken by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in Rimini a few years earlier, with the Castel Sismondo (c.1437– 1446)17 – was that of the 14th-century city fortress, though completely revised in terms of functionality and architectural language (Fig. 1.2). With few exceptions, these late medieval fortresses were largely intended for military use and were used for residential purposes only very rarely and on special occasions: 14

See below p. 189; as for Carpi, see Il palazzo dei Pio a Carpi. Sette secoli di architettura e arte, eds. Manuela Rossi and Elena Svalduz (Venice: Marsilio, 2008). 15 The first to receive the title of ‘duke’ were the Visconti in 1395; then came the turn of the Savoy (1416), the Montefeltro (1443) and the Este (1452, 1471); in the following century, it was the turn of the Varano in 1515, the Medici in 1532 and the Gonzaga in 1535. 16 See the chapters in this volume by Bianca de Divitiis, Aurora Scotti and Flavia Cantatore. 17 See Castel Sismondo. Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta e l’arte militare del primo Rinascimento, ed. Angelo Turchini (Cesena: Ponte Vecchio, 2003), with bibliography.

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the 14th-century ‘rocche’ of Ferrara and Mantua, or the castles built by the Visconti in the towns of their domain, are typical from this point of view.18 It was not surprising, then, that when Filippo Maria Visconti chose to live in the Castello di Porta Giova for over twenty years he was unanimously dismissed by his contemporaries as eccentric.19 By contrast, the castles renovated by Alfonso of Aragon and Nicholas v (and in part the one rebuilt by Francesco Sforza) were essentially conceived as courtly dwellings, though they never lost their military function or authoritative appearance, which was their distinctive characteristic according to Leon Battista Alberti, who described them as “aes tyrannorum” par excellence.20 They were settings for the exercise of monarchic power, designed to accommodate not only the prince and his retinue, but also – as a matter of course – a series of governmental functions. It was the architecture itself that brought out these new functions in the most explicit and specific way by resorting to an all’antica style, incorporating within the originally late Gothic structures a series of decorative elements of perspicuous celebratory value: loggias, galleries, cours d’honneur, gardens etc. In this way, traditional forms were given new ‘triumphal’ meanings (for example, the entrances between the pair of towers in Castel Nuovo in Naples or in the Vatican Palace of Nicholas v). The internal spaces were also reconsidered: “regaliter exornat[i]” (as Giannozzo Manetti wrote with reference to the new papal palace21) expressly designed to meet the requirements of court ceremony, starting with the great hall intended for solemn audiences. According to Patrick Boucheron, this kind of “symbolic de-militarization” of the fortress was not merely a question of aesthetic taste but also, and above all, corresponded to a precise ideological need: namely that of attenuating the aggressiveness naturally associated with the military nature of castle architecture. The princely regime was thus presented as the expression of a power which, however monarchical and sovereign it may have been, was nevertheless utterly devoid of tyrannical ambitions.22 What is certain is that with these innovations the fortress, far from being considered a relic of the past, took on 18 19

20 21 22

Antonello Vincenti, Castelli viscontei e sforzeschi (Milan: Rusconi, 1981). Nadia Covini, “Visibilità del principe e residenza aperta: la Corte dell’Arengo di Milano tra  Visconti e Sforza”, in Il principe inVisibile, ed. Arturo Calzona (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming). See Leon Battista Alberti, De re aedificatoria, v, 3: idem, L’architettura [De re aedificatoria], ed. Giovanni Orlandi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1966), vol. 1, 346–349. Iannottii Manetti, De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti summi pontificis, ed. Anna Modigliani (Rome: Ist. Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 2005), 73 (my italics). See Patrick Boucheron, “‘Non domus ista sed urbs’: Palais princiers et environnement urbain au Quattrocento (Milan, Mantoue, Urbino)”, in Les palais dans la ville. Espaces

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a new appearance in the second half of the 15th century, confirming its status as a “royal” residence par excellence. At least three exemplary cases can be cited: Mantua after the Diet of 1459–1460, Milan at the behest of Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1467–1468), and Ferrara through the input of the Neapolitan duchess Eleanor of Aragon (1476). In all three cases part of the court – which in the ‘city palaces’ overlooked old municipal piazzas – was transferred into an old fortress modernized for the occasion (Fig. 1.3). Indicative of the extent to which these operations – only ostensibly anachronistic – can be considered perfectly attuned to and compatible with the adoption of all’antica solutions are the names of the artists involved in these enterprises (Mantegna in Mantua, Bonifacio Bembo, and later Bramante and Leonardo in Milan and Biagio Rossetti in Ferrara).23 Palaces Throughout the entire 15th century the fortress, menacingly built on the outskirts of town, with all the various refinements it underwent in incorporating classical elements, remained a constant point of reference for Italian princes. Nevertheless, it was not the only one. In fact, the hybridizations it underwent are the most tangible sign of the extraordinary variety of models existing in Italian Renaissance culture, and constituted the latter’s distinctive attribute within the European context. As already mentioned, few of the ruling dynasties from the Tiber to the Alps ever completely severed their ties with their own municipal, and often commercial, roots. These roots were also, and particularly, founded on symbiotic relationships with market places and therefore bound to one or more city houses, characterized by a completely different distribution of spaces and functions from the fortresses previously described. They were usually architectural structures which, though never quite abandoning the apparatus of military security (towers, crenellations, fortified ‘corridors’ and so on), displayed decidedly urban features: the possible commercial use of the ground floor spaces, the front overlooking a piazza or main road and the presence of loggias and courtyards easily accessed by all citizens. The structure of these houses was often divided into different volumes arranged in

23

urbains et lieux de la puissance publique dans la Méditerranée médiévale, ed. idem and Jacques Chiffoleau (Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2004), 249–284. On this point, see the chapters by Giulio Girondi, Aurora Scotti, Marco Folin and others in this volume; equally significant is the case of the castle of Saluzzo, on which see the chapter by Silvia Beltramo.

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haphazard fashion, with no general plan and based on various domestic needs as and when they arose. In most cases, the process by which the ruling family confirmed its rule was slow and arduous, and the configuration of the dynastic residences reflected this gradual development, with all its ambiguities and contradictions. Over time, the court spaces became larger and began to engulf the surrounding buildings; yet they never merged with the latter into a coherent structure, but rather would often retrace their original shape. Interventions to modify the road network were rare; instead the various courtly buildings were connected by overground passageways built across the streets. The result was a cluster of architectural blocks grouped in different ways and essentially indistinguishable from the surrounding buildings, lacking any clear demarcation signs indicating their perimeter.24 During the 15th century – especially the second half – almost all of these buildings underwent significant renovations, and in some cases they were rebuilt from the very foundations. It is common knowledge that the Medici Palace in Via Larga, Florence, built by Michelozzo di Bartolomeo for Cosimo de’ Medici from 1444, can be considered the prototype of the new 15th-century palace in the all’antica style, with its rather standard plan and axial configuration in the following sequence: entrance hall, cour d’honneur, and garden on the opposite side to the entrance. These characteristics were first established in Tuscany – from Florence to Pienza – then in Rome and Urbino, before spreading to other Italian cities. They deeply influenced the tastes of the aristocratic elites of Italy.25 It has been pointed out many times that the solutions experimented with around the middle of the century between the Tiber and the Arno helped to sustain a canon of forms and manners that were emulated elsewhere in the country: examples range from the palace of the Bentivoglio in Bologna to the palaces of Giulio Cesare Varano in Camerino and Alexander Sforza in Pesaro (Fig. 1.4).26 24

An emblematic case is the residence of the Trinci, for which see Laura Lametti, “Il palaz­zo: dalle preesistenze all’unità d’Italia”, in Il palazzo Trinci di Foligno, 51–104. 25 See infra the chapter by Emanuela Ferretti in this volume. 26 On the Florentine references for the façade of Alessandro Sforza’s palace in Pesaro, see Sabine Eiche, “Architetture sforzesche”, in Pesaro tra Medioevo e Rinascimento (Venice: Marsilio, 1989), 278–279; on the ancestry of the Bentivoglio palace in Bologna, see Simonetta Valtieri, “Il palazzo Bentivoglio a Bologna”, in Il palazzo del principe, il palazzo del cardinale, il palazzo del mercante nel Rinascimento (Rome: Gangemi, 1988), 3–32. As for the Varano palace at Camerino, see Paino, “The Palazzo of the da Varano Family”, 349–357; Sandro Corradini, “Il palazzo di Giulio Cesare Varano e l’architetto Baccio Pontelli”, Studi Maceratesi 5 (1969): 186–220; and Francesco Benelli, “Il palazzo ducale di Camerino”, in

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The renewal of palace architecture during the second half of the 15th c­ entury seemed to follow similar directions all over Italy: there was a tendency to merge originally discrete architectural volumes and thereby create more homogeneous façades which managed to separate the palace visually from the surrounding network of buildings, also eliminating the less noble functions (stables, sewers, etc.). Everywhere there were attempts to reorganize spaces around a central courtyard framed by all’antica loggias, giving the courtyard the dignified status of the heart of the entire residential complex. Throughout, the trend was to demarcate the main entrance (at times using features taken from the repertoire of ancient triumphs), distinguishing it from the many other traditional service entrances.27 The new hierarchy of court spaces was emphasized by stressing the importance of the main façade, often entirely redesigned or at the very least accentuated, not only with the addition of an entrance portal but also with loggias, balconies, or other distinctive emblematic elements (family crests, shields, benches, monuments devoted to the dynasty, and so on).28 These trends are epitomized by the 15th- to 16th-century Vatican Palace: a heterogeneous conglomeration of buildings of all shapes and sizes built during the late Middle Ages which were gradually blended together through the joined forces of many generations of artists and architects, whose task was to conceal, under a uniform layer of magnificence, the original lack of integration of the different wings of the ‘palace’.29 In truth, though, all the examples discussed in this book – from the Sicily of the Aragonese to the smaller princedoms of the Alps and the Po Valley – show similar patterns of development. The overall direction thus seems to be coherent and absolutely in line with the tendencies shown by Tuscan examples. Yet this seemingly uniform approach must be tempered by some general considerations. First and foremost, it should

Il  Quattrocento a Camerino, ed. Andrea De Marchi and Maria Giannatiempo Lopez (Milan: Motta, 2002), 273–274. 27 Georgia Clarke, Roman House – Renaissance Palaces. Inventing Antiquity in FifteenthCentury Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 240–252. 28 An emblematic case, among others, is the palace of Revello on which see infra the chapter by Silvia Beltramo. More generally, on the new importance acquired by the façade in Renaissance city architecture, see David Friedman, “Palaces and Street in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy”, in Urban Landscapes: International Perspectives, eds. Jeremy W.R. Whitehand and Peter J. Larkham (London: Routledge, 1992), 69–113; Charles Burroughs, The Italian Renaissance Palace Façade. Structures of Authority, Surfaces of Sense (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); and Clarke, Roman House, 179–227. 29 See infra the chapter by Flavia Cantatore in this volume.

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be emphasized that – however much prestige Florentine architects gained over the course of the 15th century – the path to the auctoritas of the Classics did not necessarily did not necessarily run along the banks of the Arno. Indeed, the decorative cycles and the architecture of the Reggia dei Carraresi in Padua or the Trinci Palace in Foligno – to mention just two examples – show how the antique style had provided Italian princes with a vast repertoire of images, symbols, and authoritative forms for some time – a repertoire capable of elevating with its own antiquarian bombastic vocabulary whichever dominating power decided to employ it.30 Around the middle of the 15th century there was still a variety of possible paths leading back to ancient culture, as illustrated by that “first bloom of the Renaissance in the Po Valley”, the base of the equestrian monument to Nicolò iii d’Este in Ferrara (1443–1451). Indeed, the so-called Horse Arch seems to be the result not of a mere stroll through town by Leon Battista Alberti (as Adolfo Venturi suggested) but rather of prolonged studies by local humanists, most notably Guarino da Verona, in search of autonomous sources of inspiration not so much from Rome as directly from Constantinople (Fig. 1.5).31 Another widespread feature, even older than the works by Michelozzo in the Medici Palace, was the tendency to group together properties and buildings belonging to the prince in a topographically coherent insula: traces of this can be observed throughout the 14th century: in Lucca with the Guinigi or in Foligno with the Trinci, for instance, as well as in Urbino, Ferrara, Carpi, Mantua, Revello, etc. And then there was the custom of emphasizing the centrality of the cour d’honneur as the focal point of the paths leading to the internal spaces of the palace. Indeed, this aspect was lucidly theorized by Leon Battista Alberti in a very famous passage from the De re aedificatoria, although in fact this distribution of internal space could already be found perfectly applied in the papal palace at Avignon, which we know was one of the great reference points for the late medieval patrons of the arts.32 The conclusion, therefore, is that Florence was not the driver behind the whole process that we are describing, but just one of its many variations: one that was undoubtedly 30

31

32

See for example Maria Monica Donato, Gli eroi romani tra storia ed “exemplum”: i primi cicli umanistici di Uomini Famosi, in Memoria dell’antico nell’arte italiana, vol. 2, I generi e i temi ritrovati, ed. Salvatore Settis (Turin: Einaudi, 1985), 103–124; and Luigi Sensi, “Aurea quondam Roma”, in Il palazzo Trinci di Foligno, 217–228. See Marco Folin, “La committenza estense, l’Alberti e il palazzo di corte di Ferrara”, in Leon Battista Alberti. Architetture e Committenti, eds. Arturo Calzona et al. (Florence: Olschki, 2009), vol. 1, 260–277. See Alberti, L’architettura, 417.

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particularly self-conscious and explicit but not necessarily predominant – at least, for most of the 15th century – or more precocious than others. On the other hand, it should be noted that pre-existing circumstances and the local context (e.g. the availability of raw material, building traditions, topographical features, etc.) necessitated a profound revision of the models that were beginning to circulate. It is no coincidence that Italian princes never managed to give a truly geometrical configuration to their residences; they were content, at best, simply to occupy one or more pre-existing building blocks and, in most cases, to modify the access routes. For the architects and patrons of the 15th century, the Roman domus longed for on the basis of ancient sources seems to have been more a theoretical and regulatory reference point than a concrete end point. Recreating it meant radically adapting it to the complicated urban context of the late Middle Ages. The domus scheme could thus be adopted in fragments (the loggia, the portal, the atrium, the decorations, the courtyard, etc.), but gradual adjustments were carried out, rather than starting afresh by making a tabula rasa of the remains of the past.33 From this point of view, Federico da Montefeltro’s palace in Urbino (built between 1464 and the end of the 1470s) is typical: Arnaldo Bruschi recently claimed that it is impossible to discern a unitary project, given the great number of architects involved and the wishes and ideas that can be identified in it, which were not always coherent with one another. The resulting amalgam was composite and heterogeneous from the outset. Here, as elsewhere, the importance of the crenellations as the main unifying element of the different buildings comprising the palace says a great deal about the limits of the standardization process implemented by Federico, but also about the deep-rooted intention never to let go completely of the vocabulary inherited from the Middle Ages.34 This is not the only example of the enduring variety of sources of inspiration that princes and their architects continued to draw on throughout the 15th  century. Another striking one was the presence on the ground floor, in many of the new princely residences built in the 15th century, of a range of shops, framed at times by loggias boldly stating their own ‘lowly’ commercial purpose (Fig. 1.6). This was the case not only along the sides of the palace but also along the main façade, viewed from the front (as in Ferrara, Pesaro, Faenza, and elsewhere). This solution had practically no ancient classical basis; on the 33 34

On the Renaissance treatment of the Roman domus, see Clarke, Roman House. See Arnaldo Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana. Chi era costui? Laurana, fra Carnevale, Alberti a Urbino: un tentativo di revisione”, Annali di Architettura 20 (2008): 37–81 (60 on the crenellations as a unifying principle); on this point, see also the chapter by Elena Svalduz in this volume.

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contrary – if not explicitly condemned by contemporary theorists – it was usually associated with the houses of the lower classes (“tenuiorum aedificationes”, as Leon Battista Alberti wrote). In any case, it was considered utterly unsuitable for the residence of a prince35. Nevertheless, shops continued to be placed on all sides of the new 15th-century princely palaces, ostentatiously paraded as a strong sign of identity, rooted as they were within the political and economic tradition of the city – not to mention the fact that they represented an indispensable source of income for the princely coffers. Thus in Imola, for example, Girolamo Riario was able to build a whole palace on the main piazza of the city, allocating most of its spaces to shops, storehouses, and public offices.36

Country Palaces

Ultimately, when observing the panorama of dynastic palaces built or renovated during the 15th century, we see not so much a linear process of the gradual spread of Florentine influence over all of Italy, but rather a dialectical, open engagement between, on the one hand, some classical canons (of which, after a certain date, the Medici set themselves up as privileged interpreters) and, on the other, a series of local customs proud – within a deeply competitive framework – of their own reasons for distinction and intent on emphasizing their most recognizable traits. Essentially, the same kind of situation emerges when considering a third kind of residence worthy, if not typical, of rulers constantly on the move throughout their own territories, as almost all Italian princes of the Renaissance were: the country palace. The latter can be equated, to some extent, to the ‘villa’ (a term that would become common only later, but which already denoted a widespread and perfectly recognizable phenomenon), though distinguished from it by its status as an ‘official’ residence, set up specifically to display the royal virtues of the prince. Groundbreaking studies by Ackerman assigned a prominent role in the ­evolution of the rural residences of the patrician elites of Italy and Europe to the first Medicean villas (Trebbio, Careggi, Fiesole, culminating in the extraordinary construction of Poggio a Caiano) and to the great papal and cardinal commissions in Rome, starting with the Belvedere of Innocent viii (1487).37 35 See Alberti, L’architettura, 435–437. 36 See infra the chapter by Stefano Zaggia. 37 See James S. Ackerman, The Villa. Form and Ideology of Country Houses (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 82–120; and Christoph L. Frommel, “La nuova villa a

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In this case too, however, more recent studies present a much more complex picture, in which the Florentine and Roman achievements are certainly deemed fundamental without ever completely stifling the strong vitality of the ‘regional’ traditions. Indeed, ambitious and well-thought-out projects had already been launched elsewhere over the first half of the 14th century. We know very little of the villa built at Massa Pisana by Castruccio Castracani in the 1330s, but it is certain that by the 1420s Paolo Guinigi had built in the eastern suburb of Lucca a “palagio con uno bellissimo giardino” (Sercambi) which he would sometimes make his residence (“sua dimoragione”), displaying all his magnificence.38 In the same period, analogous projects were under way in the Veneto and around Milan, Mantua, and Ferrara. It would thus seem that the first all’antica villa, deliberately conceived as a systematic attempt to revive the constructions described by Pliny and Vitruvius, was the construction for Leonello d’Este in Belriguardo, near Ferrara, begun in 1435.39 The Aragonese territories offer a similar picture, proving that the tendencies described really did spread throughout Italy, despite significant local differences.40 It is true that at some point in this context what is described as the cultural diplomacy of the Medici came into play with great efficiency. Many of the major projects from the second half of the 15th century seem to traceable back to architects who moved in the Medici circles or who were bound up with them in some way, from Filarete in Milan to Luca Fancelli in Mantua (Fig. 1.7).41 The case of the Neapolitan mission of Giuliano da Maiano is well known: in 1487 he was sent from Florence to the court of Ferdinand of Aragon with two “models for the design of a palace” (“modelli per disegno di uno palazo”), one intended for the villa of Poggioreale and the other for the Duchesca villa. The following year Giuliano da Sangallo is also said to have arrived in Naples with a  great “plan for a palace which Lorenzo the Magnificent sent to the king” (“pianta d’uno modelo d’uno palazo ch’el magnificho Lorenzo de’ Medici

Firenze e a Roma”, in Andrea Palladio e la villa veneta da Petrarca a Carlo Scarpa, eds. Guido Beltramini and Howard Burns (Venice: Marsilio, 2005), 12–29. 38 Clara Altavista, Lucca e Paolo Guinigi (1400–1430): la costruzione di una corte rinascimentale. Città, architettura, arte (Pisa: ets, 2005), 136–156. 39 See Delizie estensi. Architetture di villa nel Rinascimento italiano ed europeo, eds. Francesco Ceccarelli and Marco Folin (Florence: Olschki, 2009). 40 On this point see the chapters by Marco Rosario Nobile and Bianca de Divitiis in this volume. 41 See Dale Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florentine Renaissance. The Patron’s Oeuvre (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress, 2000); and Francis W. Kent, Lorenzo de’ Medici and the Art of Magnificence (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins UniversityPress, 2004).

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mandò a re Fernando”).42 It was often the princes themselves who turned to Florence for suggestions and models for inspiration: in 1492, for example, Ludovico il Moro summoned Giuliano da Sangallo to Vigevano with a gigantic model of Poggio a Caiano. Around the same time, in Ferrara, Ercole i d’Este turned to Filippo Strozzi to ask for information about, and some “disegni” of, the magnificent palace that the Florentine banker had just started to build, which was already the subject of much talk all over Italy.43 Yet, once again, we must beware of generalizations: Giuliano da Sangallo’s visit to Ludovico il Moro did not seem to have any particular architectural consequences, given that the duke continued to reside permanently in his fortress and that one of his main interventions in the surrounding countryside – the Sforzesca “model farmhouse” – stands out as an utterly original work unlike any of the Florentine initiatives of the day.44 Moreover, even Ercole i d’Este, with all his enthusiasm for the Palazzo Strozzi, did not hesitate to promote an architectural language deeply rooted in the Ferrarese tradition and deliberately different from the canons being disseminated throughout Italy.45 He also inspired the creation of works produced in a similar vein elsewhere, such as in Bologna (where, at the end of the 15th century, the Palazzina della Viola was openly inspired by the gardens created earlier by Eleanor of Aragon in Ferrara).46

The Distribution of Internal Space

Several diverse models continued to circulate south of the Alps throughout the  15th century. Nevertheless, some constant features seemed to emerge, starting with the tendency to unify the façades so as to make the heterogeneous building blocks inherited from the late Middle Ages seem more organic 42

43 44 45

46

Cammy Brothers, “Progetto per un ‘Palazzo in Via Laura and Palazzo per il re di Napoli’”, in Andrea Palladio e la villa veneta da Petrarca a Carlo Scarpa, eds. Guido Beltramini and Howard Burns (Venice: Marsilio, 2005), 232–235. Francis W. Kent, “‘Più superba de quella de Lorenzo’: Courtly and Family Interest in the Building of Filippo Strozzi’s Palace”, Renaissance Quarterly 30 (1977): 311–323. Luisa Giordano, “‘Ditissima tellus’. Ville quattrocentesche tra Po e Ticino”, Bollettino della società pavese di storia patria n.s., 40 (1988): 268–269. See Marco Folin, “Un ampliamento urbano della prima Età moderna: l’Addizione erculea di Ferrara”, in Sistole/Diastole. Episodi di trasformazione urbana nell’Italia delle città, ed. idem (Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti, 2006), 148–156. See Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti, “Descrizione del Giardino della Viola in Bologna”, ed. Bruno Basile, in Bentivolorum Magnificentia. Principe e cultura a Bologna nel Rinascimento (Rome: Bulzoni, 1984), 274–284.

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and coherent. Thus, on the outside the trend was for the chiusura (enclosing) of the palace, or at least its more clear-cut delimitation as a single compact mass. On the inside, meanwhile, a complementary if not contrasting intention was pursued: namely, the desire to open up the courtly areas, endowing them with courtyards and gardens, wide staircases and loggias giving onto green spaces in a general attempt to give a greater sense of breadth and to separate out functions that previously been crammed together. One ever-present phenomenon, whether in renovated old fortresses, rural “villas”, or city palaces built ex novo, was this creation of a more disciplined arrangement of the interior spaces of the court, in order to keep the various activities carried out in each area distinct, redistributing them according to an essential hierarchy. Almost everywhere we find an attempt to separate reception rooms, primarily designated for public functions, from the ‘private’ quarters (or ‘segreti’ as they were called), reserved for the domestic use of the prince and often detached from the main part of the court, in the least accessible areas of the building. In most cases, the public areas underwent radical renovations throughout the century, with abundant use of the classical repertoire, deployed with particular grandiosity especially in the cour d’honneur and the sala magna: the last variation on the old aula regia of the Carolingian times, which was used for solemn occasions and state ceremonies.47 As for the ‘private’ quarters, they were usually expanded through the addition of a series of complementary spaces (libraries, oratories, studioli, bathrooms, secret gardens, music rooms, and so on) which increasingly played a key role in court life, in terms of both architecture and ceremony. Many of these spaces in the 15th century were not entirely unprecedented: the palatine chapels, for example, played a critical role in court rituals for centuries48. What was new was the ideological significance with which the buildings were invested, humanist in  inspiration and decorated with unprecedented expense and ostentation (Fig. 1.8).49 These processes were closely related to another trend: with the expansion of courtly spaces into an articulated constellation of rooms reorganized according to their respective functions, a series of privileged routes was set up inside the new palaces, also structured according to certain rather recurrent patterns. 47

48 49

Luisa Giordano, “La sala grande tra tardo Medioevo e primo Rinascimento”, in Imperatori e Dei. Roma e il gusto per l’antico nel Palazzo dei Pio a Carpi, ed. Manuela Rossi (Carpi: Musei di Carpi, 2006), 27–38. See the chapter by Andrea Longhi in this volume. See Peter Thornton, The Italian Renaissance Interior 1400–1600 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1991).

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The main entrance led to the courtyard, around which the main offices of government were often to be found, starting with the chancellery. The courtyard then led to a large staircase, which in turn led, more or less directly, to the reception rooms on the second floor (the great hall, salons, antechambers, etc.); from here, passing through a series of even smaller rooms, one reached the private quarters of the prince: the bedroom with ensuite guardacamera, in addition to a series of secret camerini (studiolo, bathroom, etc.), often – wherever possible – overlooking a garden. In contrast, the service areas (kitchens, storerooms, stables, servants’ quarters, and so on) were gradually moved out of the way, into strictly separate areas of the palace, far out of sight of the prince and his illustrious visitors. This gives some insight into how the concept of the apartment was born – or rather, apartments in the plural – intended respectively for the prince, his consort, and the ‘particular’ courts of the respective families. They were often split over two floors: the cooler rooms on the ground floor were reserved for the  summer months and the heated ones on the first floor for the winter.50 According to Peter Thornton, this distribution of spaces, previously described by Leon Battista Alberti and later by Francesco di Giorgio (Figs. 1.9–1.10), was first conceived and implemented in the 1460s, in some of the buildings that soon became the models to emulate all over Italy: the palace of Paul ii Barbo in Rome, that of Enea Silvio Piccolomini in Pienza, and that of Federico da Montefeltro in Urbino.51 Two generations later these experiments would culminate in the Vatican Stanze decorated by Bramante and Raphael in the Vatican Palace, which was then thoroughly renovated for Julius ii and Leo x.52 To conclude this brief overview, it might be worth looking back to gauge the progress made over the span of little more than a century. The Italian panorama, as has been stated many times, was highly fragmented, enlivened as it was by phenomena and processes that were not always coherent with each other: the endurance of old medieval patterns such as the fortress on the one hand and the dissemination of new models such as the country palace on the other; the establishment of an all’antica style as the princely language par excellence and, conversely, its continuous and varied hybridization in contact with the inexhaustible vivacity of vernacular traditions; the tendency to emphasize the triumphal aspects of palatial architecture and at the same time 50

Deborah Howard, “Seasonal Apartments in Renaissance Italy”, Artibus et Historiae 22 (2001), n. 43: 127–135. 51 Thornton, The Italian Renaissance Interior. 52 See Arnold Nesselrath, Raphaël et Pinturicchio. Les grands décors des appartements du pape au Vatican (Paris: Hazan, 2012).

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the desire not to hide the less noble activities traditionally carried out in princely abodes (commerce, storage, etc.); the gradual closing up of the palace fronts and, in contrast, the propensity to open up the interiors towards the outside, overlooking the surroundings or the gardens which had become part of the courtly spaces. It does not seem possible to explain all of these features by reference to a single paradigm that will always be valid. Nor does it seem as though the notion of the rebirth of the antique can be considered the only underlying theme in these complex and stratified transformations. Rather, we can emphasize the crucial role played in this context by two factors already mentioned: firstly, the ambition to distinguish strictly, if not to separate completely, the palace building from its urban context, exalting its radical otherness with respect to the surrounding buildings; secondly, the desire to redistribute the various functions located in the palace according to a hierarchy. The latter gave the court spaces a more orderly structure, with an increasingly large proportion of it being reserved for the ‘private’ sphere of the sovereign (the aim being, of course, to construct his ‘public’ image). These requirements were widely felt all over Italy, supported by the precepts of antique architecture and reinterpreted through contemporary treatises. But they seemed, in particular, to take root in much deeper social and political trends closely connected to the process of consolidating the dynastic powers (and the concomitant adoption of new inheritance systems by the princes). However, after the invasion of Charles viii in 1494, and during the subsequent thirty years of war, this process was suddenly interrupted, although the Italian princes would not have stopped fantasizing about constructing grandiose palaces showing off their magnificence as monarchs (take, for example, the palaces designed by Lorenzo de’ Medici in Via Laura, in Florence, Leo x in the Piazza Navona, in Rome, or even Alberto iii Pio in Carpi53). The French and Spanish armies destroyed many of these ambitions, and the day after the coronation of Charles v in Bologna (1530) the Italian princes found themselves downgraded to the rank of subordinates of the powers lying beyond the Alps. The baton had been passed on to other hands, although the fortresses and palaces built in Italy during the second half of the 15th century continued for centuries to provide royalty from all over Europe with an inestimable heritage of forms, expressions, and experiences to draw on in order to display their own magnificence.

53

See the chapter by Elena Svalduz in this volume.

20

Figure 1.1 

Folin

Verona, Castelvecchio, 1354–1376.

Princes, Towns, Palaces

Figure 1.2

21

Piero della Francesca, view of Castel Sismondo in Rimini: detail from the Portrait of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in front of Saint Sigismund, Rimini, Tempio Malatestiano, 1451.

22

Folin

Figure 1.3 

Mantua, the ‘palatial system’ of the Gonzaga with the late 14th-century fortress to which part of the court moved in 1459.

Figure 1.4 

Pesaro, Ducal Palace, c.1466–1472.

Princes, Towns, Palaces

Figure 1.5 

23

Ferrara, Nicolò Baroncelli’s base of the monument to Nicolò iii d’Este, 1443–1451.

24

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Figure 1.6 

Ferrara, ground floor shops of the court palace, c.1472–1484.

Figure 1.7 

Poggio a Caiano, the Medicean villa, from c. 1480.

Princes, Towns, Palaces

Figure 1.8 

Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro’s studiolo, 1473–1476.

25

26

Figure 1.9

Folin

Francesco di Giorgio Martini, layouts for the Case de’ principi e gran signori, c.1478–1481. Turin, Biblioteca Reale, Codex Saluzziano 148, c. 17v. With permission from the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Biblioteca Reale – Turin.

Princes, Towns, Palaces

Figure 1.10

Francesco di Giorgio Martini, layouts for the Case de’ principi e gran signori, c.1478–1481. Turin, Biblioteca Reale, Codex Saluzziano 148, c. 18r. With permission from the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Biblioteca Reale – Turin.

27

chapter 2

Medieval Vestiges in the Princely Architecture of the 15th Century Silvia Beltramo The artistic heritage of the Middle Ages constituted a vast pool of knowledge for the artists of the Renaissance and their patrons. Local architectural traditions formed the basis on which new artistic expression and building models were founded. Raphael famously characterized medieval architecture by claiming that the origin of the pointed arch was the intertwining of two trees from the northern forests.1 His claim is an indication of how, in the 16th century, the presence of models and building styles referring back to the Middle Ages still inspired architectural discourse.2 The two ideas that constitute the starting point for this study are thus continuity and the long duration of the Middle Ages, given the suggestion of some medievalists that we should consider the 15th century as the “late Middle Ages”.3 Although it is clear that, at various times throughout the medieval millennium, particular attention was paid to 1 He added that “though not worthless as far as origins go, it is however rather weak”, Francesco Paolo Di Teodoro, Raffaello, Baldassar Castiglione e la Lettera a Leone X, (Bologna: Nuova Alfa Editoriale, 1994), 71. 2 On this question, see for instance: Presenze medievali nell’architettura di età moderna e c­ ontemporanea, ed. Giorgio Simoncini, (Milan: Guerini e Associati, 1997); Andrea Pane, “L’antico e le preesistenze tra Umanesimo e Rinascimento. Teorie, personalità ed interventi su architetture e città”, in Verso una storia del restauro. Dall’età classica al primo Ottocento ed. Stella Casiello (Florence: Alinea Editrice, 2008) 88–95. For a general overview on classicism in 15th century Italian architecture, see Puglia Abruzzo. Architettura del classicismo tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento, ed. Adriano Ghisetti Giavarina (Rome: Gangemi, 2006); Campania. Architettura del classicismo tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento, eds. Alfonso Gambardella and Danila Jacazzi (Rome: Gangemi, 2007); Marche. Architettura del classicismo tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento, eds. Francesco Quinterio and Ferruccio Canali (Rome: Gangemi, 2009); Architettura a Pisa nel primo periodo mediceo, ed. Ewa Karwacka Codini (Rome: Gangemi, 2010). On construction techniques from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age, see Pier Nicola Pagliara, “Antico e Medioevo in alcune tecniche costruttive del xv e xvi secolo”, in Annali di Architettura 10–11 (1998–1999): 233–260; Roberto Gargiani, Princìpi e costruzione nell’architettura italiana del Quattrocento (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2003). 3 On this topic, see Renato Bordone and Giuseppe Sergi, Dieci secoli di medioevo (Turin: Einaudi, 2009), xi–xix; Ludovico Gatto, Viaggio intorno al concetto di Medioevo (Rome: Bulzoni, 1977).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_003

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classical culture – for example, when 14th-century scholars read Vitruvius, or in the rediscovery of the Roman world through the study of ancient monuments4 – only during the second half of the 15th century did a different kind of affinity with the culture of antiquity emerge.5 The differing approaches to the classical world in the medieval and Renaissance periods can best be appreciated by taking into account the more detached position in the latter, which developed into a new approach to antiquity, by then a separate and autonomous culture, which required knowledge to recover it.6 In Italian cities, resisting innovation and at the same time mixing the old with the new were two attitudes that endured for a long time, as shown in more recent studies of 15th-century architecture.7 Resistance to novitas, owing to the weight of a “constraining” tradition, was expressed in different types of building characteristic of the 15th century: from outer walls to sanctuaries and, in particular, public palaces.8 This conservatism was also manifest in the reuse of the architectural language of the Middle Ages during the early modern period, when the persistence of the “Gothic tradition” became explicit not only in how pre-existing buildings were completed – owing to understandable ­reasons of concinnitas – but also in the construction of buildings ex novo.9 4 On these questions, see the recent monograph by Carlo Tosco, Petrarca: paesaggi, città, architetture (Macerata: Quodlibet Studio, 2011), 22–23, 44–53 and Maurizio Bettini, “Tra Plinio e Sant’Agostino: Francesco Petrarca nelle arti figurative”, in Memoria dell’Antico nell’arte italiana. I. L’uso dei classici, ed. Salvatore Settis (Turin: Einaudi, 1984), 222–270. 5 Erwin Panofsky, “La prima pagina del Libro di Vasari”, in Il significato delle arti visive (Turin: Einaudi, 1962) [1930], 189–193; idem Rinascimento e Rinascenze nell’arte occidentale (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1971). 6 Salvatore Settis has suggested a reading of the relationship between antiquity and the Middle Ages through the concepts of continuity, distance and knowledge, see Salvatore Settis, “Continuità, distanza, conoscenza. Tre usi dell’antico”, in Memoria dell’Antico nell’arte italiana. iii. Dalla tradizione all’archeologia, ed. Salvatore Settis (Turin: Einaudi, 1984), 413–486. 7 Francesco Paolo Fiore, “Introduzione”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana. Il Quattrocento, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore (Milan: Electa, 1998), 9–35; Richard Schofield, “Antico e Nuovo in architettura”, in Nuovi antichi. Committenti, cantieri, architetti 1400–1600, ed. idem, Documenti di architettura. 157 (Milan: Electa, 2004): 7–16; Manfredo Tafuri, Ricerca del Rinascimento. Principi, città, architetti (Turin: Einaudi, 1992); Architettura e identità locali, eds. Lucia Corrain and Francesco Paolo Di Teodoro (Florence: Olschki, 2014). 8 Elena Svalduz, “Riflessioni a margine”, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa. Luoghi, spazi e architetture, eds. Donatella Calabi and Elena Svalduz (Vicenza: Angelo Colla editore, 2010), xxiii–xxx. 9 Giorgio Simoncini, “La persistenza del gotico dopo il Medioevo. Periodizzazione ed orientamenti figurativi”, in La tradizione medievale nell’architettura italiana dal xv al xviii secolo, ed. idem (Florence: l.s. Olschki, 1992), 1–26.

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The dialogue between innovation and resistance to the new within the tradition becomes crucial if we consider not only the decorative language (with the  reuse of classical elements) but also the structural aspects tied to the ­substitution of Gothic frameworks with continuous walls in an all’antica arrangement. Much has been written about the medieval heritage in relation to the classical architectonic and figurative language in the field of religious architecture.10 Many studies have used this mixture of old and new as the key to interpreting some of this Renaissance architecture, referring in particular to the works of Leon Battista Alberti, Donato Bramante and Filippo Brunelleschi.11 More generally, traces of the enduring vitality of the medieval style have often been detected, capable of stimulating creativity, and of generating new ideas, suggestions, and paths for exploration, and of being developed, transformed, and 10

11

Such observations have already been made by Christoph L. Frommel, “Abitare all’antica: il Palazzo e la Villa da Brunelleschi a Bramante”, in Rinascimento da Brunelleschi a Michelangelo. La rappresentazione dell’architettura, eds. Henry A. Millon, Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani (Milan: Bompiani, 1994), 183–203. The Venetian religious context has been reconstructed in I Lombardo. Architettura e scultura a Venezia tra ʼ400 e ʼ500, eds. Andrea Guerra, Manuela Morresi and Richard Schofield (Venice: Marsilio, 2006). On Alberti’s religious architecture in relation to medieval architecture, see Arturo Calzona, “Tempio/ basilica e la religione ‘civile’ di Alberti”, in Leon Battista Alberti e l’architettura, eds. Massimo Bulgarelli et al. (Cinisello Balsamo: SilvanaEditoriale, 2006), 63–97, with a rich bibliography. The bibliography on these authors is vast. See amongst others: Leon Battista Alberti. Architetture e Committenti, eds. Arturo Calzona et al. (Florence: Olschki, 2009), 2 vols., esp. Arturo Calzona, “Leon Battista Alberti e il Medioevo”, 649–662; Howard Burns, “Leon Battista Alberti”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana, ed. Fiore, 120–126; Francesco Paolo Fiore, Leon Battista Alberti (Milan: Electa, 2012), 12–15; Arnaldo Bruschi, “Brunelleschi e la nuova architettura fiorentina”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana, ed. Fiore, 38–112; Paul Davies, “Observations on Alberti’s Attitude to Late Medieval Architecture”, in Raising the Eyebrow: John Onians and World Art Studies. An Album Amicorum in His Honor, ed. by Lauren Golden (Oxford: Archeopress Publishers of British Archaeological Reports, 2010), 43–65; idem, Filippo Brunelleschi (Milan: Electa, 2006); Filippo Brunelleschi la sua opera e il suo tempo, ed. Franco Borsi (Florence: Centro Di, 1980), 2 vols.; Simoncini, “La persistenza del gotico”, 1–50; Christoph L. Frommel, Architettura alla corte papale nel Rinascimento (Milan: Electa, 2003), esp. the chapter entitled “Bramante: struttura, aggetto e la tradizione medievale”, 193–214, and idem, “Bramante: struttura, aggetto e tradizione medievale”, in Presenze medievali, ed. Simoncini, 47–62. On Bramante in Lombardy and in general on 15th century religious architecture in Lombardy, see Luisa Giordano, “Milano e l’Italia nord-occidentale”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana, ed. Fiore, 166–199; Bramante milanese e l’architettura del Rinascimento lombardo, eds. Christoph Luitpold Frommel, Luisa Giordano and Richard V. Schofield (Venice: Marsilio, 2002).

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revitalized by innovative architects. Thus, in some cases, the combination of old and new yielded results with great vivacity and creative force.12 The ‘masters of the Quattrocento’ are credited with the ability to combine their Roman and medieval heritage – the result of in-depth historical knowledge spanning from the early Christian period to the Gothic – with a new architectural language which incorporated well-established and recognized elements of architecture.13 This interpretation, which places the architectural culture of the Middle Ages and that of the classical period on the same level – seen especially in Alberti’s works – does not seem to be taken into consideration by more recent studies, which are rather more concerned with identifying possible models and sources in order to clarify some of the specific solutions used.14 The historiography contains a great many studies focusing on the pre-­ existence of medieval structures in religious architecture in the Renaissance. There seem to be fewer such studies of civic architecture, which is often limited to detailed analyses of the transformations undergone by individual buildings.15 12

13

14

15

Arnaldo Bruschi who suggests distinguishing an “enduring vitality” (persistenze vitali) from the “passive continuities”, refers to Sienese, Lombard and Venetian contexts where the works of innovators such as Francesco di Giorgio, Leonardo, Bramante and Sansovino are very interesting in the way medieval styles are combined with all’antica projections. See idem, “Presenze medievali in età moderna: problemi”, in Presenze medievali, Simoncini ed., 319. For Alberti, see Arturo Calzona, “Tempio/basilica”, 89 and idem, “Leon Battista Alberti e il Medioevo”, 649–650; Anke Naujokat, Leon Battista Alberti and the Consonance of Old and New, Proceedings of the 2nd International Meeting European Architectural History Network (eahn), eds. Hilde Heynen and Janina Gosseye (Brussels: Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van Belgie voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten, 2012), 182–184. Christine Smith, “Alberti’s Description of Florence Cathedral and Architectural Criticism”, in Architecture in the Culture of Early Humanism. Ethics, Aesthetics and Eloquence 1400–1470 (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 80–97; Paul Davies, “Observations on Alberti’s Attitude to Late Medieval Architecture”, in Raising the Eyebrow: John Onians and World Art Studies. An Album Amicorum in His Honor, ed. Lauren Golden (Oxford: Archeopress Publishers of British Archaeological Reports, 20101), 43–65; Markus Brandis, “La maniera tedesca. Eine Studie zum historischen Verständnis der Gotik im Italien der Renaissance”, in Geschichtsschreibung, Kunsttheorie und Baupraxis (Weimar: vdg Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, 2001), 69–76; Howard Burns, “Quattrocento Architecture and the Antique: Some Problems”, in Ralph Robert Bolgar, Classical Influence on European Culture, 500–1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 273–274. Of the many studies on the urban context of the 15th century, the relationship between the space of the piazza and the princely palace plays an important role in the historiography. See the recent contributions in: In mezzo a un dialogo. La piazza di Carpi dal Rinascimento ad oggi, eds. Andrea Giordano, Manuela Rossi and Elena Svalduz (Carpi:

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Some studies have focused on specific types of building, from public buildings to villas, where specific architectural and compositional elements have been traced back to a medieval tradition.16 However, on the palaces and residences of local nobility and princes, although there is a plethora of monographs, not many contain comparisons describing the interactions between pre-existing structures and 15th-century innovation.17

16

17

apm, 2012) on some northern Italian towns, as well as the articles in this volume on Imola, Urbino, Carpi, Ferrara, Saluzzo, Florence and Rome. On civic architecture, Franco Cardini and Sergio Ravezzi, Palazzi pubblici di Toscana: i centri minori (Florence: Sansoni, 1983), 48–53, 62–64, 101–104. Maria Caterina Faina, I palazzi comunali umbri (Milan-Verona: Mondadori, 1957), 133–135; Nicolai Rubinstein, “Palazzi pubblici e palazzi privati al tempo del Brunelleschi, problemi di storia politica e sociale”, in Filippo Brunelleschi: la sua opera e il suo tempo (Florence: Centro Di, 1980), vol. I, 28–29 and idem, The Palazzo Vecchio. 1298–1532. Government, Architecture, and Imagery in the Civic Palace of the Florentine Republic (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1995), 49, 104–106. On the Renaissance reinterpretation of the medieval system of having two contiguous piazzas (Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza Broletto) in Alberti’s projects for Mantua, see Flavia Cantatore, “Leon Battista Alberti a Mantova: proposte architettoniche al tempo della Dieta”, in Il sogno di Pio ii e il viaggio da Roma a Mantova, eds. A. Calzona et al. (Florence: Olschki, 2003), 443–455. For the Italian context with an eye to the broader European situation, see Il Rinascimento italiano, eds. Calabi and Svalduz. Here too the bibliography is particularly vast: see amongst others, Elena Svalduz, “Palazzi pubblici: i luoghi di governo e le sedi dell’amministrazione cittadina”, in Il Rinascimento italiano, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 125–140; Howard Burns, “Castelli travestiti? Ville e residenze di campagna nel Rinascimento italiano”, in Il Rinascimento italiano, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 465–545; James S. Ackerman, “Premessa: ville italiane del Rinascimento”, in Delizie estensi. Architetture di villa nel Rinascimento italiano ed europeo, eds. Francesco Ceccarelli and Marco Folin (Florence: Olschki, 2009), 3–15; James S. Ackerman, The Villa. Form and Ideology of Country Houses (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 82– 120; Christoph L. Frommel, “La nuova villa a Firenze e a Roma”, in Andrea Palladio e la villa veneta da Petrarca a Carlo Scarpa, eds. Guido Beltramini and Howard Burns (Venice: Marsilio, 2005) 12–29. On private buildings in Verona, Edilizia privata nella Verona rinascimentale, eds. Paola Lanaro et al. (Milan: Electa, 2000); in particular the study by Howard Burns, “Il Giuoco del Pallagio”: il palazzo nella letteratura e nella trattatistica italiana del Cinquecento”, 234–251; Daniela Zumiani, “Modelli di edilizia privata veronese tra Gotico e Rinascimento: case con cortile e scala a cielo aperto”, 307–327. Recently in the context of a broader study of the urban and country residences of the princes of the Italian courts, emphasis has been placed on the endurance of a significant variety of sources of inspiration connected to the medieval building tradition to which patrons and architects continued to refer during the first centuries of the modern era. See Marco Folin, “La dimora del principe negli stati italiani”, in Il Rinascimento italiano, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 345–365.

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Ambition and Caution: Spaces and Architecture

The process that took place over the course of the 15th century was the gradual transformation of the medieval landscape: castles, domus, and palaces became buildings that constituted the prince’s aesthetic and prestigious public image.18 During the first decades of the 15th century, the solutions found for the most complex structural parts of a building refer to the medieval tradition. The classical style infiltrated only minimally, in the form of individual elements rather than being visible in whole architectural complexes. Patrons were reluctant to abandon structures inherited from the Middle Ages, and so castles, for instance, allowed for the introduction of individual innovative elements such as all’antica portals or internal courtyards with surrounding porticoes and loggias opening onto the countryside. The second half of the 15th century saw the further development of these practices, which were adopted and reinterpreted as part of a more unified scheme, with new organization of interior spaces for houses and the construction of whole new façades. The choice of materials also reveals an innovation in line with the classical culture of patrons and architects. The restructuring of medieval castles became a dominant theme in the major projects commissioned by the Italian royal dynasties during the second half of the 15th century. Fortresses were subjected to “symbolical de-militarization” intended to attenuate the military origins of such architecture, ennobling them through redecoration and the rearrangement of the spaces to change the impression they made.19 The choices made by the nobility, such as Galeazzo Maria Sforza and Eleanor of Aragon in Milan and Ferrara respectively, followed the same interpretative schemes for the modernization of their residences.20 Castles were transformed 18

19

20

On the constituents of the historical medieval landscape, see Carlo Tosco, Il paesaggio come storia (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2007); idem, Il paesaggio storico: le fonti e i metodi di ricerca tra Medioevo ed Età moderna (Rome: Laterza, 2009). Patrick Boucheron, “ʽNon domus ista sed urbsʼ: Palais princiers et environnement urbain au Quattrocento (Milan, Mantoue, Urbino)”, in Le palais dans la ville. Espaces urbains et lieux de la puissance publique dans le Méditerranée médiévale, ed. idem and Jacques Chiffoleau (Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2004), 249–284. For Milan, see Evelyn Welch, Art and Authority in Renaissance Milan (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), 169–238; idem, “Patrons, Artists, and Audiences in Renaissance Milan 1300–1600”, in The Court Cities of Northern Italy, Milano, Parma, Piacenza, Mantua, Bologna, Urbino, Pesaro and Rimini, ed. Charles Maria Rosenberg (Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress, 2010), 26–35; Aurora Scotti, “Vicende costruttive del castello”, in Il castello sforzesco di Milano, eds. Guido Lopez et al. (Milan: Electa, 1986),

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into state-of-the-art strongholds, up to date in terms of structure and defensive elements, in accordance with the rapid evolution of firearms; at the same time they were also ducal residences, elegant and worthy of comparison with the other princely courts in Italy. This was the case with the castle in Milan, destroyed in 1450 and immediately rebuilt by Francesco Sforza21 (Figs. 2.1–2.2). Many architects and master builders were involved in its reconstruction, and they often experienced great difficulties in undertaking a project where the patron’s specific architectural choices were not clear. Francesco Sforza never abandoned the Late Gothic Lombard tradition in favour of the new all’antica building practices, relying instead on the workmanship of the master builders from the Solari entourage.22 Indeed, a mixture of caution and ambition seems to characterize the architectural choices made by the princes of the second half of the 15th century: on  the one hand, they were attracted to the new, the novitas which infused the whole humanist message; on the other, their mentalities were rooted in traditional building methods, both aesthetic and structural, based on formal, though mostly intellectual, traditions that had endured since the Middle Ages.23 These distinct approaches can be seen even in the Medici commissions, which

21

22

23

38–70; Il Castello Sforzesco di Milano, ed. Maria Teresa Fiorio (Milan: Skira, 2005); Nadia Covini, “Visibilità del principe e residenza aperta: la Corte dell’Arengo di Milano tra Visconti e Sforza”, in Il principe inVisibile, ed. A. Calzona (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), 153–172. On Eleanor of Aragon, see Marco Folin, “La corte della duchessa: Eleonora d’Aragona a Ferrara”, in Donne di potere nel Rinascimento, eds. Letizia Arcangeli and Susanna Peyronel Rambaldi (Rome: Viella, 2008), 418–512. Aspetti dell’abitare in Italia tra xv e xvi secolo. Distribuzione, funzioni, impianti, ed. Aurora Scotti Tosini (Milan: Unicopli, 2001). On the castle in Milan, see Il Castello Sforzesco di Milano, ed. Maria Teresa Fiorio (Milan: Skira, 2005), in particular the contributions by Luciano Patetta, “Il castello nell’età sforzesca (1450–1499)”, 79–99; Marco Albertario, “Ad nostro modo: La decorazione del castello nell’età di Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1466–1476)”, 99–136; Federico Cavalieri, “Altre pitture di età sforzesca”, 137–162; Maria Teresa Fiorio, “Tutto mi piace: Leonardo e il castello”, 163–190; Aurora Scotti Tosini, “Il castello in età moderna: trasformazioni difensive, distributive e funzionali”, 191–224. Luciano Patetta, L’architettura del Quattrocento a Milano (Milan: Clup, 1987); Luca Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano [Castrum Portae Jovis] sotto il Dominio dei Visconti e degli Sforza, (Milan: Hoepli, 1894), 40–53. On Bartolomeo Gadio, see Girolamo Luigi Calvi, “Bartolomeo da Cremona”, in Notizie sulla vita e sulle opere dei principali architetti…. durante il governo dei Visconti e degli Sforza, (Milan: 1859–1865), ii; Mercedes Garberi, Leonardo e il castello sforzesco di Milano (Milan: Barbera, 1982) and in this book, the article by Aurora Scotti. Maria Vitiello, La committenza medicea nel Rinascimento (Rome: Gangemi editore, 2004), 223–227.

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are divided between the use of the new – the hallmark of the family’s ambitions to dominate the city’s increasing social and political sphere – and the protective preservation of a ‘sacred civic identity’. In particular, Cosimo il Vecchio’s caution, perceptible in various ways in the works he commissioned, was based mainly on a recognition and appreciation of the independence of Florentine architectural expression which dominated Tuscany at the time, and was consciously inspired by traditional Florentine styles and practices.24 The use of the bugnato walls in the Medici Palace in Via Larga in Florence should thus be interpreted as continuing a local tradition used repeatedly in the city’s towers and public palaces.25 It is therefore very interesting to note the projecting part of the cornice, which crowns the palace and is linked to local tradition, and can be interpreted as an innovative feature corresponding to something like an ‘architrave cornice’.26 This element demonstrates Cosimo’s approach in formulating the Medicean artistic language: the new was brought in only in the form of a dialogue with tradition (consuetudo). Thus, the use of the bugnato stonework, derived from tradition, was regularized following an isodomum or pseudo-isodomum scheme, the product of the new humanist artistic message. So the figurative definition of the palace façade was conceived as a subtle and incisive innovation, playing on the dichotomy between the two terms within which it was formulated: tradition and innovation.27 One other aspect that showed a deep resistance to change, in terms of medieval modes of expression and use of space, were to be found in the presence of shops on the ground floor of palaces, which were highly reluctant to give up their space for residential occupancy. Individual decorative elements such as capitals or mullioned windows also endured and over the years continued to alternate between the round arch on the inside of the window and the partially 24

Brenda Preyer, “The ‘Chasa over Palagio’ of Alberto di Zanobi: a Florentine Palace of about 1400 and its Later Remodelling”, The Art Bulletin 65 (1983): 391–392; Francis W. Kent, “Palaces, politics and society in fifteenth-century Florence”, Tatti Studies Essays in the Renaissance 2 (1987), 41–70; Bruschi, “Brunelleschi”, 105; Riccardo Pacciani, “Firenze nella seconda metà del secolo”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana, ed. Fiore, 330–331. 25 See infra the chapter by Emanuela Ferretti. 26 “In the formal splendour of the cornice, placed to crown the palace, one can recognize a humanist interpretation of the corbel-marked crown which would seem to be linked to a  local building tradition but in actual fact is an example of a condensed entablature and  thus rather constitutes a consciously innovative feature”, Vitiello, La committenza, 152–163, 189–199. 27 On the palace, see also Bruschi, “Brunelleschi”, 105; Francesco Quinterio, “Membra “all’anticha” e vesti “selvatiche”: nell’architettura fiorentina del Quattrocento”, in La t­ radizione medievale, ed. Simoncini, 55–77.

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pointed arch on the outside; there was also the widespread practice of externally marking the different floors by an indented frieze.28 These elements perhaps qualified as “not too much ostentation”, a trait identified by Alberti in wise landowners who did not arouse the envy of others through the construction of palaces; such restraint thus became the thoughtful expression of the landowner’s dignity.29 Even in the 1460s, Florence still did not seem to have fully developed its all’antica language: for example, the façade of the Pazzi Palace shows significant and reassuring signs of the reuse of stylistic customs from the 14th century.30 Venice is a very interesting case in terms of recognizing the endurance of medieval architectural styles over the 15th century (Figs. 2.3–2.4). The deeprooted building tradition behind the architecture and use of space meant a “programmatic slowness” in the assimilation of the humanist language.31 In keeping with the choices made by the other princely courts, as far as building and decorative traditions were concerned, the Doge Francesco Foscari chose various Roman themes for some of the public commissions; for his palace on the Grand Canal (1452), however, he opted for solutions which once more employed a well-established arrangement of spaces. The task of representing the role and status of the family in Venetian society was left to the monumentality of the whole complex and its position “looking the Canal straight in the eye”.32 This half-house, half-warehouse had a tripartite plan, with the portego and storage spaces (fondaci) on each side on the ground floor, and the central reception room with symmetrical spaces on each side on the first floor. The internal layout thus preserved the usages established in Late Antiquity. 28

The most striking cases are Boni then Antinori Palace (which dates back to 1460–1465) and even more so Guadagni Palace (1503 and following) in Quinterio, “Membra “all’anticha”, 55–62. 29 Ibid., 67–68. 30 Pacciani, “Firenze nella seconda metà del secolo”, 330–331; Arnoldo Moscato, Il palazzo Pazzi a Firenze (Rome: Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale, 1963), 44–64. 31 Bianca de Divitiis, “I palazzi dei nobili e dei mercanti”, in Il Rinascimento italiano, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 449; Richard J. Goy, Building Renaissance Venice (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006). 32 Manuela Morresi, “Venezia”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana, ed. Fiore, 200–241; Ennio Concina, Tempo nuovo. Venezia e il Quattrocento (Venice: Marsilio, 2007), 222–228; Juergen Schulz, The new palaces of medieval Venice (Pennsylvania State University Press: University Park, 2004); Elisabetta Molteni, “Funzioni residenziali ed economico-mercantili nei palazzi del Canal Grande di Venezia in età moderna”, in Il mercante patrizio: palazzi e botteghe nell’Europa del Rinascimento, eds. Donatella Calabi with Silvia Beltramo (Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2008), 197–210.

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Nevertheless, when Doge Foscari had to make choices for public commissions, the use of “Roman” themes seemed to recur in the Porta della Carta, the Foscari Arch, and the mosaics of the Mascoli chapel in San Marco, which were influenced by the cross-fertilization of Gothic and humanist legacies (Fig. 2.5).

Ambition and Caution: A Real or Imaginary Defence?

The practice of building palaces “as if they were fortresses”, with turrets and crenellations which often had no defensive function, was a further enduring feature in the villas and rural princely residences of the 15th century.33 There are countless examples all over Italy, from Bologna to Rome, Ferrara, Gubbio, and Pesaro, and even the palace of Federico da Montefeltro in Urbino, where, from 1464, a complex was built without an underlying unifying, coherent design;34 here the crowning crenellation became the main unifying element of  the assorted buildings that made up the palace. In this sense, the patron acknowledged the building’s continued reference to medieval tradition, or at least did not reject it completely, despite its connotations of power and its military origin.35 Near the new church of San Marco in Rome, in the 1460s, Pietro Barbo began the construction of a palace which had crenellations, bugnato stone walls, two Gothic window, and other typical forms from the late Middle Ages, exemplified by the presence of a tower in the left corner.36 The transformation of the Cardinal Pietro Barbo’s palace into a papal residence, after his election to the papacy as Pope Paul ii in 1465, was entrusted to Francesco del Borgo. For the exteriors, he followed the model of the northern aisle of the Vatican Palace of Nicholas V with its crenellations sustained by corbels, with arched windows on the ground floor and cross-mullioned windows on the first

33

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This feature was pointed out in a recent study by Connors in “Castelli travestiti?” 465–545. The symbolic function of the crenelations and towers redeployed in Renaissance buildings as an example of a re-inserted formal mechanism has been discussed also by Massimo Bulgarelli, “Mantova: 1470 e dintorni. Alberti, Fancelli, Mantegna”, in Leon Battista Alberti e l’architettura, 121–147, 124. Arnaldo Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana. Chi era costui? Laurana, fra Carnevale, Alberti a Urbino: un tentativo di revisione”, Annali di Architettura 20 (2008): 37–81; Mary Hollingsworth, “Art patronage in Renaissance Urbino, Pesaro, and Rimini, c. 1400–1550”, in The Court Cities of Northern Italy, ed. Charles Maria Rosenberg, 325–368; in this regard, see also the article by Elena Svalduz in this book. Folin, “La dimora del principe”, 357. Christoph L. Frommel, “Roma”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana, ed. Fiore, 385.

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floor.37 In public palaces such as those of Montepulciano or Florence (at the Palazzo Vecchio) the crenellations still had a protective function as wall-walks, but here they were merely symbolic, the expression of the sovereign’s right to create and maintain a fortress.38 Over the second half of the 15th century, a specific kind of residence was identified as appropriate for a cardinal: a closed and compact block, marked by  cornices indicating the floors with cross windows and imposing corner ­towers – elements referring more to a castle and fortress than a Renaissance palace.39 A similar approach was found in Bologna under the patronage of the Bentivoglio and their ambitious project for a residential palace, which was completely destroyed in 1507. From 1459, Pagno di Lapo Portigiani built a very luxurious and ostentatious palace which occupied an entire block. The façade, with its portico made of bricks and terracotta, was closed off with a cornice crowned with crenellations, thus referring to traditional local themes (Fig. 2.6).40 In Ferrara too the regional construction traditions gave rise to a rich and original architectural language. Ercole I d’Este, in his project to expand his city residence, displayed great syntactical freedom by mixing noble elements with

37 See infra the chapter by Flavia Cantatore on the Vatican palace. On Paul ii and the Palazzo Venezia, see Anna Modigliani, Disegni sulla città nel primo Rinascimento romano: Paolo ii, (Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2009) and idem, “Francesco del Borgo: lo studio, lo studiolo e l’inventario dei beni del 1468”, RR. Roma nel Rinascimento, 2012, 187–197. Some references to the building techniques used in Roman worksites during the second half of the 15th century can be found in Pier Nicola Pagliara, “Costruire a Roma tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento. Note su continuità e tradizione”, in Storia dell’architettura come storia delle tecniche costruttive, 25–74. 38 Alberti himself defines them as symbols of tyrannical power. Leon Battista Alberti, L’architettura [De re aedificatoria], ed. Giovanni Orlandi, introduction and notes by Paolo Portoghesi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1966), 336 (i, Libro v, cap. i). 39 Claudia Conforti, “La corte vaticana e le famiglie cardinalizie a Roma”, in Il Rinascimento italiano, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 404–406. 40 Richard J. Tuttle, “Bologna”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana, ed. Fiore, 267; Simonetta Valtieri, “Il palazzo Bentivoglio a Bologna”, in Il palazzo del principe, il palazzo del cardinale, il palazzo del mercante nel Rinascimento (Rome: Gangemi, 1988), 3–32. On the Palazzo del Podestà, see Francesco Benelli, “Il palazzo del Podestà di Bologna nel Quattrocento. Storia e architettura”, in Nuovi antichi, ed. Schofield, 67–120. Bolognese construction from the 16th century with its medieval roots has been studied by Marinella Pigozzi, “Persistenze gotiche in palazzi e case bolognesi del Cinquecento”, in Persistenze medievali, ed. Simoncini, 174–185.

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an antique flavour 41 with other elements of typically medieval origin, such as crowning crenellations repainted for the occasion and shops on the ground floor. These choices implied the constant updating of local customs and traditions. The duke’s overriding intention was not to reject the characteristics of local practices but, on the contrary, to update them, legitimizing them as additional distinctive expressions of a ‘national’ language, capable of competing on equal terms with any other tradition from the other Italian courts.42 The endurance of medieval architectural features in the country residences of the Italian princes in the 15th century is evident in many examples. Indeed, it seems that medieval castles continued to serve as points of reference not only for their own residences but also in rural buildings devoted to agriculture and animal husbandry, which often retained many of the characteristics of the fortress. The choices that the Medici made for their villas are well known: the recurrent use of different types of tower, dovecotes placed at the centre of the main façade or to the sides, as well as fortifications and crenellations surrounded by external curtain walls.43 Cafaggiolo, described as a fortress in 15thcentury documents, also served as a model for new villas built by the nobility connected to the Medici,44 such as the Palazzone (1517) commissioned by Cardinal Silvio Passerini on the hill below Cortona and characterized by an imposing tower that made it stand out against the surrounding countryside.45 Towers and the castle genre continued to mark the countryside panorama throughout the 16th century, as shown by many examples in the Bologna area, in the Veneto with Villa Il Catajo in Battaglia Terme (1570–1573),46 in the area

41

Adolfo Venturi, “L’arte ferrarese nel periodo di Ercole I”, Memorie della R. Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Romagne s. 3, 6 (1888–1889): 113. 42 See infra the chapter by Marco Folin on the Este palaces. 43 Ibid. and also Vitiello, La committenza, 193–199. 44 Amanda Rhoda Lillie, Florentine Villas in the Fifteenth-Century: An Architectural and Social History (New York: Cambridge up, 2005), 105; Dale Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florentine Renaissance. The Patron’s Oeuvre (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress, 2000), 467, n. 95, Francis W. Kent, Lorenzo de’ Medici and the Art of Magnificence (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins UniversityPress, 2004); Riccardo Pacciani, “Lorenzo il Magnifico: promotore, fautore, architetto”, in Il principe architetto, eds. Arturo Calzona et al. (Florence: Olschki, 2002), 377–411. 45 Connors, “Castelli travestiti?” 473. 46 Sabine Glaser, Il Cataio: die Ikonographie einer Villa im Veneto (München: Dt. Kunstverl., 2003); Gli Estensi e il Cataio: aspetti del collezionismo tra Sette e Ottocento, eds. Elena Corradini and Giuliano Annibaletti, (Milan: Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, 2007).

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around Padua and in the Villa Trissino in Cricoli (Vicenza),47 and in the towers of Villa Ambrogiana,48 designed by Ferdinando de’ Medici in Montelupo Fiorentino. In the Lombard territory too, the delizie da reddito (revenue-­ generating properties) seemed to be based on historical models once again, displaying, even in new settlements such as Canello, near Bagnolo Mella (16th  century), the “characteristics of traditional castle architecture”.49 The exterior of Canello is in “the guise of a fortress” and has details that hark back to the style of the late Middle Ages, such as the tower over the entrance and the walls crowned with a series of multi-sectioned cantilever arches resting on ledges that suggest medieval corbels. Treatises also emphasize the endurance of medieval tradition: Leon Battista Alberti, referring to primitive country houses, describes them as castles rather than villas, criticizing the use of crenellations as a symbol of the tyrannical expression of princes.50 Giorgio Vasari points out the influence and the endurance of medieval themes in country houses which end up resembling castles, citing examples such as Cafaggiolo51 and fortresses that were genuine princely houses, such as Caprarola.52 The continuing use of towers and other defensive elements that symbolized the permanence of princely power was also made necessary, in many cases, by the isolated position of the houses. Far from the city, they were vulnerable to predatory attacks, as described by the Bolognese Pietro de’ Crescenzi at the beginning of the 14th century.53 In these cases, a tower or a high protective wall 47

James Lawson, “The building history of the Gonzaga palace at Revere”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 29 (1985) 2/3: 197–228. 48 Corinna Vasić Vatovec, L’Ambrogiana: una villa dai Medici ai Lorena, (Florence: Karta, 1984). For an overview of the Emilian villas in relation to the tradition of castle building, see Anna Maria Matteucci Armandi, “Fedeltà alla tipologia castellana nell’edilizia di villa in Emilia”, in Persistenze medievali, ed. Simoncini, 167–173. 49 Luisa Giordano, “Le delizie del reddito. Architettura per lo sfruttamento del territorio nell’Italia settentrionale”, in Delizie estensi, eds. Ceccarelli and Folin, 17–28, in particular see 25–28; Paolo Guerrini, Bagnolo Mella. Studi e documenti (Brescia: Ed. del Moretti, 1926), 195–196; Giacomo Carlo Bascapè and Carlo Perogalli, Castelli della pianura lombarda (Milan: Banco Ambrosiano, 1960), 142; Carlo Perogalli and Maria Grazia Sandri, Ville delle provincie di Bergamo e di Brescia (Milan: sisar, 1969), 251–252. 50 Alberti, L’architettura, I, 333–337, 347–357, 405–407 (book v, chap. 1, 3–5). 51 Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori e archi tettori nelle redazioni del 1550 e 1568, ed. Rosanna Bettarini (Florence: Sansoni 1966), 236. 52 Caprarola is described as “a rare and very beautiful building which has the form and position of a fortress, and has also, on its exterior, a spiral staircase”, ibid., 572. 53 “Alle quali cose fornire se la facultà del Signore non bastasse, facciasi al mancho che in uno de cantoni de la corte di ripe, & di fossi forte guarnimento si faccia: & sopra ciò si

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could guarantee security to the inhabitants of the villa, thus giving rise to a kind of country residence fortified “against hand to hand combat” as noted by Sebastiano Serlio.54 The decision to fortify rural structures therefore persisted from the late Middle Ages until the 16th century, linked not only to genuine defence requirements but often also to the wish to make an impression, following the recommendations found in treatises.

Ambition and Caution: Materials and Building Techniques

One example of medieval tradition remaining particularly widespread throughout the 15th century was the fashion for buildings built according to models dating back to the early 14th century, brought up to date by new wall coverings. This approach was determined by the fact that the new all’antica surfaces of buildings tended to follow compositional schemes or proportions that belonged to the late Middle Ages.55 During the 15th century, a number of traditional building cultures seem to endure which did not make use of new technical solutions or finishes. Of these, Venice stands out for its particular tendency towards concinnitas as well as its continuing contact with the Near East, where there was a predilection for precious materials for façades and from where marble and precious stones for columns, capitals, and other decorative elements continued to arrive. Sicily and Naples are similar cases where the presence of diverse cultures and expertise, from the Normans to the Catalans, resulted in enduring building techniques using exposed stone in locations where the influx of builders skilled in sterotomy (stone-cutting and building) from France and Spain guaranteed continuity in structural and decorative choices (Figs. 2.7–2.8). In the north and in Milan in particular, the use of brick and terracotta decoration communicated great stability. Filarete himself, for example, called to Milan by the duke in order to introduce innovations into the Milanese architectural panorama, chose, for the façade of one of his most important works – the Banco Mediceo – to use established compositional and architectural styles: on

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faccia uno batti freddo o vero torre, nella quale el padre de la famiglia con suoi lavoratori: & colle sue cose possa fuggire quando bisogno li fosse”: Pietro Crescenzio, D’Agricoltura…, In venetia, Bernardino Bindoni 1542, i, Chap. vi, cc. B v, r.v, quoted by Mario Fanti, Ville, castelli e chiese bolognesi: da un libro di disegni del Cinquecento (Bologna: Forni, 1967), 16–17. Sebastiano Serlio, Sebastiano Serlio on domestic architecture (New York: The Architectural History Foundation and Cambridge, ma: The mit Press, 1978), tab. xvi. Simoncini, “La persistenza del gotico”, 22.

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the first floor a continuous series of three-sectioned mullioned windows in terracotta interrupted only by a marble portal, often the first element to introduce new decorative features within a firmly established context56 (Fig. 2.9). In his buildings Filarete knew how to combine materials found in the region (terracotta was widely used in the castle, though with modern designs57) with other, rarer materials. He thus used marble for specific elements – for instance, the door of the Banco Mediceo or the balcony supported by corbels in the Rocchetta inside the Sforza castle in Milan – thereby reflecting the choices and tastes of the princely patrons of the second half of the century (Fig. 2.10). In Ferrara, the entire renovation of the ducal palace, commissioned by Ercole d’Este in the early years of his reign, was planned around a monumental loggia in marble displaying the four orders, whose divisions were marked by columns and huge pilasters on the ground floor.58 The use of the purest candidissimo marble, mentioned in many documents as a symbol of purity, permeated all the princely architecture of the second half of the century: Federico da Montefeltro used it for his Loggia dei Torricini; Alfonso of Aragon, ahead of his contemporaries, used it for the entrance arch for the Castel Nuovo in Naples; and at the end of the century, in the Steri in Palermo, a marble door was inserted as a renovated entrance to the palace. The use of marble also characterizes the two cities of Saluzzo and Casale Monferrato.59 The full impact of the use of this material was seen in the construction of the new marble wing in the palace of the marquis of Revello (at the end of the 15th century).60 56

Giordano, “Milano e l’Italia nord-occidentale”, 179; Filarete, Trattato di architettura, f. 192 r, Stefano Della Torre, “Costruire a Milano nel Rinascimento”, in Storia dell’architettura come storia delle tecniche costruttive, 95–116. On the Banco Mediceo, see Roberta Martinis, L’architettura contesa (Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2008), 1–32. 57 Filarete decided to use a terracotta decoration widely employed in Lombardy in the Middle Ages on the basis of a new and enriched model; it is noteworthy how of the various criticisms, one in particular was directed at the choice of material, said to be unsuitable for the harsh Milanese climate, as if it had never been used before: “Questo lavoro non sarà durabile per la freddura grande et altri mali tempi”, Iacopo da Cortona, 28 May 1452, in Patetta, “Il castello nell’età sforzesca”, 80. See Giuseppe Mazzatinti, “Inventario delle Carte dell’Archivio Sforzesco, contenute nei codici italiani 1583–1593, della Biblioteca Nazionale di Parigi”, Archivio Storico Lombardo X fasc. ii (1883): 222–326 and Antonio Averlino known as il Filarete, Trattato di architettura, ed. Anna Maria Finoli and Liliana Grassi (Milan: Ed. Il Polifilo, 1972), vol. 2, 695–698; Patetta, “Il castello nell’età sforzesca”, 80. 58 See infra the article by Marco Folin on Ferrara. 59 Francesco Paolo Di Teodoro, “L’Antico nel rinascimento casalese. Arte, architettura, ornato”, in Monferrato identità di un territorio, eds. Vera Comoli and Enrico Lusso (Alessandria: Cassa di Risparmio di Alessandria, 2005), 64–73. 60 See infra the chapter by Silvia Beltramo.

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In Bologna, towards the end of the 15th century, there was a general decline in the technical quality of the wall structures of civic buildings which contrasted with an improvement in the decorations. The introduction of sandstone – which had poor resistance to atmospheric changes – within the façades of palaces – for instance, in pilasters, columns, capitals, friezes, and cornices – reduced the former figurative importance of brick curtain walls, thereby becoming a real status symbol for princely families. The palace of Sante Bentivoglio, the lord of Bologna, was one of the first to use this sandstone for some of its architectonic elements; construction began in 1460, and it featured stone columns in the courtyard and capitals made from Istria stone in the ­portico of the façade.61 Attention to decoration and to geometrical composition was also part and parcel of the architectural culture of the 15th century in Sicily62 and the south of Italy.63 Walls with precise, stereometric compositions in ashlar produced expansive surfaces that formed the backdrop for complex structures including  doors and windows which reproduced the precision of wood carving and textiles. Superimposed static structures, Spanish in origin, were concentrated around the windows in search of grand effects, resulting in stone masses

61

62

63

See David J. Drogin, “Art, patronage, and civic identities in Renaissance Bologna”, in The Court Cities of Northern Italy, ed. Charles Maria Rosenberg, 244–324; Francesco Benelli, “Note sull’uso di pietre e mattoni nell’edilizia bolognese”, in Storia dell’architettura come storia delle tecniche costruttive, 75–94 with the relevant bibliography. For some ­considerations on the construction of porticoes, see Hans W. Hubert, “L’architettura bolognese del primo Rinascimento. Osservazioni e problemi”, in L’architettura a Bologna nel Rinascimento (1460–1550): centro o periferia?, ed. Maurizio Ricci (Bologna: Minerva, 2001), 29–46; Georgia Clarke, “Magnificence and the City: Giovanni ii Bentivoglio and architecture in fifteenth-century Bologna”, Renaissance Studies xiii 4 (1999): 397–411. For the urban context, see Rosa Tamborrino, “Bologna xv–xvi secolo. Società d’arte, potere e significati dello spazio urbano”, in Fabbriche, piazze e mercati. La città italiana nel Rinascimento, ed. Donatella Calabi (Rome: Officina, 1997), 408–456. Maria Giuffrè, “Nel Regno delle due Sicilie”, in Il Rinascimento italiano, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 419–442; Marco Rosario Nobile, Un altro rinascimento. Architettura e maestranze e cantieri in Sicilia 1458–1558 (Benevento: Hevelius, 2002). See infra the article by Marco Rosario Nobile. With later dates in comparison with the claims made in this book, but nonetheless with interesting references to 15th century Calabria, see Angela Marino, “Architettura civile del Cinquecento in Calabria e un’ipotesi di “via Mediterranea” al Rinascimento”, in Presenze medievali, Simoncini ed., 194–204. On Naples, see Andreas Beyer, “Napoli”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana, ed. Fiore, 434–460; Bianca de Divitiis, Architettura e committenza nella Napoli del Quattrocento (Venice: Marsilio, 2007).

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s­ upported by slender columns.64 The culture of marble work applied to windows has its roots in the Middle Ages, but it tended to become more elaborate, with solutions transforming the arches into a structure positioned at the end of the wall, taking the weight off the central column. Important examples can be found in the palaces of Sciacca, Palermo, Siracusa, and Randazzo.65 In the south of the Italian peninsula the architectural culture of the 15th century, dominated by the Mediterranean Gothic, was opposed by an artistic culture linked to the ancient world, which originated in the Norman period and Romanesque architecture; this was the leitmotif for the imperial commissions of Frederick ii, a sophisticated scholar of the antique and the stereometry of its architectonic compositions.66 From Castel del Monte to the castle of Lagopesole, forms revealing a taste for antiquity, also characterized by the use of multicoloured marble and other spolia, sparked a process of gradual awareness of the antique which culminated in the relationships between the master builders of Puglia and the building sites in Tuscany.67 At the same time, the 15th century also saw the consistent development of Gothic elements (ribbed groin vault ceilings in the church of San Marco in Palermo or in the church of the Purissima in Cagliari; as regards portals, that of the church of San Gregorio in Vizzini (Catania) or Corvaja palace in Taormina) marked by French and Mediterranean influences, which continued throughout the following century.68 Southern Italy seems thus to have been characterized by traditional and experimental elements seen in the coexistence of ancient repertories and new Gothic styles in highly ambitious projects, the mirror image of the many forms of architecture elsewhere in 15th-century Italy. 64

65

66 67

68

Una arquitectura gótica mediterránea, eds. Eduardo Mira and Arturo Zaragozá Catalán (Valencia: Generalitat Valenciana, Consellería de Cultura i Educació, 2003); Marco Rosario Nobile, “Gli ultimi indipendenti”, in Gli ultimi indipendenti. Architetti del gotico, eds. idem and Emanuela Garofalo (Palermo: Edizioni Caracol, 2007), 7–22. Filippo Meli, Matteo Carnilivari e l’architettura del Quattro e Cinquecento in Palermo (Rome: Fratelli Palombi, 1958), 251; Gargiani, Princìpi e costruzione, 636, n. 8; Giuseppe Bellafiore, Architettura in Sicilia (1415–1535) (Palermo: Italia Nostra, 1984), 115; Salvatore Boscarino, “L’architettura dei marmorari immigrati in Sicilia tra il Quattrocento e il Cinquecento”, Storia dell’Architettura ix 1–2 (1986): 63–88. Giuffrè, “Nel Regno delle due Sicilie”, 421–422. Exempla. La rinascita dell’antico nell’arte italiana. Da Federico ii ad Andrea Pisano, eds.  Marco Bona Castellotti and Antonio Giuliano (Pisa: Pacini Editore, 2008); Amedeo Restucci, “La Puglia e il Mezzogiorno continentale”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana, ed. Fiore, 460–469; Xavier Barral i Altet, “Alfonso il Magnanimo tra Barcellona e Napoli, e la memoria del Medioevo”, in Medioevo: immagine e memoria, ed. Arturo Carlo Quintavalle (Milano: Electa, 2009). Marco Rosario Nobile, “Gli ultimi indipendenti”, 7–22; Palermo e il gotico, eds. Emanuela Garofalo and idem (Palermo: Caracol, 2007).

Medieval Vestiges in the Princely Architecture

Figure 2.1 



45

Milan, castle of Porta Giovia. The complex defensive structures of the castle in Milan in the first half of the 16th century. Francisco de Hollanda, Il castello di Milano, c.1545, El Escorial Library, Codex Escurialensis, 28.I.20, f. 43r. With permission from the Patrimonio Nacional, Direcciòn de las Colecciones Reales – Madrid.

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Figure 2.2

Beltramo

Milan, castle of Porta Giovia. Tower of Santo Spirito with its ‘ burchioni’ walls constructed with diamond-tip ashlar stones, c.1451–1460.

Medieval Vestiges in the Princely Architecture

Figure 2.3

Venice, Matteo Raverti and Giovanni Bon, main façade of Ca’ d’Oro for Marino Contarini, from 1423.

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Figure 2.4

Beltramo

Venice, examples of Venetian gothic windows, a system using elaborate traceries to hide structural elements and give weightlessness to the building.

Medieval Vestiges in the Princely Architecture

Figure 2.5 

Venice, Ducal Palace, the Porta della Carta, Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon, from 1438.

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Figure 2.6

Bologna, the destroyed Bentivoglio palace designed and built from 1459 by Pagno di Lapo Portigianni. From Giuseppe Bosi, Archivio patrio di antiche e moderne ­rimembranze felsinee (Bologna: Tipografia delle scienze, 1855).

Figure 2.7

Taormina, Corvaja palace, the crenelations finishing off the façade which arched windows divided by a slender central column.

Medieval Vestiges in the Princely Architecture

Figure 2.8

Taormina, Corvaja palace, entrance gate to the courtyard and staircase with ogival arched gate.

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Figure 2.9

Filarete, the façade of the Banco Mediceo in Milan, with a stone gate inserted into the brickwork walls and mullioned windows at the first floor. Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Codex Magliabechiano ii.I.141, f. 192r.

Figure 2.10

Milan, castle of Porta Giovia. The ducal courtyard with the Loggetta di Benedetto Ferrini, second half of the 1460s.

chapter 3

The Princely Palace in 15th-Century Italian Architectural Theory Flavia Cantatore In the second half of the 15th century, for the first time architectural treatises described the kind of architecture fit for a prince. The very discussion of this issue is indicative of the demands made by patrons and of the possibilities offered by architects. These two elements were formulated in different ways and implemented in a period witnessing a general redefinition of institutions and administrations. The progressive transformation of Italy’s fragmented political chessboard into a more stable structure thanks to the Peace of Lodi (1454) went hand in hand with society becoming more aristocratic. The ruling classes consolidated their positions with new princely figures, though few of them could initially claim true legitimacy. The construction or renovation of their residences – combining residential functions with those of a place fit for exercising authority – played a central role in establishing the identity of a prince and the strategy chosen to display his magnificence. The palace represented the tangible image of the increasing importance in the modern era of power relationships and ideas of power.1 That image looked back to antiquity and to the history of the classical age, reflected in the name chosen as an expression of regality: palatium, a term used to describe the imperial residence on the Palatine since Augustus. It subsequently lost its specific meaning and was used to describe any manner of ‘palace’ with sovereign authority throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.2 In 15th-century Italy, ancient models were considered to be invaluable starting points in the development of modern taste. As far as architecture was 1 Alberto Tenenti, L’Italia del Quattrocento. Economia e società (Rome and Bari: Laterza 2004), 8–15; Alberto Tenenti, “Il Principe architetto”, in Il principe architetto, eds. Arturo Calzona, Francesco Paolo Fiore, Alberto Tenenti and Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2002), 1–9; Luisa Giordano, “Edificare per magnificenza. Testimonianze letterarie sulla teoria e la pratica della committenza di corte”, ibid., 215–227. 2 Gianluca Tagliamonte, “Palatium, Palatinus mons (fino alla prima età repubblicana)”, in Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae, ed. Eva Margareta Steinby (Rome: Quasar, 1999), iv, 14; Paolo Liverani, “Dal palatium imperiale al palatium pontificio”, in Rome ad 300–800. Power and Symbol – Image and reality (Rome: Bardi, 2003), 143–163; Filippo Coarelli, Palatium. Il Palatino dalle origini all’Impero (Rome: Quasar, 2012); The Emperor’s House. Palaces from

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_004

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concerned, however, this objective seemed difficult to achieve. The humanist practice of reconstructing sources of knowledge was problematic to apply: the only surviving text from a vast classical tradition of technical texts, never forgotten during the Middle Ages, was De architectura, by Vitruvius. Moreover, in Rome it was difficult to distinguish the chronology of different parts of 15thcentury residential buildings, as they had been much transformed since Roman times, while the late Republican house that Vitruvius mentions had by then completely disappeared.3 Examining the remains of great monuments and identifying them was very complicated; thus the compositional details of Renaissance palaces often derived from various different models and not from domestic examples of the Roman world. Thus, the inspiration for façades tended to come from public rather than private buildings, whose typical appearance (namely simple, since entirely made of bricks) was unknown to humanist architects, though the design of façades was a distinct and characteristic subject, inspired by antiquity.4 We should also recall that the 15th-century conceptualizations of the theme of the residence did not benefit from archaeological knowledge: the idea of the ‘Roman house’ can be traced back to the excavations in Herculaneum and Pompeii during the 18th century, and only after that time was the structure of the house properly understood. Research on ancient architecture and in particular on the domus was thus pursued to a great extent on the basis of literary sources, but this was not an end in itself. In fact, the originality of the inventions of Leon Battista Alberti, Michelozzo, Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Giuliano da Sangallo did not lie in the archaeological reconstruction of forms from the past, but rather in their use of the past linked to the history of the different towns in which they worked, in order to produce a new form of architecture: they devised an all’antica language to satisfy the requirements of the time, breathing life into a creative interpretation of the models (both theoretical and concrete) rather than producing mere imitations of them.5 Renaissance studies of the Roman house were pursued following parallel lines of research in architecture, philology, and antiquarianism. The interaction Augustus to the Age of Absolutism, eds. Michael Featherstone, Jean-Michel Spieser, Gülru Tanman and Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), with bibliography. 3 On the evolution of the residence in the Republican period, see Emidio De Albentiis, La casa dei Romani (Milan: Longanesi, 1990). 4 On the question of the Renaissance palace façade, see Charles Burroughs, The Italian Renaissance Palace Façade. Structures of Authority, Surfaces of Sense (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Georgia Clarke, Roman house – Renaissance palaces. Inventing Antiquity in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 179–227. 5 Clarke, Roman house – Renaissance palaces.

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between architects, humanists, and patrons produced residences appropriate to the self-representation requirements of the power elites. As with construction practices, architectural treatises also show how the ancient examples were essential in the creation of an innovative style. At the same time, these written sources allow us to measure the extent to which design awareness reflected the modern concept of comfort in the princely home: namely, the appropriate definition of the interior spaces (the number of rooms and their dimensions) and exterior spaces (the design of the façade, the possible need for defensive devices, considerations relating to the courtyard and the garden), as well as ornamentation and the best kind of furniture. Compared with other topics, the prince and his residence are given a remarkably central place in the treatises. For Alberti, the influence of the prince’s action on the development of the forma urbis is clear and seen in the structure of the prince’s palace, which seemed to constitute a sort of ideal multiple of the other city structures and was therefore capable of influencing urban transformation.6 This influence was also determined by the relationship between the building and the surrounding public spaces, the Vitruvian forum, as was the case in Mantua, Ferrara, Imola, and later Vigevano and Carpi. Just as critical was the link with the defensive system: in this respect we can recall the papal palaces in the Vatican or Castello Sismondo in Rimini, which form part and parcel of the defensive walls of the city. The production of theoretical material, but especially designs, namely ideas that were selected and tested, points to an ever more knowledgeable and demanding patronage, and an expansion of the decision-making role of the prince. At the beginning of the modern era, in conjunction with the gradual evolution of the institutions and governance practices, those who held the reins of power were also by necessity architects, in the sense that they were required to imagine solutions in step with the times for residential and administration needs – both being reflections of their authority. At the same time, however, the suggestions proposed by architects expressed their awareness of their intellectual and professional role at an important historical moment in the growing recognition of the autonomy of the artist. The treatises, the typical expression of a scientific mentality that emerged during the Renaissance, reveal the authors’ wish that they be used to make their work known to princes eager to gather advice from experts as well as from other princes. There are several testimonies of architects who met patrons, taking with them the results 6 Leon Battista Alberti, L’architettura [De re aedificatoria], Latin text and translation by Giovanni Orlandi, introduction and notes by Paolo Portoghesi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1966), i, 333, 341 (bk. v, chap. 1, 2).

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of their theoretical works. In 1452 Leon Battista Alberti showed Nicholas v the first version (provisional and incomplete) of the De re aedificatoria and thus displayed his knowledge of architecture.7 Leonardo da Vinci, active in the city of Ludovico il Moro, demonstrated to the latter his own engineering prowess by means of an illustrated manuscript;8 he thus became part of a continuous tradition linking Florence, Urbino, and Milan through an interest in machines which was widespread throughout the 15th century. In a similar manner, exalting his own qualities as an ingegnario, Francesco di Giorgio gave Duke Federico, probably on his arrival in Urbino in 1476, the Opusculum de architectura,9 a codex with no text (except for the dedication to the duke) but with drawings of machines and fortresses. The architectural treatise also contributed to the circulation and exchange of modern humanist models within a cultural territory characterized by striking regional differences but which was often capable nevertheless of being seen as a single entity by virtue of a shared Roman history, given that the whole of Italy was covered by the ruins of ancient monuments. Moreover, notebooks and architectural drawings, whether single pages or assembled in some way, constituted collections that aspired to become complete state-of-the-art accounts of the most important ideas on the subject. In addition, the different kinds of transmission of knowledge identified specific areas of competence: the architect-‘writer’ was distinguished from the architect who only designed. Naturally, the influence of the arrival of the printing press on the circulation of the entire theoretical corpus just described must be taken into account. Other important contributions in literary and technical circles were relevant too. 7 This information comes from the Pisan chronicler, Mattia Palmieri: “Leo Baptista Albertus vir ingenio praeditus acuto et perspicaci bonisque artibus et doctrina exculto, eruditissimos a se scriptos de architectura libros pontifici ostendit”, Matthiae Palmerii Pisani “Opus de temporibus suis ab anno 1449 ad annum 1482”, in Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, ed. Giuseppe Maria Tartini, i (Florentiae: ex Typ. P. Cajetani Viviani, 1748), coll. 239–278: 241, and has been commented on by Manfredo Tafuri, Ricerca del Rinascimento. Principi, città, architetti (Turin: Einaudi, 1992), 64; there is also a more in-depth explanation of the meaning of the verb ostendere used by Palmieri in Massimo Miglio, “Restauri. Palmieri, Alberti e Manetti: opere a confronto”, in Leon Battista Alberti. Architetture e committenti, eds. Arturo Calzona, Joseph Connors, Francesco Paolo Fiore and Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2009), 489–512. 8 Paris, Institut de France, Ms. B. Pietro C. Marani, Leonardo da Vinci, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. lxiv (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 2005), 440–459, in particular 443–445, with bibliography. 9 London, British Museum, cod. 187 b 21 (Harley 3281). Francesco Paolo Fiore, “Francesco di Giorgio di Martino”, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. xlix (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1997), 753–759, especially 754, with bibliography.

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Biographies such as the Vita Nicolai quinti by Giannozzo Manetti or treatises from the early 16th century, such as the De Cardinalatu by Paolo Cortesi or its lay counterpart Il Cortigiano by Baldassarre Castiglione, provided descriptions, or at least detailed suggestions, of the kinds of places intended for the exercise of power. Similarly, from the dedication to Brunelleschi in the De pictura10 we can see the extent to which, for Alberti, painting took on a primary role in the exploration of new means of all’antica construction. Painting provided architecture with compositional schemes and details, particularly useful to illustrate discussion of the architectural orders, especially with reference to façades. Relevant contributions were also provided by Francesco Maria Grapaldi with his De partibus aedium,11 quite a successful work in its time, which constituted a veritable lexicon of the terminology relating to the ancient house, written with rigorous philological precision. Finally, though the process of the creation/change of the princely residence came about gradually, as mentioned, and with a certain delay compared with other European monarchies and princedoms, the genuine architectural treatises – those by Alberti, Filarete, and Francesco di Giorgio – were all written during the second half of the 15th century. The De re aedificatoria was certainly the main reference for this entire period, but we should not forget the dynamic role played throughout the 15th century by Vitruvius’ De architectura.12 The 10

11

12

Leon Battista Alberti, De Pictura, in Opere volgari, vol. iii, Trattati d’arte, Ludi rerum ma­thematicarum, Grammatica della Lingua Toscana, Opuscoli amatori, Lettere, ed. Cecil Grayson (Bari: Laterza, 1973), 7–8. Francesco Maria Grapaldi, De Partibus Aedium ([Parma]: Angelus Ugoletus, [1494?]); the work has been edited a number of times, see Anna Siekiera, “Grapaldo (Grapaldi), Francesco Mario (Maria)”, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. lviii (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 2002), 561–563. Pier Nicola Pagliara, “Vitruvio da testo a canone”, in Memoria dell’antico nell’arte italiana, ed. Salvatore Settis, iii (Turin: Einaudi 1986), 3–85. The ‘discovery’ of the De architectura by Vitruvio presumably took place, according to the account of Cencio de’ Rustici, in 1416 in San Gallo thanks to Poggio Bracciolini, see Remigio Sabbadini, Le scoperte dei codici latini e greci ne’ secoli xiv e xv, a reproduction with new additional elements and corrections by the authors, ed. Eugenio Garin (Florence: Sansoni, 1967), 77–79; Lucia A. Ciapponi, “Vitruvius”, in Catalogus translationum et commentariorum: mediaeval and renaissance latin translations and commentaries, vol. iii (Washington d.c.: Catholic University of America Press, 1976), 401. It is impossible here to give an account of the vast literature on Vitruvius; see at least (with rich bibliography) Pierre Gros, Vitruve et la tradition des traités d’architecture: fabrica et ratiocinatio (Rome: École française de Rome, 2006); Liisa Kanerva, Between science and drawings: Renaissance architects on Vitruvius’s educational ideas (Helsinki: Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 2006); Vitruvio e il disegno di architettura, ed. Paolo Clini (Venice: Marsilio, 2012). For English translations of his De architectura, see

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interest in this work, written between 30 and 20 bc, based on a Hellenistic anthology and dedicated to Augustus, became widespread among humanists through Petrarch and his circle and then spread to architects, figurative artists, and even patrons once the importance of Vitruvius’ systematic project was understood. However, this lengthy work, comprising ten volumes, made for difficult reading owing to the plethora of Greek terms and obscure meanings,13 but also because the drawings referred to in the text had not been preserved. An obvious case of the problems of approaching the text, which often gave rise to differing if not opposing interpretations, can be found in the discussion of the domus to which book vi is mostly devoted (Fig. 3.1).14 One of the most debated questions in the reconstruction of the structure of the Roman house is the form of the courtyard (atrium): a public space considered the most important in the house and indicative of the social rank of the patron, which could be used in both palaces and villas. The heart of family life and representational space, the atrium was considered by Vitruvius as a distinctive element of an Italian kind of residence (Italica consuetudo)15 ruling out its derivation from the Greek world.16 Vitruvius, Ten books on architecture, translation by Ingrid D. Rowland, commentary and illustrations by Thomas Noble Howe with additional commentary by Ingrid D. Rowland and Michael J. Dewar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Vitruvius on architecture ed. Thomas Gordon Smith, emendation by Stephen Kellogg of the English translation of The ten books on architecture by Morris Hicky Morgan, new renderings by Thomas Gordon Smith and Matthew Aaron Rosenshine (New York: Monacelli Press, 2003); and Vitruvius on architecture, translated by Richard Schofield, with an introduction by Robert Tavernor (London: Penguin Books, 2009). 13 In this respect, Alberti’s words are revealing: “[…] res autem ipsa in sese porrigenda neque Latinum neque Graecum fuisse testetur, ut par sit non scripsisse hunc nobis, qui ita scripserit, ut non intelligamus”, Alberti, L’architettura, ii, 441 (bk. vi, chap. 1). 14 Vitruvius, De architectura, ed. Pierre Gros, translation and commentary by Antonio Corso and Elisa Romano (Turin: Einaudi, 1997), vol. ii (bk. vi); and Vitruvius, De l’architecture Livre vi, texte établi, traduit et commenté par Louis Callebat (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2004), with bibliography. 15 Vitruvius, De architectura, vol. ii, 842 (bk. vi, chap. 3, 10). The traditional centrality of the atrium must still have been felt at the time of Vitruvius, though its use had been eliminated by the widespread insertion of the peristylium (also described by Vitruvius, bk. vi, chap. 3, 7); possible references to previous treatises have been considered, in particular to Varro, see Vitruvius, De architectura, vol. ii, 808–809. As for the aristocratic Roman home as a place of power, in addition to the private spaces, see Annapaola Zaccaria Ruggiu, Spazio privato e spazio pubblico nella città romana (Rome: École française de Rome, 1995), 319–326; also, Andrea Carandini, Le case del potere nell’antica Roma (Rome and Bari: Laterza 2010), 3–17, 293–298. 16 Vitruvio, De architectura, vol. ii, 850 (bk. vi, chap. 7, 1).

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He also described it as the organizational heart of the residence, with five different possible variations: Tuscan (i.e. traditional), Corinthian and Tetrastyle, colonnaded, and finally the displuviato and testudinato types – with, respectively, pitched and shell-type roofs – which differed from the more common roof with an opening (compluvium) directed to the basin at the centre of the floor intended to collect rainwater (impluvium), which had the additional function of a light well.17 The atrium was set up according to pre-established ratios that also linked it to other adjacent spaces: laterally to the two wings, or alae, from the entrance to the vestibulum, a covered space where clients would wait to be received by the master of the house, and from the diametrically opposite door, the tablinum, an open space proportionate to the dimensions of the atrium and for this reason considered an appendix to it.18 The fact that terms such as atrium and cavum aedium were used almost synonymously,19 without any explanation, as well as the difficulty of understanding and identifying the other terms associated with them (in particular, vestibulum, called andito in the 16th century),20 made the comprehension of form and function at the heart of the Roman house an arduous task for Renaissance architects.

Leon Battista Alberti

An in-depth answer to the laborious interpretation of Vitruvius’ De architectura was provided by the De re aedificatoria. Leon Battista Alberti began work on it around 1443 and continued perhaps throughout his lifetime, until his death in 1472.21 17 Vitruvio, De architectura, vol. ii, 836 (bk. vi, chap. 3, 1–2). 18 Vitruvio, De architectura, vol. ii, 836–840 (bk. vi, chap. 3, 3–6). 19 In the Roman house, the two terms indicate the internal courtyard. Vitruvius however uses the word atrium to indicate the courtyard, whereas he prefers to use cavum aedium for the cover: Vitruvius, De architectura, vol. ii, 892–893 n. 78, 913 n. 100 (also for the ­etymology of atrium). 20 On the discussion amongst the humanists, see Linda Pellecchia, “Architects Read Vitruvius: Renaissance Interpretations of the Atrium of the Ancient House”,  Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians li 4 (1992): 381–387; Clarke, Roman house – Renaissance palaces, 85–125. 21 Recalling the death of Alberti in 1472, Mattia Palmieri mentions the manuscript of the treatise found beside its author, which might suggest that it was the only copy he had worked on until his dying day and that the work had not yet been circulated, see Anna Modigliani, “Ad urbana tandem edificia veniamus. La Vita Nicolai quinti di Giannozzo Manetti: una rilettura”, in Leon Battista Alberti. Architetture e committenti, eds. Calzona,

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Alberti’s treatise appears clearly linked to Vitruvius’ in the use of a ten-­ volume structure and some of its contents. Nevertheless, the aim was completely new, thanks to Alberti’s critical stance with regard to the models:22 through the study of a vast number of examples, constructed or described by ancient authors, he developed an original synthesis capable of withstanding comparison with the models of the past.23 Written in Latin and with no illustrations, the De re aedificatoria was not intended solely for architects; at first it was mainly circulated among cultivated patrons of the arts – humanists – who needed a selective and reasoned collection of criteria with which to pursue their architectural projects. The extraordinary importance of the work, for its theoretical engagement and for its precocity, led to it being printed in Florence as early as 1485 in the editio princeps with an introduction by Angelo Poliziano and a dedication to Lorenzo il Magnifico; it thus acquired a broader readership among artists and architects. Alberti emphasized the social worth of architecture, claiming that architecture benefited humanity both in public and in private and that it was first among all other art forms, being capable of combining utility with beauty.24 This viewpoint conferred great dignity on the architect, who was not just the exponent of a manual skill, but who possessed a method which he used to design and invent by drawing in plan, elevation, and section. The architect was  thus established as a professional figure, full of inventiveness and culture,  capable of creations that intertwined the lessons of the past with the requirements of contemporary society and which were both useful and in Connors, Fiore and Vasoli, 542; Anna Modigliani, “Per la datazione del De re aedificatoria. Il codice e gli archetipi dell’Alberti”, Albertiana xvi (2013), 91–110, with bibliography. 22 Howard Burns, “Leon Battista Alberti”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana. Il Quattrocento, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore (Milan: Electa, 1998), 120–126; Alina A. Payne, The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance. Architectural Invention, Ornament, and Literary Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 34–51; Anthony Grafton, Leon Battista Alberti. Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000), especially 261–292, with bibliography; Francesco Paolo Fiore, Leon Battista Alberti (Milan: Electa, 2012), 12–15. 23 “Nihil usquam erat antiquorum operum, in quo aliqua laus elucesceret, quin ilico ex eo pervestigarem, siquid possem perdiscere. Ergo rimari omnia, considerare, metiri, lineamentis picturae colligere nusquam intermittebam, quoad funditus, quid quisque attulisset ingenii aut artis, prehenderem atque pernoscerem; eoque pacto scribendi laborem levabam discendi cupiditate atque voluptate”, Alberti, L’architettura, ii, 443 (bk. vi, chap. 1). 24 Alberti, L’architettura, i, 7–15 (prologue). Alberti describes beauty as concinnitas, i.e. as harmony between all the members of a unit which the latter are parts of, whilst ornamentation is but additions, see Alberti, L’architettura, i, 447–449 (bk. vi, chap. 2).

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­ armony with nature: the result of a personal intellectual endeavour.25 In the h preparation of a project, Alberti identified an analogous procedure, which linked smaller interventions to larger ones: i.e. the city could be seen as a great house and vice versa. Thus, almost all the constitutive elements of one could be found in the other.26 Similarly, public and private buildings, linked to the individual and collective structure of mankind, had to be adapted to both individual and collective needs, reflecting the differences between social classes in their diverse solutions.27 Cities would be shaped according to the political regime by which they were governed: the righteous ruler would have a city built in concentric circles around his palace, fortified as a defence against enemies, whereas the tyrant would have a menacing fortress built to instil fear in his people, straddling many circles of the city walls, as he needed to protect himself both from his own citizens and from outsiders.28 The house had to be all’antica, a central theme for the whole of the Renaissance.29 As has been mentioned, at the time of Alberti, the Roman domus as described by Vitruvius no longer existed, nor was it possible to refer to the compendium of archaeological knowledge which only became available a few centuries later. The models used at the time were the great public palaces of the 13th and 14th centuries, themselves influenced by the past and Vitruvius, while the word atrium may have been taken from the word for the colonnaded courtyard in front of early Christian churches; the latter was also known as paradiso, and one example is found in the basilica of Saint Peter.30 The mix of 25 Alberti, L’architettura, i, 7–9 (prologue), ii, 849–867 (bk. ix, chap. 9–11). Christof Thoenes, “Postille sull’architetto nel De re aedificatoria”, in Leon Battista Alberti architettura e cultura (Florence: Olschki, 1999), 27–32. 26 Alberti, L’architettura, i, 338 (bk. v, chap. 2). 27 Alberti, L’architettura, i, 265–273 (bk. iv, chap. 1); 333 (bk. v, chap. 1). On this principle, referred to repeatedly in the architectural treatises of the 16th century, see Marco Folin, “Quartieri nobiliari in Italia fra tardo medioevo e prima età moderna”, in Marquer la ville. Signes, traces, empreintes du pouvoir (XIIIe–XVIIe siècle), eds. Patrick Boucheron and JeanPhilippe Genet (Rome: École française de Rome, 2013), 83–108. 28 Alberti, L’architettura, i, 333–337, 347–357 (bk. v, chap. 1, 3–5). 29 Hubertus Günther, “La concezione delle case private nel De re aedificatoria”, in Leon Battista Alberti teorico delle arti e gli impegni civili del “De re aedificatoria”, eds. Arturo Calzona, Francesco Paolo Fiore, Alberto Tenenti and Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2003), ii, 787–813. 30 Kenneth J. Conant, “The After-life of Vitruvius in the Middle Ages”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians xxvii 1 (1968): 33–38; Pellecchia, “Architects Read Vitruvius”, 382, 388; Günther, “La concezione delle case private nel De re aedificatoria”, 808; Hubertus Günther, “Dal Palazzo di Mecenate a Palazzo Farnese: la concezione rinascimentale della casa antica”, in Aspetti dell’abitare in Italia tra xv e xvi secolo. Distribuzione, funzioni,

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forms with domestic and religious usages, moreover, began during the Middle Ages and continued until the 16th century. An all’antica house must have a courtyard, a statement affirmed and reaffirmed during the 16th century as prescribed by Serlio when discussing the residence of a Venetian nobleman.31 Alberti understood that Vitruvius had used the two words atrium and cavum aedium with the same meaning.32 Disregarding the difference, which would only be resolved later by Cesare Cesariano, Leon Battista refered to the courtyard as sinum, the heart, thus overcoming the terminological difficulties encountered by the humanists.33 Its centrality was compared to that of the forum in the city, with all the other spaces receiving light and air from it and arranged around it: the bedrooms, the dining rooms and the reception room – the quantity and dimensions of which distinguished the prince’s palace from all other buildings, given that the palace

31

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i­ mpianti, ed. Aurora Scotti Tosini (Milan: Unicopli 2001), 230–232; in addition, see Christoph L. Frommel, “Abitare all’antica: il Palazzo e la Villa da Brunelleschi a Bramante”, in Rinascimento da Brunelleschi a Michelangelo. La rappresentazione dell’architettura, eds. Henry Millon and Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani (Milan: Bompiani, 1994), 183–203. Sebastiano Serlio, Architettura civile. Libri sesto settimo e ottavo nei manoscritti di Monaco e di Vienna, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore, foreword and notes by Tancredi Carunchio and Francesco Paolo Fiore (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1994), 136 (bk. vi, f. 53v): “[...] una casa, per grande et ricca ch’ella sia, non avendo nel mezzo una corte con le loggie intorno, io non la chiamarò giamai casa di un nobile, ma di privato gentiluomo”. The term cavum is neuter in Vitruvius while in Alberti it is feminine, cava, as is clear from the citation in the note below. “Omnium pars primaria ea est, quam, seu cavam aedium seu atrium putes dici, nos sinum appellabimus; proxima veniunt coenacula; subinde habentur, quae singulorum sunt, cubicula; postrema existant conclavia; reliqua ipsis ex rebus notescunt. Itaque sinus pars erit primaria, in quam caetera omnia minora membra veluti in publicum aedis forum confluant, ex quave non aditus modo commodissimus verum et luminum etiam commoditates aptissime importentur. Hinc apparet sinum quenque sibi optare amplum spatium apertum dignum promptum. Sed sinu alii contenti uno sunt, alii plures producere prosecuti sunt, hosque aut quoque undique altis parietibus aut partim praealtis partim humilioribus parietibus conclusere. Et voluere alibi opertos esse tecto, alibi sub divo, alibi partim opertos partim nudos; alibi uno latere, alibi pluribus, alibi omnibus lateribus porticum adiunxere; alibi in solo coadaequatos, alibi subtestudinato posuere pavimento. […] Patebitque in medium sinum aditus et vestibulum, honestissimus, minime arctus, mi­­ nime arduus, minime obscurus. Aderitque primario obtutu religioni dicatum sacrarium cum ara propalam, quo loci ingressus hospes religionem ineat amiciciae, et domum pater familias repetens, pacem a superis et suorum tranquillitatem poscat: istoc salutantes amplexabitur; si qua erunt arbitria, de consilio pensitabit amicorum, et istiusmodi”, Alberti, L’architettura, i, 417–419 (bk. v, chap. 17).

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was inhabited and visited by a large number of people.34 The importance of the atrium was underlined by its position, right at the centre of the axis connecting the entrance corridor to the chapel. For this reason it was intended as a space for public use, leading to the private areas. Whereas Vitruvius distinguished five possible configurations of the atrium/cavum aedium, Alberti suggested just two kinds of solution: one for the open form, following options which depended on the dimensions of the portico, and another for the covered courtyard. Contemporary applications of Alberti’s concept have been identified: for the atrium with a portico, the courtyard of the Scala palace in Florence, and for the arched variant, with a more complex definition in its allusion to a war machine or the curvature of a tortoise shell, the vault of the hall at the villa of Poggio a Caiano, which is rather similar to the rooftops of the Roman thermal constructs.35 No doubt, the influence of Alberti’s concept of the atrium was considerable, and various examples can be traced back to it, such as the ducal palace in Urbino, which appears all the more successful once not only the complexity of the building has been taken into account but also all the constraints imposed by the pre-existing constructions.36

Antonio Averlino, known as Filarete

The Libro architettonico written by Antonio Averlino, known as Filarete (c.1460– 146437), was innovative in both form and content. Despite the undoubted interest 34 Alberti, L’architettura, i, 339–341 (bk. v, chap. 2). 35 Pellecchia, “Architects Read Vitruvius”, 390; Sergio Bettini, “Ricerche sulla luce in architettura: Vitruvio e Alberti”, Annali di architettura 22 (2010): 37–38. 36 On the necessity of abandoning the notion of a single architect and the subsequent ­suggestion of reinterpreting the role of Luciano Laurana within the project of the ducal palace in Urbino as part of a wider context, more complex and spanning a longer period of time, enlivened by different people with distinct roles, see Arnaldo Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana. Chi era costui? Laurana, fra Carnevale, Alberti a Urbino: un tentativo di revisione”, Annali di architettura 20 (2008): 37–81. On the palace of Federico da Montefeltro also taken as a model for the princes of smaller courts in northern Italy, see in this volume the chapter by Elena Svalduz. 37 Antonio Averlino known as il Filarete, Trattato di architettura, eds. Anna Maria Finoli and Liliana Grassi, introduction and notes, Liliana Grassi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1972), xi–xiii; Luisa Giordano, “On Filarete’s Libro architettonico”, in Paper palaces: the rise of the renaissance architectural treatise, eds. Vaughan Hart with Peter Hicks (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), 52. The title, Libro architettonico, is also by Filarete as he says himself in his Trattato di architettura, i, 7 (bk. i): “[...] non ti rincresca alcuna volta leggere

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it sparked, as testified by its translation into Latin at the request of the sovereign of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, in 1488–1489, and the use made of it by Francesco di Giorgio, Leonardo, Bramante, and others artists moving in the Milanese circles around 1490, it was not printed until the end of the 19th century and hence had limited circulation.38 Written in the vernacular, the Libro architettonico extended to art theory the ­literary genre of the humanist dialogue – which at that time was a well-­ established tradition – staging as interlocutors the Milanese prince Francesco Sforza (and at times his eldest son, Galezzo Maria) and his trusted master builder, Averlino.39 Most important, however, is the fact that the work was illustrated, a characteristic that can be put down to its author being an architect and a sculptor, whereas Alberti, a true humanist, had preferred to confer his knowledge through the written word alone: he thus relied on the incisiveness of his language, leaving some parts of the text undefined and, incidentally, making the reproduction of the work easier. Filarete combined various systems of representation in the schematic drawings, which often did not fully correspond to the text.40 There was also a need to use orthographic projections, and alongside plans and elevation drawings there was the occasional section drawing. Aerial views and perspectives were often drawn, though not particularly accurately, while the prevailing taste for ornamentation was expressed in figures given an all-round representation. Moreover, the prince and the architect, when discussing the project, often focused on the preparation of the different images: they thus formed an important part of the communication between the patron and the artist, in accordance with the rising importance of drawing in the development of Renaissance culture.41

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40

41

o fare leggere questo architettonico libro, nel quale, com’io ho detto, troverrai varii modi di edificare, e così varie ragioni di edifizii in esso si contiene”. Maria Beltramini, “Le illustrazioni del Trattato d’architettura di Filarete: storia, analisi e fortuna”, Annali di architettura 13 (2001): 25; Hanno-Walter Kruft, Storia delle teorie architettoniche da Vitruvio al Settecento (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 1988), 48. Andreas Tönnesmann, “Il dialogo di Filarete: l’architetto, il principe e il potere”, Arte lombarda n.s. 155 1 (2009): 7–11 (Architettura e umanesimo. Nuovi studi su Filarete, ed. Berthold Hub); Maria Beltramini, “Il Trattato di architettura di Filarete tra volgare e latino”, in Il ­volgare come lingua di cultura dal Trecento al Cinquecento, eds. Arturo Calzona, Francesco Paolo Fiore, Alberto Tenenti and Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2003), 121–133. Hans W. Hubert, “In der Werkstatt Filaretes: Bemerkungen zur Praxis des Architekturzeich­ nens in der Renaissance”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz xlvii 2/3 (2003): 311–344. Renzo Badasso, “Filarete’s Disegno”, Arte lombarda n.s. 155 1 (2009): 39–46 (Architettura e umanesimo. Nuovi studi su Filarete, ed. Berthold Hub).

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Unlike in Alberti’s work, the twenty-five books vary in length and are not organized systematically; instead each originates from a theme, the imaginary city of Sforzinda, looked at with the aim of providing technical and formal criteria for the creation of the ideal city. The discussion of the main topic itself is set between political and professional authorities, between the prince and the architect (the latter being the protagonist, thanks to his expertise): there is no architecture without a patron, and the manuscripts dedicated to Francesco Sforza and (after his death) Piero de’ Medici testify to the author’s wish to use them in order to demonstrate his own mastery and thus obtain work. In Alberti, the affirmation of the architect’s autonomy had been established, whereas with Averlino the significance of that autonomy is increased and completed through the dialogue with the patron-prince, underlining at the same time the social advancement of the architect and his own awareness of his responsibilities. In the Libro architettonico the model was still antiquity. Filarete, however, unlike Alberti, was not concerned with chronological distinctions and instead tended to combine various examples within one generic historical category. Perhaps this was due to his cultural background, but it may also have been because he belonged to a tradition that generally sacralized the monuments of the past. Of the latter, those visited in Rome must have had particular resonance, as testified by references to Hadrian’s Bridge, Hadrian’s mausoleum, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum.42 The reconstruction of Hadrian’s tomb, already represented by Filarete in one of the panels on the bronze doors of Saint Peter’s, was evoked again in the drawing of the tower leading to Sforzinda, constituted by concentric blocks, each different from each other, placed on a high square base with the corners marked by robust pilasters. The construction repeats, with revisions, the theme of the tower with a staircase built by Averlino for Duke Sforza which formed the entrance to the castle of Porta Giovia. This feature gave the fortress an innovative language, referring to antiquity; it contrasted all the more with the lost Viscontian fortress. The work provides us with an interesting testimony as it was based on a concrete example, actually constructed and, above all, corresponding to a widespread practice in the early Renaissance. The adaptation of defensive structures inherited from the Middle Ages in prestigious residences was a necessity felt throughout Italy, from north to south, as can be seen, in addition to the Sforza castle in Milan, in the palace of the Pio family in Carpi, the palace of Pope Nicholas v in the Vatican, the 42

Beltramini, “Le illustrazioni del Trattato d’architettura di Filarete”, 28; Richard Schofield and Giulia Ceriani Sebregondi, “Bartolomeo Bon, Filarete e le case di Francesco Sforza a Venezia”, Annali di architettura 18–19 (2006–2007): 37–38. See also the chapter by Aurora Scotti in this volume.

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Castel Nuovo of Alfonso of Aragon in Naples, and the Ursino Castle in Catania – the last of which is poorly documented, as are many other Sicilian castles.43 However, the practice of reuse applied to the princely residences was less discussed in the architectural treatises than the broader array of entirely new proposals, which were certainly more challenging in the eyes of the contemporaries, since they called for a synthesis of the different requirements − by then perceived as necessary − of representation and functionality. As in the De re aedificatoria, Averlino acknowledged hierarchical class ­distinctions and the corresponding variation in the buildings. The casa regia, i.e. the ducal palace, occupied the west side of the main piazza, the centre of Sforzinda, with a façade as broad as the façade of the cathedral opposite44 (Fig. 3.2). Having refocused the attention on the importance of proportion and measurement in a project, set out over a grid made up of parelli,45 Filarete described the construction process; he also provided a not entirely faithful series of drawings – plans and elevations – declaring himself ready to make several variations of them.46 Behind an arched loggia on columns as broad as the façade itself, the residential area was composed of two courtyards with porticoes divided by a building intended for the chancellery and other offices, while on the other two opposite sides there were kitchens and other service rooms (Fig. 3.3). Behind the two courtyards there were two gardens framed by porticoes with a fishpond in the middle connected to a system of canals which made it possible to reach the residence by boat (a reference to his direct acquaintance with Venice and, especially, the Milanese Naviglio); finally, there were the stables, all of which were enclosed by porticoes. Particular attention was given to the description of the rich ornamentation, pictorial and sculptural, which gave Filarete a pretext for providing a substantial list of the most able artists of the time, who would be involved in the project – an important source for future historians. On the first floor, above the loggia, there was a great hall connected to one of the prince’s rooms, his chapel, and the council’s meeting room. In 43

See, in this volume, the chapters by Elena Svalduz, Flavia Cantatore, Bianca de Divitiis, Marco Nobile on particular case studies, and Marco Folin’s chapter for a general frame of reference. 44 Filarete, Trattato di architettura, i, 208 (bk. vii). 45 The parello is a square of variable length corresponding to multiples of the Milanese 15th century braccio. The use of the grid as a measure for the proportions of an architectural drawing reveals a scientific requirement for rationality which bears similarities with that which enlivened the Descriptio urbis Romae, in which Alberti had used the polar coordinates to situate the salient points of the city from the Campidoglio and had thus reproduced its city plan, see Filarete, Trattato di architettura, i, lxvi–lxxvi; ii, pl. 23, for the schema of the parelli (Fig. 3.2). 46 Filarete, Trattato di architettura, i, 221–225, 234–235 (bk. viii), 255–271 (bk. ix); ii, pls. 32, 33.

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e­ levation this storey is marked by the architectonic order which follows that of the columns below and frames the windows (Fig. 3.4). The distinctive separation of the levels and the vertical arrangement of the façade, in addition to the use of superimposed orders, was inspired by antiquity and Alberti, yet it displays its own autonomous principle of composition. The representation links the frontal view with the perspectival view: the arches of the loggia show their own depth and in this way also the windows of the first floor and the upmost turrets. The image is not mapped out with precision, but its overall effect is clear and, together with the plan, it constitutes an attempt to convey to the reader the importance of the building through the details of its description.

Francesco di Giorgio Martini

A new method in comparison to Filarete, who uses the courtly dialogue form with a didactic intention, focusing on the image of the ideal city of Sforzinda, was that of Francesco di Giorgio Martini, who was closer to Alberti inasmuch as he classified and reflected on what he was classifying, then moved on to formulate ideas and models to be created. Francesco di Giorgio’s theoretical contribution, after a long period of preparation, covered little more than the last decade of his life and therefore constitutes the synthesis of his architectural experience. He probably prepared the first draft of his Trattati (Laurenziano and Saluzziano codices) between the late 1480s and the early 1490s; the second version (Senese and Magliabechiano codices), rearranged and revised, followed after his death in 1501.47 In this latter version, we also find the Traduzione Vitruviana, produced entirely by Francesco and even with his own illustrations, although limited in number.48 The different

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Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Ashburnham 361; Turin, Biblioteca Reale, Saluzziano 148; Siena, Biblioteca Comunale, cod. S.IV.4; Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Magliabechiano II.I.141, published in Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Trattati di architettura, ingegneria e arte militare, ed. Corrado Maltese, with a transcription by Livia Maltese Degrassi, 2 vols. (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1967). For a synthesis of the vast historiographical discussion surrounding the dates of the manuscripts, see Massimo Mussini, “La trattatistica di Francesco di Giorgio: un problema critico aperto”, in Francesco di Giorgio architetto, eds. Francesco Paolo Fiore and Manfredo Tafuri (Milan: Electa, 1993), 358–359. Massimo Mussini, Francesco di Giorgio e Vitruvio. Le traduzioni del “De architectura” nei codici Zichy, Spencer 129 e Magliabechiano II.I.141 (Florence: Olschki, 2003), i, 1–57, with bibliography; for a summary, see Massimo Mussini, “Siena e Urbino. Origini e sviluppo della trattatistica martiniana”, in Francesco di Giorgio alla corte di Federico da Montefeltro, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore (Florence: Olschki, 2004), i, 319–326.

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codices, with some of the drawings by the author, remained in manuscript form until the first half of the 19th century, but were widely used. In the Trattati, the entire complexity of the 15th-century city was scrutinized through the close examination of a number of subjects (from machines to ­fortifications to the city itself). The author’s sensitivity to the stimulus of antiquity emerges, as does his acquaintance with the De re aedificatoria – a copy of which had reached Urbino from Florence in 1483.49 There is a long list of building types, from the simplest to the more complex. Repeated examples referring either to the city or the architectonic orders are linked to the human body – an idea that Alberti had already explained and which would be subsequently applied throughout the Renaissance. Francesco di Giorgio was the first person, as far as we know, to have made survey drawings, sketching the ruins he had actually visited, which were copied and inserted at the back of the Codex Saluzziano to be used as a means of comparison with the authority of the written sources. The folios of this Appendice antiquaria reveal a further aspect of the artist’s professionalism – namely, his remarkable intuition, seen in the case of the reconstruction of the imperial palace on the Palatine based on mere ruins, a source of inspiration for the sequence of spaces with different geometric shapes which animate his endlessly innovative drawings of houses and palaces. Moreover, Francesco’s theoretical contributions also illustrate the difficulties that architects encountered in getting to grips with the De architectura. Indeed, between the first and second version of the Trattati there were great differences in interpretation; there was also the addition of the correct Vitruvian interpretation, produced as a result of great progress in questions of philology. The editio princeps of Vitruvius (1487) – the result of collecting and comparing many manuscripts – had been published in Rome by Giovanni Sulpicio da Veroli, a writer and grammar teacher, and dedicated to Cardinal Raffaele Riario, the nephew of Pope Sixtus iv.50 This initiative came in response to a sorely felt need in the Renaissance: the need to make available the only known source on ancient architecture. As mentioned, Alberti had read it at a time when it 49

Francesco Paolo Fiore, “Principî architettonici di Francesco di Giorgio”, in Francesco di Giorgio alla corte di Federico da Montefeltro, ed. idem (Florence: Olschki, 2004), i, 371, with bibliography. 50 The editio princeps of Vitruvius’ De architectura was printed between 1 January (when Marcello Capodiferro and Cola Porcari were appointed Maestri di strada, as they are mentioned in the dedication to Cardinal Riario) and 16 August 1487 (when John Shirwood of York, bishop of Durham, bought a copy of the work in Rome); see Incunabula Short-Title Catalogue (istc) iv00306000; Paola Farenga, “Le edizioni di Eucario Silber”, in Roma di fronte all’Europa al tempo di Alessandro vi (1492–1503) (Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2001), ii, 419, n. 26 and 439, n. 83.

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circulated through the country in manuscript form, often corrupt. Once a trustworthy version had been produced, the problem remained as to its exact interpretation. Francesco di Giorgio was one of the first to produce a complete translation of the Vitruvian text, written directly by him but perhaps with the help of humanist scholars. The next steps were the edition of 1511 by Fra’ Giocondo, again in Latin but – for the first time – accompanied by a set of illustrations, and then the illustrated translation by Cesariano in 1521. As for the theme of the residence in the first version of the Trattati, Francesco, in the wake of Alberti, established correspondences among the different social classes.51 The cases he examined reflect the extent of his preparation, with regard also to the requirements of his patrons and his interest in classical monuments, always linked to a multiform application to contemporary design. The plan of the king’s palace is significant in this regard (Codex Saluzziano, fol. 17r; Fig. 3.5) and can almost be compared in its dimensions to a public building whose only axis of symmetry cuts the drawing lengthways across the two courtyards of different shapes, which are overlooked by different kinds of space; the two façades appear to be just as different from each other. On the verso of the same folio there is a variation – included, however, among the princely palaces (“case de’ principi e gran signori”) − again with two courtyards, but with the atrium treated as an immense covered room placed at the entrance (“sala he atrio”). Alongside the latter, a series of suggestions are drawn in more subdued tones but no less expressive of the research done on the all’antica residence, and rather similar to Albertian descriptions, for in the houses, just as in the palaces, the geometry of the spaces reveals, in the determining centrality of the courtyard and the main hall, and in the very denomination of the spaces, an attempt to experiment with architectural design according to the idea of the house found in Vitruvius. In the façades – with criteria for measuring the proportions – in addition to the more simple kinds marked by cornices dividing the floors, decreasing in height as they go up, and doors and windows proportionate to them, Francesco di Giorgio suggests ideas of monumental character (Fig.  3.6). These rely on placing a high base floor under a lower first floor, either plain or marked by architectural orders with framed windows with triangular or curvilinear pediments, all of which are ideas derived from antiquity and revised according to new compositional schemata, as demonstrated by the presence of façades even in the folios of the Appendice antiquaria (Codex Saluzziano, fol. 93v; Fig. 3.7).

51

Francesco Paolo Fiore, “L’architettura civile di Francesco di Giorgio”, in Francesco di Giorgio architetto, eds. idem and Manfredo Tafuri (Milan: Electa, 1993), 74–125.

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Also in the second version of the Trattati, residences correspond to various social groups (from the craftsman to the prince, this time omitting the king), but the differences are marked in terms of dimensions rather than through particularly distinctive features. A seemingly endless list of examples fills up the Codex Magliabechiano with highly schematic drawings representing the bare essentials, with the thickness of the walls indicated by a mere line. There are many examples devoted to princely palaces (fols. 20–21, 24; Figs. 3.8–3.10), where a sequence of circular, square, and octagonal courtyards is aligned along a central axis, as already seen in the king’s residence in the first version of the Trattati. Alongside these, some interesting suggestions on circular plans are found which develop solutions from the past, such as the octagonal motif; there were also original ones which were clearly too expensive and thus remained unattempted. Buildings with circular courtyards between the 15th and the 16th century, such as Mantegna’s house in Mantua, the Villa Madama in Rome, or the palace of Charles v in Granada, remain few and far between. The extraordinary typological overview given in the Trattati also revealed Francesco di Giorgio’s misunderstanding of the connection between the atrium and the cavum aedium, which both describe the courtyard in Vitruvius.52 Francesco realized that the atrium was in any case the central part of the house, defined by Alberti as the sinus. However, he considered the atrium to be a ridotto (Codex Saluzziano fol. 19r), a reception space distinct from the courtyard, though often contiguous with it or with the central sala. In some drawings he indicated that it obtains its light from above (“lume superficiale”, Codex Magliabechiano, fols. 20–21). On the main façade, he placed the vestibule, an entrance with portico, leading to an andito providing access to the stairs. He thus formulated a personal elaboration on the theme of the Roman house which still lacked a great deal of clarity: suffice it to think of the uncertainties about it demonstrated by Fra’ Giocondo and Giuliano da Sangallo. Such flexibility, in part owing to the limited understanding of the Vitruvian text, was mostly determined by the need to modernize the residential function: thus, alongside the indication of open and closed spaces for public and private uses, which largely characterize the residence, attention was also given to more specifically technical aspects in the arrangement of the service rooms, in response to hygiene issues – all indications of the aspiration to a more refined and comfortable domestic life.53 In addition, attention was paid to the elements that 52 53

Pellecchia, “Architects Read Vitruvius”, 390–400. On this question, see Pier Nicola Pagliara, “‘Destri’ e cucine nell’abitazione del xv e xvi secolo, in specie a Roma”, in Aspetti dell’abitare in Italia tra xv e xvi secolo, ed. Scotti Tosini, 39–91.

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organized the space: no longer merely horizontal elements but also vertical ones. For this reason, for example, whereas cellars, larders, wood stores, and other related spaces were located in the basement, on the ground floor not only do we find halls, reception rooms, bedrooms, antechambers, spaces for the chancellery and for audiences, and offices, but there are also bathrooms, stufe with hot water, latrines (destri), and staircases. Similarly, on the first floor, a great hall is mentioned, along with rooms, offices, a chapel, and just as many staircases and destri. The Trattati thus clearly signal, through the theme of the residence, to the desire to produce a complete project aimed at addressing every aspect and need of everyday life and providing real alternatives. All these requirements were properly studied and verified and were not the mere result of theoretical speculation. This goal was achieved in particular through the determination of a closer relationship between the written word and drawings. The latter, prepared according to a process of simplification towards the bare essentials, were produced to complement the text, giving it more weight. At the same time, they constituted a synthesis of the text, often offering a number of analogous schemata illustrating the same point. The renewed value of the drawing as a medium reveals the shift from the conception of ‘craftsman-artist’ to that of ‘artist-humanist’ which coincided with the professional evolution of Francesco di Giorgio, from his first employment in Siena to his role in Urbino from 1475. The incisive clarity of the illustrations of the Codex Magliabechiano, probably prepared with a printed publication in mind, established the architect, in the continuation of the process that Alberti had expressed, as a figure who, changing ever further from the medieval model of the head of a building site, took on a primary role as organizer and consultant. The second version of the Trattati was completed just before Francesco’s death in 1501: a significant date, at the turn of the century, for a way of thinking and designing architecture which was to have a considerable and lasting impact. It certainly left more than a mere trace in the works of his successors, from Bramante to Peruzzi, from Raphael to Giulio Romano and Serlio.

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5 4 1

2

8

3

9

6

4

7 5

Figure 3.1 

Plan of the Vitruvian Roman house. 1 vestibulum; 2 fauces; 3 impluvium; 4 atrium; 5 alae; 6 tablinum; 7 corridor; 8 peristylium; 9 exhedra. From Vitruvius, De architectura, ed. Gros, vol. II, 896.

PRINCELY PALACE IN 15TH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURAL THEORY

Figure 3.2

73

Filarete, schema of the parelli for the scale ­representation (above left) and site plan of the city of Sforzinda. Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Codex Magliabechiano II.I.140, f. 43r, DETAIL.

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Figure 3.3

Cantatore

Filarete, plan of the casa regia (on the lower side of the page, on the left). Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Codex Magliabechiano II.I.140, f. 57v. With permission from the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Biblioteca Nazionale – Florence.

PRINCELY PALACE IN 15TH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURAL THEORY

Figure 3.4

75

Filarete, façade of the casa regia. Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Codex Magliabechiano II.I.140, f. 58v, detail.

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Figure 3.5 

Cantatore

Francesco di Giorgio Martini, plan of the king’s palace (on the bottom of the page). Turin, Biblioteca Reale, Codex Saluzziano 148, f. 17r. With permission from the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Biblioteca Reale – Turin.

PRINCELY PALACE IN 15TH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURAL THEORY

Figure 3.6

77

Francesco di Giorgio Martini, studies for palace façades. Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Codex Ashburnham 361, f. 20r. With permission from the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana – Florence.

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Figure 3.7 

Cantatore

Francesco di Giorgio Martini, studies for two palace façades (on the top of the page). Turin, Biblioteca Reale, Codex Saluzziano 148, f. 93v. With permission from the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Biblioteca Reale – Turin.

PRINCELY PALACE IN 15TH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURAL THEORY

Figure 3.8

Francesco di Giorgio Martini, plans for princely palaces. Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Codex Magliabechiano II.I.141, f. 20r.

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80

Figure 3.9

Cantatore

Francesco di Giorgio Martini, plans for princely palaces. Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Codex Magliabechiano II.I.141, f. 20v.

PRINCELY PALACE IN 15TH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURAL THEORY

Figure 3.10

Francesco di Giorgio Martini, plans for princely palaces. Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Codex Magliabechiano II.I.141, f. 24r.

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chapter 4

Palaces and Palatine Chapels in 15th-Century Italian Dukedoms: Ideas and Experiences Andrea Longhi The comparative study of dynastic palaces requires an examination of both institutional and juridical categories of interpretation and not just a morphological or classificatory analysis. In Europe, during the early modern era, public figures still operated within a conceptual framework in which the jurisdictional prerogatives and architectural forms inherited from the late Middle Ages were inextricably linked to each other: different levels of authority were physically embodied in the centres of power, strongholds of the symbolic relationships that characterized the urban landscape. Here we will focus on the relationships between the palatium and the capella – embodied in the ‘palatine chapel’ – which necessarily refer to a sacred conception of power and its spatial expression, cultivated since Late Antiquity. During the 15th century, in the northern princedoms of Italy and the alpine region, palace chapels can be considered as point where late medieval political ideologies1 encountered the emerging Renaissance artistic expressions of central Italy. Moreover, within the same time span, the terms palatium and capella began to be used in notarial sources with decreasing institutional rigour. Thus in the modern era they came to refer to architectural types rather than political concepts. This chapter seeks to define an initial comparative periodization of this phenomenon and the importance of palatine chapels in the northern and central Italian princedoms at the end of the Middle Ages, with particular regard to dynasties that came to acquire and consolidate the status of dukedoms. Such cases can be considered variations on the royal and imperial models and, in turn, the premise for the endless list of minor initiatives promoted by local rulers not honoured with ducal rank.

Definitions, Models, and Unsolved Problems

The capella is not just a small place of worship: the term originally implied a close relationship with one or more relics (originally the capa of Saint Martin, 1 Giovanni Tabacco, Le ideologie politiche del medioevo (Turin: Einaudi, 2000), 83–101; Renato Bordone and Giuseppe Sergi, Dieci secoli di medioevo (Turin: Einaudi, 2009), 198–262. © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_005

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a Merovingian dynastic relic). Its function was linked not only to private ­religious practices but also to the public expression of the power of the commissioning authority, expressed in broader terms by the palatium and the ceremonial sequence of its spaces.2 As for the material results of the concept of the “palatine chapel”, essential  references derive from Merovingian archetypes, and especially from Carolingian imperial prototypes (in particular, the chapel at Aachen, with its two interconnected levels), as well as from the distant but inspiring echo of the palace of Constantinople.3 Experiments carried out by national monarchies and local princedoms from the 14th to the 15th centuries led to the propagation of different experiences, removed from imperial exclusivity and anchored in the presumed sacred roots of the new ruling dynasties. Moreover, the chapel also played a role in episcopal palaces after the reform of the 11th century (at times explicitly following the model of the “double chapel”, by then considered a “classic seigneurial chapel”4). The chapel also acquired importance in the main seat of the city’s administration, whose proud institutional appellation as a palatium communis characterized the shift to the communal era.5 The capella regia of the Capetian era is the most recognizable architectonic model at European level: the sacralization of the king’s power is connected to the preservation and display of the relics of the Passion of Christ within an architectural structure set on two levels. Thus, ties with the palatium are based on a hierarchical network of spaces and paths.6 The Sainte-Chapelle in Paris 2 Annie Renoux, “Espaces et lieux de pouvoirs royaux et princiers en France (fin IXe–début XIIIe siècle): changement et continuité”, in Palais royaux et princiers au Moyen Age, ed. idem (Le Mans: Université du Maine, 1996), 17–42 and especially Jean Mesqui, “Les ensembles palatiaux et princiers en France aux XIVe et XVe siècle”, ibid., 51–70 (61–63); Mary Whiteley, “Royal and Ducal Palaces in France in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Century. Interior, ceremony and function”, in Architecture et vie sociale. L’organisation intérieure des grandes demeures à la fin du Moyen Age et à la Renaissance, ed. Jean Guillaume (Paris: Picard, 1994), 47–63. 3 Michele Bacci, “Artisti, corti, comuni”, in Arti e storia nel Medioevo. i. Tempi Spazi Istituzioni, eds. Enrico Castelnuovo and Giuseppe Sergi (Turin: Einaudi, 2002), 631–700 (634–654); Beat Brenk, “Residenza e cappella in epoca paleocristiana e altomedievale”, in Medioevo: la Chiesa e il Palazzo, ed. Arturo Carlo Quintavalle (Milan: Electa, 2007), 101–115. 4 Maureen C. Miller, The bishop’s palace. Architecture and authority in medieval Italy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000), 229. 5 Mauro Ronzani, “La ‘chiesa del comune’ nelle città dell’Italia centro-settentrionale (secoli xii–xiv)”, Società e storia 21 (1983): 499–534 (520–530); Alessio Monciatti, “Chiese nel Palazzo. Osservazioni sulla diffusione e le diversificazioni delle cappelle palatine in Italia (secoli xii– xiv)”, in Medioevo: la Chiesa, 421–431. 6 Inge Hacker-Sück, “La Sainte-Chapelle de Paris et les chapelles palatines du Moyen Age en France”, Cahiers Archéologiques 13 (1962): 217–257; Boris Bove, “Les palais royaux à Paris au

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(1248), built by Louis ix, developed a genuine “mental, intellectual construct”7 emulated by other royal chapels (Perpignan, from 1276, for the kings of Majorca; Vincennes, from 1370, after the accession of the House of Valois to the French throne), as well as by the princes tied to the French crown. Among the latter are the developments set in motion by the ducal dynasties of Bourbon (Bourbon-l’Archambault i, c.1315), Berry (at Riom, 1382; Bourges, 1392), Savoy (Chambéry, from 1408), and Burgundy.8 These examples show that the construction of a new chapel in a palace is usually emblematic of the family’s rise in status. It generally marks the acquisition of a ducal title, associated with the need to establish a renewed religious cradle for the dynasty. Papal residences also evolved in parallel with dynastic palaces. In the Lateran Palace, a complex system of private and semi-public oratories had been developed since the Carolingian era. It is, however, the renovation of the chapel of San Lorenzo (the Sancta Sanctorum), carried out during the papacy of Nicholas iii Orsini (1279), which makes the Roman example comparable to the achievements in the Sainte-Chapelle, on the basis of more specifically liturgical and organizational rather than architectural aspects.9 Nicholas iii also embarked on the first systematic construction campaign within the Vatican Palace, developing a system of different chapels: some for private worship, and others for functions related to receptions and other semi-public occasions.10 In particular, the papal palace at Avignon under the papacy of Clement vi (from 1348) provided a useful model for the residences of the European Moyen Age (XIe–XVe siècles)”, in Palais et pouvoirs. De Costantinople à Versailles, eds. Marie-Françoise Auzépy and Joël Cornette (Saint-Denis: Presses Universitaires de Vincennes, 2003), 45–79; Jean-Pierre Caillet, “Genèse et modèles du complexe palaissanctuaire chez les Capétiens (XIe–XIIIe siècles)”, in Medioevo: la Chiesa, 468–475. 7 “Construction mentale, intellectuelle”: Éric Palazzo, “La liturgie de la Sainte-Chapelle: un modèle pour les chapelles royales françaises ?”, in La Sainte-Chapelle de Paris. Royaume de France ou Jérusalem céleste?, ed. Christine Hediger (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 101–111 (111). 8 Claudine Billot, Les Saintes Chapelles royales et princières (Paris: Editions du Patrimoine, 1998); Jean-Michel Leniaud and Françoise Perrot, La Sainte Chapelle (Paris: Editions du Patrimoine, 2007), 82 ff.; Julien Noblet, En perpétuelle mémoire. Collégiales castrales et Saintes-Chapelles à vocation funéraire en France (1450–1560) (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2009), 28–33. 9 Julian Gardner, “L’architettura del Sancta Sanctorum”, in Sancta Sanctorum (Milan: Electa, 1995), 19–37 (33). 10 Alessio Monciatti, “Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano alla fine del medioevo: sul sistema delle cappelle prima e dopo il soggiorno della Curia ad Avignone”, in Art, Cérémonial et Liturgie au Moyen Âge, eds. Nicolas Bock, Peter Kurmann, Serena Romano, Jean-Michel Spieser (Rome: Viella, 2002), 565–584 (572); for a detailed analysis, see: Alessio Monciatti, Il palazzo Vaticano nel Medioevo (Florence: Olschki, 2005), 145–158.

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dynasties in the 14th–15th centuries. Here there was a clear distinction between the roles of the private oratories and the semi-public Grande Chapelle on the first floor, situated at the end of a monumental route which shaped the whole palace.11 When the Curia returned to Rome, the lessons learned from the Avignon experience were in turn introduced into the Vatican Palace: for instance, with the construction of the so-called ‘pre-Sistine’ chapel.12 While beyond the Alps, between the 14th and 15th centuries, the model of the chapel as an autonomous and recognizable structure was still widespread, in Italy a different approach could be observed: the construction of internal spaces as disguised and sealed-off treasure troves. What were the underlying assumptions behind such a choice? Let us begin by formulating a few hypotheses favouring a geo-political analysis of architectural creations. First and foremost, the princedoms of central Italy were often established on contentious authority and were fragmentary by nature. Indeed, dynastic ambitions were often in opposition to municipal legacies, which moderated affirmations of sacredness or ideological self-­ celebrations on the part of the families. As we will see in the following pages, the chapels of noble palaces thus remained places of family devotion and also became – at different times, depending on the circumstances – ‘places of state’. The suggestion of a legitimizing sacredness as an alternative to the pre-existing civic life and its places of civic worship suffused the whole palace13 and its political liturgies; but that did not necessarily imply the construction of an external, monumental, and ostentatious chapel. In view of these tensions, the imperial or Capetian model of an isolated double chapel, though inevitable or latent, was at the same time moderated by interior solutions developed on the basis of papal and civic experiences. In addition, the rich religious topography of Italian cities was more conducive to the disarticulation and dislocation of the relations between the court and liturgical activities: the decisive role of the Benedictine communities (especially the Carthusians) and the mendicant religiones novae (the Franciscans and the Dominicans) determined, for example, the complex relations between palace chapels and sepulchral churches; at times they represented the real mark of a dynastic family on the territory. The 11

Bernhard Schimmelpfenning, “Ad maiorem pape gloriam. La fonction des pièces dans le palais des Papes d’Avignon”, in Architecture et vie sociale, 25–46 (37–42). 12 Monciatti, Il palazzo Vaticano, 215–235. 13 Patrick Boucheron, “Non domus ista sed urbs: palais princiers et environnement urbain au Quattrocento (Milan, Mantoue, Urbino)”, in Les palais dans la ville. Espaces urbains et lieux de la puissance publique dans la Méditerranée médiévale, eds. Patrick Boucheron and Jacques Chiffoleau (Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2004), 249–284 (266 ff.).

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‘interior’ aspects of some of the chapels seemed to amount to a mere hoarding of dynastic sacredness, but they should be read in ritual complementarity with the exterior and public spaces. The latter were necessary for the deployment of court liturgies related to burial ceremonies, as well as the cult of the relics or the diocesan functions of the nearby episcopal buildings.

Palace Chapels and Ducal Ambitions in North-West Italy

The first explicit experiments in palatine chapels in the sub-alpine region were connected to dynasties more thoroughly rooted in the imperial sphere. The princeps of Savoia-Acaia, Filippo, used the construction site of the chapel (1314) as the starting point for the construction at Pinerolo of the dynastic palace of his new appanage. The chapel, a vaulted space with an apse on one level only, was connected to the magna aula castri by a painted portico, and its façade opened onto the castle’s courtyard; the chapel was marked from the outside by a cylindrical tower above the apse, jutting out from the circumference of the walls (Fig. 4.1).14 A few years later, Azzone Visconti chose a highly distinctive solution for the chapel of his own Milanese palace: San Gottardo in Corte (1336) ostentatiously slotted into the heart of the urban landscape with its spired tower and polygonal apse (Fig. 4.2). It houses the tomb of its founder (constructed in 1342–1344) and was functionally integrated into city life,15 at least until the political murder of Giovanni Maria (1413), perpetrated on its very threshold. These sub-alpine experimentations were contemporary with more ambitious central European achievements, such as the Habsburg chapel of the 14

15

Andrea Longhi, “Architettura e politiche territoriali nel Trecento”, in Architettura e i­ nsediamento nel tardo medioevo in Piemonte, eds. Micaela Viglino Davico and Carlo Tosco (Turin: Celid, 2003), 23–69 (30–37); idem, “Contabilità e gestione del cantiere nel Trecento sabaudo”, in Il cantiere storico: organizzazione, mestieri, tecniche costruttive, ed. Mauro Volpiano (Savigliano: Artistica, 2012); idem, “L’organisation et la comptabilité des chantiers à l’époque des principautés territoriales (région subalpine occidentale)”, in Kirche als Baustelle. Groβe Sakralbauten des Mittelalters, eds. Bruno Klein, Katja Schröck and Stefan Bürger (Köln: Böhlau, 2013). Patrick Boucheron, “De l’urbanisme communal à l’urbanisme seigneurial. Cités, territoires et édilité publique en Italie du nord (XIIIe–XVe siècle)”, in Les grands chantiers dans l’Italie communale et seigneuriale, ed. Élisabeth Crouzet-Pavan (Rome: École française de Rome, 2003), 41–77 (52–54); Evelyn Welch, “Scaligeri e Visconti: omogeneità e differenze”, in Cangrande della Scala. La morte e il corredo di un principe nel medioevo europeo, eds. Paola Marini, Ettore Napione, Gian Maria Varanini (Venice: Marsilio, 2004), 209–215.

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Viennese Hofburg (from 1325), the chapel in Marienburg for the great Teutonic master (1340), or that of Karlstein for the emperor Charles iv (1348–1364).16 However, those same decades witnessed an acceleration even in the monumentalized interpretation of the chapels in the most significant civic palaces of Italy, corresponding to a process whereby the civic authorities assimilated the function of the chapel with that of a treasure trove and an instrument for the legitimization of power. Let us recall the most well-known cases from the early 14th century: the embellishment of the chapel of San Bernardo in the new Palazzo dei Priori in Florence; the construction of the Cappella dei Nove in the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena; the restructuring of the chapel of Sant’Agata in the civic palace of Pistoia; the rebuilding of the chapel of the Palazzo del Podestà in Florence (which may have been, together with the Milanese palatine chapel, Giotto’s last work); and the redefinition of the Cappella dei Priori in the palace of Perugia.17 New research has identified palace chapels through fragments of late 13th-century decorations in the Palazzo del Podestà in Todi and the Palatium Novum Maius in Brescia.18 Yet, in comparison with the states of the Italian peninsula, the most significant dynastic chapel of the 15th century, built on the basis of the Capetian and Valois models, was located immediately above the alpine ridge, in Chambéry. The works began in 1408 at the initiative of the count of Savoy, Amedeo viii, under the supervision of the master builder Nicolet Robert. Different architectural influences converge here, drawn from the construction of the cathedral of Lyon (Jacques de Beaujeu) and the sculptural works of the Flemish artists 16

17

18

Bacci, “Artisti, corti”, 646–648; Jiří Kuthan, “Les épines de la couronne du Christ, la SainteChapelle de Paris et son rayonnement en Bohême”, in La Sainte-Chapelle de Paris, ed. Hediger, 137–155. Nicolai Rubinstein, The Palazzo Vecchio. 1298–1532. Government, Architecture, and Imagery in the Civic Palace of the Florentine Republic (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 49, 104–106; Michele Cordaro, “Le vicende costruttive” in Palazzo Pubblico di Siena. Vicende costruttive e decorazione, ed. Cesare Brandi (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 1983), 29–143 (33–34, 83); Ronzani, “La chiesa del comune”, 529; Monciatti, “Chiese nel Palazzo”, 421 and 425; Luca Giorgi and Pietro Matrachi, “Il Bargello di Firenze. Nuove indagini sulla costruzione del Palazzo”, in La storia del Bargello. 100 capolavori da scoprire, ed. Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2004), 95–113 (106–109); Maria Rita Silvestrelli, “Grandi cantieri e palazzi pubblici. L’esempio di Perugia”, in Les grands chantiers, 105–158 (119–120). Alessio Monciatti, “Note per una rivisitazione della pittura a Todi fra Due e Trecento”, in  Todi nel Medioevo (secoli vi–xiv) (Spoleto: Fondazione cisam, 2010), t. ii, 933–963 (936–940); Marco Rossi, “Le cattedrali e il Broletto di Brescia fra xii e xiv secolo”, in Medioevo: la Chiesa, 528–542 (540).

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(including Jean Prindalles) active at the court of Amedeo’s brother-in-law John, duke of Burgundy.19 The interior space, like the external shape, is characterized by the polygonal apse projecting outside the castle walls and dominating the town (Fig. 4.3). The dynastic ambitions of the Visconti and Savoy houses, perhaps also emphasized by the urban domination of their respective palatine chapels, were rewarded by the ducal title bestowed upon them by the emperor in 1395 and 1416 respectively. It was only the definitive enthronement of the Turin Shroud (1506), however, that allowed the Savoy chapel to acquire the title of sainte-chapelle: the approbation of public worship granted by Pope Julius ii sanctioned the end of a process transforming the Shroud into a dynastic ­palladium and sign of legitimacy.20

Chapels and Diplomacy: The Diet of Mantua of 1459

The institutional equilibrium ratified by the Peace of Lodi (1454), along with the developments leading to the Diet of Mantua (1459), seemed to pave the way for a reappraisal of the role of chapels in palaces, even in Italian courts further away from the Alps. The crypto-governance of the Medici does not, strictly speaking, belong to a discussion of dynastic palaces, but let us not forget that Pope Pius ii considered the residence at Via Larga to be a palatium rege dignum,21 despite the fine 19

Guido Castelnuovo, Marie-Aude Deragne, “Peintres et ménétriers à la Cour de Savoie sous Amédée viii (1391–1451). Salaires, statuts et entregent”, in Regards croisés: musiques, musiciens, artistes et voyageurs entre France et Italie au XVe siècle, ed. Nicoletta Guidobaldi (Paris: Minerve, 2002), 31–59; Marcel Grandjean, “Remarques sur le renouveau flamboyant et la Renaissance dans l’architecture entre Saône et Alpes”, in La Renaissance en Savoie. Les arts au temps du duc Charles ii (1504–1553), eds. Mauro Natale and Frédéric Elsig (Geneva: Musée d’art et d’histoire, 2002), 27–52, passim; Frédéric Elsig, “Reflections on the Arts at the Court of the Dukes of Savoy (1416–1536)”, in Artist at Court. Imagemaking and Identity. 1300–1550, ed. Stephen J. Campbell (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2004), 57–71. 20 André Perret, “Essai sur l’histoire du Saint-Suaire du XIVème siècle au XVIème siècle”, Mémoires de l’Académie des sciences, belles lettres et art de Savoye vi s. 4 (1960): 49–121. 21 Piccolomini, Commentarii, Lib. ii, 28, 31; see Wolfger A. Bulst, “Uso e trasformazione del palazzo mediceo fino ai Riccardi”, in Il Palazzo Medici Riccardi di Firenze, eds. Giovanni Cherubini and Giovanni Fanelli (Florence: Giunti, 1990), 98–129 (99); Paolo Viti, “Laudavit pontifex florentinos. Una ‘laudatio’ di Firenze durante il viaggio a Mantova”, in Il sogno di Pio ii e il viaggio da Roma a Mantova, eds. Arturo Calzona, Francesco Paolo Fiore, Alberto Tenenti and Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2003), 163–178 (166).

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line it drew between civic modesty and princely magnificence.22 The Medici chapel was one of the first to be found in private Florentine palaces, and its construction was made possible through the bestowal of the papal privilege granting the family a portable altar with a private priest (1412).23 Its morphology was obviously foreign to the dynastic examples of central Europe and rather seems to recall, on first analysis, the functional and ceremonial schema of the papal apartments, terminating, on the first floor, with a sequence of increasingly small rooms for the princely apartments, after a reception room and a studio.24 Our sources, however, reveal that this narrow space was not used solely for private purposes, as it was also directly accessible through a route leading from the gallery facing the courtyard, and thus from the main staircase (Fig. 11.3).25 A first pertinent account of the institutional use of the chapel is provided by the well-known descriptions of the welcome reception hosted by Cosimo de’ Medici for the young Galeazzo Maria Sforza, who came to Florence in April 1459 to meet Pius ii on his way to the Diet of Mantua.26 Although not yet painted, the chapel appears to have been the designated setting for the reception of the illustrious guests, following what appeared to be an already established customary use which was subsequently confirmed. In the following months, the political role of the chapel was emphasized by the pictorial cycle of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli, considered as the ambitious “government programme”27 of the only person “whose reputation was so great he might represent his republic at home”.28 22 23

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25 26

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“Pudeurs communales et élans princiers”: Boucheron, “De l’urbanisme communal”, 50. Cristina Acidini Luchinat, “La cappella medicea attraverso cinque secoli”, in Il Palazzo Medici, eds. Cherubini and Fanelli, 82–91 (82); Rab Hatfield, “Cosimo de’ Medici and the Chapel of his Palace”, in Cosimo ‘il Vecchio’ de’ Medici, 1389–1464. Essays in commemoration of the 600th Anniversary of Cosimo de’ Medici’s Birth, ed. Francis Ames-Lewis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 221–244 (222, 228); Dale Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florentine Renaissance: the patron’s oeuvre (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000), 305 ff. Christoph Luitpold Frommel, “Abitare all’antica: il Palazzo e la Villa da Brunelleschi a  Bramante”, in Rinascimento da Brunelleschi a Michelangelo. La rappresentazione dell’architettura, eds. Henry Millon and Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, (Milan: Bompiani, 1994), 183–203 (186); see Bulst, Uso e trasformazione, 112 ff. Hatfield, “Cosimo de’ Medici”, 224–228. For a recent summary, see Marcello Simonetta, “Il Duca alla Dieta: Francesco Sforza e Pio  ii”, in Il sogno di Pio ii, eds. Calzona, Fiore, Tenenti and Vasoli, 247–285 (257–258, 269–272). Franco Cardini, “i Medici nel ‘quartiere’ di San Lorenzo”, in Il palazzo Magnifico. Palazzo Medici Riccardi a Firenze, eds. Simonetta Merendoni and Luigi Ulivieri (Turin: Allemandi, 2009), 71–87 (83). Hatfield, “Cosimo de’ Medici”, 239–240.

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The chapel was also endowed with relics of the Passion (the reliquary known as the Libretto), while the altarpiece by Filippo Lippi (1444–1456), although it is dedicated to the Trinity, contains direct references to the Florentine political context (Saint John the Baptist and Saint Bernard, to whom the civic chapel is dedicated).29 After the Medici were expelled from Florence in 1494, it was no coincidence that this work was taken to the Palazzo della Signoria.30 Let us not forget that in the middle of the 15th century the true Florentine palatine chapel was considered to be the civic one in the Palazzo della Signoria, a treasure trove of the town’s collective memory. It was refurbished again in 1454 and even vied, with the Baptistery of San Giovanni, to be the appointed place to receive the homage of the new subjects of the Signoria and preserve the relics of the city.31 In the same months, the Gonzaga – marquises since 1433 – were also preparing a chapel in Mantua for the occasion of the Diet, inside the late 14th-century castle of San Giorgio, for it was there that the Marquis Ludovico wished to reside again.32 The chapel was the first work assigned to Andrea Mantegna in Mantua, but when the pope arrived in May 1459 it was only partially finished. A more complete iconographic definition of the chapel was only provided in the following months (by 1464, expanded later with the Camera Picta from 1465), in accordance with the works carried out by the Florentine Luca Fancelli.33 Mantegna is also commonly thought to have been involved in defining the “architectonic arrangement of the spaces” in the chapel,34 which was adorned with a cupola and a lantern, but the chapel’s location is still uncertain as it was dismantled in the 16th century.35

29 30 31 32 33

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Summarized in Cristina Acidini Luchinat, “La cappella dei Magi: architettura e breve storia”, in Il palazzo Magnifico, eds. Merendoni and Ulivieri, 89–112 (93–95). Kent, “Cosimo de’ Medici”, 381 ff.; Rubinstein, The Palazzo Vecchio, 70. Ibid., 104–106; Ronzani, “La chiesa del Comune”, 528. Arturo Calzona, “Mantova in attesa della Dieta”, in Il sogno di Pio ii, eds. Calzona, Fiore, Tenenti and Vasoli, 529–578 (549, 558, 577). Leandro Ventura, “La religione privata: Ludovico ii, Andrea Mantegna e la Cappella del Castello di San Giorgio”, Quaderni del Palazzo Te I s. 7 (1987): 23–34; idem, “Mantegna architetto. Un’ipotesi di lavoro per la Cappella del Castello di San Giorgio”, Civiltà Mantovana 27 (1992): 27–52. “Articolazione architettonica degli ambienti”: Christoph Luitpold Frommel, “Mantegna architetto”, in Andrea Mantegna. Impronta del genio, eds. Rodolfo Signorini, Viviana Rebonato and Sara Tammaccaro (Florence: Olschki, 2010), vol. 1, 181–220 (196). Giovanni Rodella and Stefano L’Occaso, “…questi logiamenti de castello siano forniti et adaptati… Trasformazioni e interventi in Castello all’epoca del Mantegna”, in Andrea

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As in Florence, the Magi were the central theme of the iconographic programme (now shared among different museums), enriched not only with oriental themes connected to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Diet and the summoning of the Crusade, but also with expressions of Greek culture, studied in the Mantuan court. As for the rest of the presumed programme, it would have been connected to a private aspect of the chapel, with references to the relics of the blood of Christ,36 whose dynastic role was, however, to be consigned from 1471 to the new Basilica Sant’Andrea.37

Chapels and Dynastic Legitimization

Galeazzo Maria Sforza – whom we encountered above, in the Medici chapel in 1459 – moved his court, around 1468, to the castle of Porta Giovia, leaving the Viscontean palace by the Duomo and thus also the aforementioned chapel of San Gottardo. Galeazzo Maria had a detailed programme in mind, involving the construction of new chapels in the castles of Milan and Pavia, probably with a view to consolidating his own dynastic image and attempting to reaffirm the controversial ducal prerogatives. In the Milanese residence the emblematic system of the double and superimposed palatial chapels was chosen, arranged in a corner of the courtyard (Figs. 6.6, no. 5 and 6.11).38 On the upper floor an oratory was placed adjacent to the apartments; at courtyard level a second chapel was built in close connection to the reception areas and was fit for storing relics, according to a “multi-sensory image of the pious magnificence” of spaces designed as public reception areas.39 The architecture of the chapel (1472–1473) can be attributed to the Florentine Benedetto Ferrini, together with the overall renovation of the ducal courtyard in the Tuscan Renaissance taste. This was the result of a continuous flow of exchanges

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Mantegna e i Gonzaga. Rinascimento nel Castello di San Giorgio, ed. Filippo Trevisani (Milan: Electa, 2006), 21–35 (25–26). Ventura, “La religione privata”, 29–31; for a new reading of the iconographic program of the chapel see Mauro Lucco, “Mantegna a Mantova e i suoi eredi”, in Mantegna a Mantova. 1460–1506, ed. Mauro Lucco (Milan: Skira, 2006), 3–17 (3–5). Massimo Bulgarelli, “Sant’Andrea e il Sangue di Cristo”, in idem, Leon Battista Alberti. 1404–1472. Architettura e storia (Milan: Electa, 2008), 117–161. Sources in Guido Marangoni, “La cappella di Galeazzo Maria al Castello Sforzesco”, Bollettino d’arte ii 4 (1921): 176–186; and 5 (1921): 227–236; see Luciano Patetta, L’architettura del Quattrocento a Milano (Milan: clup, 1987), 329, n. 30. Evelyn Welch, Art and authority in Renaissance Milan (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), 213.

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between Florence and the Sforza dukedom, but also of the use of ‘Florentines’ in various courts following an ideological requirement to mitigate the aggressive character of fortified architecture.40 The internal iconographic programme, on the other hand, was assigned to painters from Lombard artistic circles: it became the setting for performances by the best-known Italian and Flemish musicians.41 The establishment of Ferrara as a ducal seat by the pope (1471) implied a reordering of the functions and spaces of the palace at the time when Ercole i d’Este was consolidating the legitimacy of his dynasty. In addition to the reorganization of the administrative offices of the state and city, the first ducal chapel was designed (1474) and a miraculous image of the Virgin placed in it. The chapel overlooked the vast new courtyard, one of the ceremonial hubs of the palace; a second version of the chapel was rebuilt as early as 1479 (Fig. 8.3).42 Insofar as the court was deemed to be a space manifesting the duke’s sovereign power,43 the chapel had both an internal connection with the refurbished, sumptuous apartments and its own façade, recognizable as the semi-public and official space of the court, alongside the monumental staircase, built from 1481 and reflecting the palace’s political identity (Fig. 4.4). While the staircase opened up the ceremonial route to the first floor of the palace, the chapel’s façade established a direct visual and functional relationship with urban life.

The Chapel as a Personal Treasure Trove

After the pope made the dukedom hereditary (1474), the refurbishment of  the  palace of Urbino adopted a highly unique ideological solution for its 40 41

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Boucheron, “Non domus ista”, 262. Guido Lopez, “Il Castello di Milano: cinquecento anni di storia”, in Il Castello Sforzesco di Milano, eds. Guido Lopez, Aurora Scotti, Laura Mattioli Rossi (Milan: Electa, 1986), 7–37 (18–19); Aurora Scotti Tosini, “Vicende costruttive del castello”, ibid., 38–70 (64); Welch, Art and authority, 213. Marco Folin, “La committenza estense, l’Alberti e il palazzo di corte di Ferrara”, in Leon Battista Alberti. Architetture e committenti, eds. Arturo Calzona, Joseph Connors, Francesco Paolo Fiore, Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2009), vol. i, 257–304 (284 ff.); on the further changes undergone by the building, see Bruno Esposito, “La cappella ducale estense di Ferrara”, in Cappelle palatine. Finalità, strutture e proiezioni, ed. Dante Balboni (Rome: Ministero per i Beni Culturali, 1997), 64–67. Marco Cattini, Marzio A. Romani, “Le corti parallele: per una tipologia delle corti padane dal xiii al xvi secolo”, in La corte e lo spazio: Ferrara estense, eds. Giuseppe Papagno and Amedeo Quondam (Rome: Bulzoni, 1982), 47–78 (49); Marco Folin, Rinascimento estense: politica, cultura, istituzioni di un antico Stato italiano (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2001), 367.

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chapel, determined by the Christian humanism of the court of Federico di Montefeltro. A first chapel, situated in the internal courtyard, was transformed into a room before 1448;44 only in the later stages of construction, during the 1470s, was a new sacred space planned, constituted by the twin spaces of the Cappella del Perdono and the Tempietto delle Muse (Fig. 4.5). The combination of the Christian with the pagan “is unique, and has no direct point of reference in the contemporary Humanist writings”.45 The twin space was located near the lower apartment – thought to be the residence of either the consigliere Ottaviano Ubaldini or the heir to the dukedom46 – but it was directly connected to the private studio above, belonging to the duke. Together, the twin chapel and the studio constitute a conceptual and spiritual dynastic nucleus.47 There thus appears to be a complete reinterpretation both of the traditional double level of the palace chapel and also of the practice of having progressively smaller spaces for the prince’s private and sacred rooms. The chapel is the result of works carried out under Francesco di Giorgio from around 1476–1480.48 It represents a kind of personal treasure trove probably intended for private orations but also for the preservation of relics, only exposed to the public on Easter Monday. The designation ‘del Perdono’ refers to the evangelical inscription running along the chapel’s perimeter referring to the remission of sins (John, 20:23) and the indulgence, connected with the relics, granted by 44

45 46

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Janez Höfler, Il palazzo ducale di Urbino sotto i Montefeltro (1376–1508). Nuove ricerche sulla storia dell’edificio e delle sue decorazioni interne (Urbino: Accademia Raffaello, 2006; originally published in Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner, 2004), 70–72, 78. Ibid., 288. Luisa Fontebuoni and Giuseppe Barbaliscia, “Destinazioni d’uso dal sec. xv al xx”, in Il Palazzo di Federico da Montefeltro. Restauri e ricerche, ed. Maria Luisa Polichetti (Urbino: Quattroventi, 1985), 185–302 (192); Andreas Tönnesmann, “Le palais ducal d’Urbino. Humanisme et réalité sociale”, in Architecture et vie sociale, 137–153 (144, n. 29); Höfler, Il palazzo ducale, 147–152. Pasquale Rotondi, Il palazzo ducale di Urbino (Urbino: Istituto Statale d’Arte per il Libro, 1950), vol. 1, 332–336 and 356–366; Walter Tomassoli, “Spirito umanistico e coscienza religiosa in Federico da Montefeltro”, in Federico di Montefeltro. Lo stato, le arti, la cultura, eds. Giorgio Cerboni Baiardi, Giorgio Chittolini and Piero Floriani (Rome: Bulzoni, 1986), vol. i, 345–355 (347); Claudia Cieri Via, “Ipotesi di percorso funzionale e simbolico nel Palazzo Ducale di Urbino attraverso le immagini”, ibid., vol. 2, 47–64 (56–63). Francesco Paolo Fiore, “L’architettura civile di Francesco di Giorgio”, in Francesco di Giorgio architetto, eds. Francesco Paolo Fiore and Manfredo Tafuri (Milan: Electa, 1993), 74–125 (91–93 and 122, n. 62); Giacomo De Zoppi, “La cappella del Perdono e il tempietto delle Muse nel palazzo ducale d’Urbino. Analisi e proposta d’attribuzione a Francesco Di Giorgio Martini”, Annali di Architettura 16 (2004): 9–24; Höfler, Il palazzo ducale, 218–219.

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Sixtus iv.49 The reliquary chapel could therefore be a message alluding to the double corporeality, both human and divine, of Christ, which is expressed both through the cult of the Passion and in the Eucharistic adoration.50 However, the public functions of the court’s chapel were taken over by the adjoining new cathedral, built in 1474 and directly connected to the apartment of the duchess.51 While in Urbino there was a clearly recognizable driving force to internalize in a private shrine some of the public functions of the palace chapel, similar phenomena could be also found in civic contexts between the mid-15th century and the beginning of the 16th. Some noteworthy late communal examples incorporated palace chapels on the basis of an internal (if not introverted) conception; they were like treasure troves containing important decorative projects but lacking direct access from the outside: such is the case of the Cappella dei Signori in Siena (moved to the first floor of the palace), the extension and decoration by Benedetto Bonfigli of the chapel of the Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia, and, finally, the new Cappella della Signoria, next to the reception room in Florence (1511–1515).52

Inheritance, Contaminations, and Perspectives: Towards the Palatine Church of the Modern State

The aforementioned cultural encounters fostered a relatively limited repertoire of solutions for palace chapels. An imposing visible contrast or a stamp of 49 Rotondi, Il palazzo ducale di Urbino, vol. 1, 358 ff., and 467, n. 224. 50 Claudia Wedepohl, “La devozione di un principe umanista: Cappella del Perdono e Tempietto delle Muse nel Palazzo Ducale di Urbino”, in Il sacro nel Rinascimento, ed. Luisa Secchi Tarugi (Florence: Cesati, 2002), 493–515 (506 ff.); on the relationship between corporeality, Eucharistic devotion and liturgical space, see Andrea Longhi, “Lo spazio dell’altare: il rito, il corpo, l’architettura”, in Gesù. Il corpo, il volto nell’arte, ed. Timothy Verdon (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana, 2010), 104–115, and idem, “Tempio e persona. Antropomorfismo e cristocentrismo nell’architettura cristiana (secoli xii–xvi)”, in Tempio e persona. Dall’analogia al sacramento, ed. Francesco Valerio Tommasi (Verona: Fondazione Centro Studi Campostrini, 2013), 253–287. 51 Gabriella Zarri, “Le istituzioni ecclesiastiche nel ducato di Urbino nell’età di Federico da Montefeltro”, in Federico di Montefeltro, 121–175 (155 ff.); Manfredo Tafuri, “Il Duomo di Urbino”, in Francesco di Giorgio architetto, 186–207 (194). 52 Cordaro, “Le vicende costruttive”, 83; Ronzani, “La chiesa del Comune”, 529–530; Rubinstein, The Palazzo Vecchio, 45–46 and 104–106; Carlo Cinelli, “La Cappella dei Priori”, in Palazzo Vecchio. Officina di opere e di ingegni, ed. Carlo Francini (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana, 2006), 74–75.

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authority over the urban landscape was taken up in areas institutionally and geographically closer to the transalpine dukedoms. In other cases, the solution of just one exposed façade, overlooking the courtyard as a semi-public space, was chosen by dynasties who believed they had reached full confirmation or legitimacy by the second half of the 15th century. Where the geo-political context required more caution, introverted solutions were favoured, connected, however, to a system of passageways and linked spaces which enabled the institutional use of the sacred space, especially in the framework of codified diplomatic rituality. The increased political instability of the late 15th century and the redefinition of the Italian territorial princedoms during the 1530s constituted decisive opportunities to rethink the sacredness of courtly spaces, but this goes beyond the scope of this inquiry: our concern here is to focus on the shift from medieval institutions to the constitution of modern territorial states. At the end of a still open, fragmentary, and problematic research path, it nevertheless seems useful to mention two emblematic cases that demonstrate the range of scenarios possible in the 16th century. At the foot of the Alps, the palace of Revello was built as the official courtly residence of the Marquis Ludovico ii of Saluzzo (1475–1504); it was completed in the first two decades of the 16th century during the regency of his widow, Margaret of Foix. Despite turning away from fortified models,53 the chapel of  the marquis (Fig.  4.6) explicitly adopted the ducal transalpine model of the Middle Ages (Gothic structure with the external projection of the apse) (Fig. 5.9). The internal dynastic iconographic programme, however, now looked to the figurative culture of the northern Italian courts – in particular, the Sforza court, which was bound to the Saluzzo court by a complex diplomatic network.54 The unusual association of architectural medieval models with an iconographic apparatus updated to the figurative culture of the Renaissance was not an isolated case in the sub-alpine princedoms,55 and began to be seen 53

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Claudia Bonardi, “Revello: il palazzo marchionale e le sue gallerie di candidi marmi”, in  Ludovico ii marchese di Saluzzo condottiero, uomo di Stato e mecenate (1475–1504), ed. Rinaldo Comba (Cuneo: Società per gli studi storici, archeologici ed artistici della provincia di Cuneo, 2006), 595–610. Elena Pianea, Revello. La Cappella dei Marchesi di Saluzzo (Savigliano: Artistica, 2003), 25–31, 81. On the geopolitical and ideological purport of the hiatus between traditionalist architecture and modern pictorial taste in the subalpine princedoms towards the end of the 15th century, see Enrico Lusso, “‘Positus fuit primis lapis in fondamentis ecclesie Sancti Laurentii’. Il vescovo Andrea Novelli e la fabbrica del nuovo duomo di Alba (1486–1516)”, in Pietre e marmi, ed. Giovanni Donato (Alba: Museo Diocesano, 2009), 39–49 (45–46).

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on the other side of the Alps too: for example, the Sainte-Chapelle of the “cour italianisante”56 of the Bourbon-Montpensier at Aigueperse (from 1475), with the well-known works carried out there by Benedetto Ghirlandaio and Andrea Mantegna,57 with classical references in the door sculptures. Let us also mention contaminations of the Gothic model in the other Bourbon dynastic chapels of Bourbon-l’Archambault ii (1483–1508) and Champigny-sur-Veude (1508–1543), as well as the saintes-chapelles of Vic-le-Comte (from 1505) and Châteaudun (built in the last decade of the 15th century).58 Returning to the Italian states, an entirely new concept for the palatial church arose in Mantua, turned into a dukedom by Charles v in 1530. The adaptation of the stratified and irregular palatine complex to its new status included, among other works, changes to the basilica of Saint Barbara, which was to become a key space in the network of connections and passageways of the ducal palace (Fig. 4.7). The external appearance of the church comprised the monumental layout of the façade, bell tower, and forecourt, built during the third quarter of the century. The interior was conceived as a sort of stage for the liturgies of the court and church music. The overall result particularly emphasized the centrality of the rite in all its manifestations, and seems to have been conceived in view of the transformation of the princedom into a pre-absolute state.59 In contrast, in the ducal apartments of the medieval castle, a space was prepared exclusively for family worship: namely, the new oratory which replaced Mantegna’s chapel.60 In the mid-16th century, therefore, the distinction between private devotion and public ritual seems to have became more codified, articulating a variety of different languages through which to identify the palatine chapels

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Julien Noblet and Laurent Vissière, “Autour du Saint Sébastien d’Aigueperse: la Renaissance italienne dans l’Auvergne du XVe siècle”, La revue des Musées de France. Revue du Louvre 68 (2008) 1: 34–46. 57 Dominique Thiébaut, “Autour du Saint Sébastien d’Aigueperse: les années 1478–1490”, in Mantegna: 1431–1506, eds. Giovanni Agosti and Dominique Thiebaut (Paris: Musée du Louvre – Hazan, 2008), 209–220. 58 Noblet, En perpétuelle mémoire, 46 ff. and 144 ff. 59 Paolo Carpeggiani, Il libro di pietra. Giovan Battista Bertani architetto del Cinquecento (Milan: Guerini e Associati, 1992), 36; idem, Bernardino Facciotto. Progetti cinquecenteschi per Mantova e il Palazzo Ducale (Milan: Guerini e Associati, 1994), 5–8; idem, “Il progetto del Palazzo Ducale (1549–1587)”, in Gonzaga. La Celeste Galleria, ed. Raffaella Morselli (Milan: Skira, 2002), 479–498 (488–492). 60 Carpeggiani, “Il progetto”, 488; Rodella and L’Occaso, “…questi logiamenti”, 25.

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and their jurisdictional prerogatives. The legitimizing medieval references – conceptual rather than formal – were then superseded. The development of the private oratories, institutional chapels, and public ceremonial spaces achieved a new synthesis in the modern states, and in the following decades it found full expression in absolutist governments, in creative inventions for their courtly churches, and in intimate holy spaces for sovereigns’ private devotion.

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Pinerolo, fortress of the House of Savoy, 16th century plan; the chapel is in the corner of the medieval castle, with the apse at the base of the corner tower. Turin, Archivio di Stato, Carte topografiche e disegni, Ministero della Guerra, Tipi sez. iv, Pinerolo, 484, detail.

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Figure. 4.2

Milan, chapel of San Gottardo in Corte.

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Chambéry, Sainte-chapelle: the apse turned towards the city.

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Figure. 4.4

Ferrara, façade of the Palatine chapel, alongside the staircase.

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Urbino, Ducal Palace, plan of the ground floor, with the twin chapel, connected to the Duke’s apartment via the spiral staircase in the Torricino. From Il Palazzo di Federico da Montefeltro, ed. Polichetti, vol. 2, pl. 3.

Palaces and Palatine Chapels in 15th-Century Italian Dukedoms

Figure. 4.6

Revello, chapel of the marquis, apse and nave. From Pianea, Revello. La Cappella dei Marchesi di Saluzzo.

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Mantua, diagram of the Ducal Palace (the chapel is indicated with an asterisk), and development of the plan of the chapel of Santa Barbara. From Carpeggiani, Il libro di pietra, figs. 3 and 49.

Part 2 Case Studies



chapter 5

“Combining the Old and the New”: The Princely Residences of the Marquises of Saluzzo in the 15th Century Silvia Beltramo A recent revival of studies on the marquisate of Saluzzo resulted in the publication of a series of monographs in 2003.1 They laid the groundwork for an examination of the historical, economic, and artistic elements which made the 15th century the princedom’s greatest period of artistic and architectural development.2 The multidisciplinary approach brought to light a very interesting political and cultural context, stimulating further research on specific topics. This study of the Saluzzo residences fits in with this dynamic panorama. The aim is to investigate the architectural culture of the patrons through the models, craftsmanship, and materials used. The castle of Saluzzo and the palace of Revello are two significant cases which demonstrate the modus operandi of Renaissance princes: attempting to redefine their medieval residences by building new imposing structures which brought about radical change in the relationship between the urban context and the broader landscape. The difference revealed through the use of the terms castrum and palacium, which respectively identify the two structures, makes the duality of the marquises’ choices explicit: in the symbolic, dynastic building of the castle of Saluzzo there is greater concern for continuity with the medieval tradition, whereas at Revello there is a greater expression of freedom. In the latter case, in addition to the construction of the palace as a princely seat, a new urban and courtly identity was forged. 1 In addition to a rich series of studies of the main monastic structures in the territory, the following publications should be mentioned, from the Società degli Studi Storici, Artistici ed  Archeologici di Cuneo: Ludovico i marchese di Saluzzo-un principe tra Francia e Italia (1416–1475), ed. Rinaldo Comba (Cuneo: Società degli Studi Storici, Archeologici ed Artistici della Provincia di Cuneo, 2003), Ludovico ii marchese di Saluzzo: condottiero, uomo di Stato e mecenate (1475–1504), ed. idem (Cuneo: Società degli Studi Storici, Archeologici ed Artistici della Provincia di Cuneo, 2006), La cultura a Saluzzo fra Medioevo e Rinascimento, eds. Rinaldo Comba and Marco Piccat (Cuneo: Società degli Studi Storici, Archeologici ed Artistici della Provincia di Cuneo, 2008); “Saluzzo, città e diocesi”, Bollettino della Società degli Studi Storici, Archeologici ed Artistici della Provincia di Cuneo 149 (2013). 2 The territory of Saluzzo was located between the princedom of Acaia, the dukedom of Savoy and the territory belonging to the marquis of Monferrato. © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_006

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While changes were taking place at the Saluzzo court, the marquis of Monferrato and the duke of Savoy also began to refurbish and relocate their courtly seats.3 However, at the end of the 15th century, the Saluzzo patronage was characterized by the prominence and continuity of its artistic choices: artists and craftsmen of undoubted accomplishment were brought in, with highly innovative results that rivalled the main European courts.

The Patrons: Ludovico i and Ludovico ii

Over the course of the 15th century, Marquis Ludovico i (1416–1475) and Marquis Ludovico ii (1475–1504) initiated a process of reorganizing the state apparatus and local aristocracy, which was reflected in the maturity of their architectural choices.4 The status of the city of Saluzzo was determined through a campaign of investments in new civic and religious buildings, which began at the end of the 13th century and ended with the establishment of a diocese in 1511.5 In 1416, the young Ludovico I took over the rule of the princedom under the tutelage of Valerano of Saluzzo and Margaret of Roussy. From his father, Tommaso iii, he had inherited a cultural taste firmly grounded on French models, which was to have a significant influence on his architectural choices. Ludovico, a man of culture and a great patron of the arts, was deemed to be on an equal standing with other Italian princes and was heralded as an example 3 Corti e città. Arte del Quattrocento nelle Alpi occidentali, eds. Enrica Pagella, Elena Rossetti Brezzi and Enrico Castelnuovo (Milan: Skira, 2006). 4 On the political choices of the Marquis Ludovico i, see the essay by Alessandro Barbero, “La  dipendenza politica del marchesato di Saluzzo nei confronti delle potenze vicine al tempo di Ludovico i”, in Ludovico i marchese di Saluzzo, ed. Comba, 203–206. For Ludovico ii, see Alessandro Barbero, “La politica di Ludovico ii di Saluzzo tra Francia, Savoia e Milano (1475–1504)”, in Ludovico ii marchese di Saluzzo, ed. Comba, 229–253; and Nadia Covini, “Tra condotte e avventure politiche. Le relazioni di Ludovico ii con la corte di Milano”, ibid., 255–302. 5 Luigi Provero, “Chiesa e società nel Saluzzese medievale”, in Arte nel territorio della Diocesi di Saluzzo, eds. Romano Allemano, Sonia Damiano and Giovanna Galante Garrone (Savigliano: Artistica, 2008), 1–18; and Giovanni Grado Merlo, “Le origini della diocesi di Saluzzo”, in Saluzzese medievale e moderno: dimensioni storico artistiche di una terra di confine (Cuneo 1995: Bollettino della Società degli Studi Storici, Archeologici ed Artistici della Provincia di Cuneo  113), 89–98. The same author returned to the topic again in Il papa e la marchesa: l’origine della diocesi (report presented at the conference “Saluzzo, città e diocesi”, Saluzzo, Cuneo, 28–30 October 2011).

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of artistic culture.6 In 1444 Enea Silvio Piccolomini emphasized the  importance of literary erudition for a prince and highlighted the main characteristics a ruler should possess. He named Leonello d’Este and Ludovico di Saluzzo as models.7 The architectural commissions of Ludovico I were considerable. During the second half of his reign (1460s and 1470s), his choices seemed to focus on three main directions: projects related to religious institutions, for instance, the construction of important buildings such as San Giovanni di Saluzzo, the restructuring of castles (Saluzzo, Verzuolo, Revello) with defence plans incorporating the latest military techniques, and the redevelopment of the main urban centres of the princedom. The artistic patronage of Ludovico ii, beginning in 1475 in clear continuity with what his father had begun, is marked by the confluence of two divergent tendencies: the first was still rooted in the late Gothic style and can be seen in some parts of the building of San Giovanni and in the projects entrusted to the painter Hans Clemer; the second is best displayed in the urban and religious architecture modelled on artistic trends from Lombardy, deriving from the duchy of Milan, which soon came to influence him. Indeed, Ludovico ii entered Galeazzo Maria Sforza’s army in 1468, and remained in his service until 1475,8 when he inherited the marquisate. He thus had all the time and leisure to become acquainted with the architecture of the Lombard dukedom of the end of the 15th century. The unfortunate episode for Saluzzo of the war waged by the duke of Savoy on the marquisate forced Ludovico ii to flee to France from 1486 to 1490. During this period, the marquis was an assiduous attendant at the court of King Charles viii and followed all his moves from Angers to Laval, Tour to Amboise, and finally to Paris.9 Ludovico was given the honorific charge of general lieutenant of the king in Provence, and thus occasionally

6 Biondo Flavio, Blondii Flavii Forliviensis de Italia illustrata (Augusta Taurinorum impressit Bernardinus Sylva, 1527), 100. 7 Pii Secundi pontifici maximi familiares epistolae, Romae 1584, epistola seconda. The relationship with the Este became stronger after Ricciarda, the sister of Ludovico i, married Nicolò d’Este in 1430. Maria Serena Mazzi, “Ricciarda di Saluzzo, marchesa d’Este”, in Ludovico i marchese di Saluzzo-un principe tra Francia e Italia (1416–1475), ed. Rinaldo Comba (Cuneo: Società degli Studi Storici, Archeologici ed Artistici della Provincia di Cuneo, 2003), 87–103. 8 Barbero, “La dipendenza politica del marchesato di Saluzzo”, 203–206. 9 Paolo Grillo, “‘Alli soldi del marchese de Salucia’. Gli aspetti militari della guerra fra il marchesato di Saluzzo e il ducato di Savoia degli anni 1486–90”, in Ludovico ii marchese di Saluzzo, ed. Comba, 337–360.

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lodged at the residence of Aix while waiting to return to his own land occupied by the Savoy troops.10 Ludovico ii’s education and career, divided between France and Milan, enabled him to reach a level of cultural awareness modelled on the great princedoms of the Italian Renaissance. Moreover, close relations – documented by frequent letters, and in some cases by visits the marquis paid to the dukes of Este (Ludovico being the cousin of Ercole) and to the Gonzaga – were also opportunities for cultural exchanges and not merely a question of politics and diplomacy.11 Ludovico ii wished to establish a princedom that would be ever closer to the other Italian princedoms, and for this reason he had to adapt urban spaces to the new requirements of public decorum promoted throughout Europe.12 It seems that the 15th century – above all, the second half – was characterized by the trend of a new organization of spaces and buildings in European cities, resulting in a “new type of urban culture”,13 which tended to design and programme the physical form of the city. It was certainly not a question of uniform and continuous planning, but rather fragmentary and 10 11

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Barbero, “La dipendenza politica del marchesato di Saluzzo”, 245, n.65. The diplomatic relations between Ludovico ii and Ercole d’Este have been studied by Beatrice Del Bo, “‘Parlare e scrivere ad conservare l’amore tra i signori’. Gli aspetti diplomatici della guerra tra il marchesato di Saluzzo e il ducato di Savoia degli anni 1486–90”, in Ludovico ii marchese di Saluzzo, ed. Comba, 376–379. For some references on urban strategies implemented in the European context, see Giorgio Simoncini, Città e Società nel Rinascimento (Turin: Einaudi, 1974); André Chastel, I centri del Rinascimento Arte italiana 1460–1500 (Milan: Rizzoli, 1978); D’une ville à l’autre: structures matérielles et organisation dell’espace dans les villes européennes (xiiie – xvie siècle), ed. Jean-Claude Marie Vigueur (Rome: École française de Rome, 1989); HenryRussell Hitchcock, German Renaissance Architecture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981); Urbanismo e historia urbana en España, ed. Antonio Bonet Correa (Madrid: Universidad de Madrid, 1980); Caspar Pearson, Humanism and the Urban World. Leon Battista Alberti and the Renaissance City (Pennsylvania State: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011); Hubertus Günther, “Kaiser Maximilian I. zeichnet den Plan für sein Mausoleum”, in Il principe architetto, eds. Arturo Calzona, Francesco Paolo Fiore, Alberto Tenenti, and Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2002), 493–516. For the Marquisate of Saluzzo, see Silvia Beltramo, Il marchesato di Saluzzo tra gotico e rinascimento. Architettura città committenti (Rome: Viella, 2015). Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa. Luoghi, spazi, architetture, eds. Donatella Calabi and Elena Svalduz (Vicenza: Angelo Colla, 2011); I grandi cantieri del rinnovamento urbano. Esperienze italiane ed europee a confronto (secoli xiv–xvi), eds. Patrick Boucheron and Marco Folin (Rome: École française de Rome, 2011); Cultural Exchange in Early modern Europe. Cities and Cultural Exchange in Europe 1400–1700, eds. Donatella Calabi and Stephen Turk Christensen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

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­limited to some areas or individual works, strongly marked by experimentation. In fact, in many cases the patrons focused on single episodes in some “designated places”,14 rather than on the urban fabric as a whole, demonstrating limits to the strategies implemented, which were usually far more circumscribed than emerges from the eulogistic literature of the time.15 The situation was different in the capitals of smaller states, where the lords were capable of “intervening in a decisive way on the building dynamics in place in their respective towns, transforming them according to their own designs in order to establish them as a manifesto of their power”.16

Defence and Residence: The Castle of Saluzzo

A key factor in the Saluzzo patronage of the second half of the 15th century was  the policy of maintaining an up-to-date defensive apparatus and the 14

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On the relationship between the prince and the city, see Le muse e il principe: arte di corte nel Rinascimento padano, ed. Alessandra Mottola Molfino, Mauro Natale (Modena: Panini, 1991); Manfredo Tafuri, Ricerca nel Rinascimento principi, città, architetti (Turin: Einaudi, 1992); Il principe architetto, eds. Calzona, et al.; Vittorio Franchetti Pardo, L’invenzione della città occidentale (Milan: Jaca book, 2008); Caroline Elam, “Lorenzo de’ Medici and the Urban Development of Renaissance Florence”, Art History, 1 (1978): 43–66; eadem, “Lorenzo’s Architectural and Urban Policies”, in Lorenzo il Magnifico e il suo mondo, ed. Gian Carlo Garfagnini (Florence: Olschki, 1994), 357–384; Riccardo Pacciani, “Lorenzo il Magnifico: promotore, fautore, ‘architetto’”, in Il principe architetto, eds. Calzona, et al., 377–411; Riccardo Fubini, “Lorenzo de’ Medici architetto costituzionale?: disegno principesco e reggimento cittadino nella Firenze del secondo Quattrocento”, 11–22; Cecil H. Clough, “Federigo da Montefeltro’s Patronage of the Arts, 1468–1482”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 36 (1973): 129–143; idem, “Art as Power in the Decoration of the Study of an Italian Renaissance Prince: The Case of Federico Da Montefeltro”, Artibus et Historiae, 16 (1995), n. 31: 19–50; Arte, committenza ed economia a Roma e nelle corti del Rinascimento (1420–1530), ed. Arnold Esch and Christoph Luitpold Frommel (Turin: Einaudi, 1995); Luisa Giordano, Ludovicus dux. L’immagine del potere (Vigevano: Diakronia, 1995). On the limits of the urban strategies of Renaissance princes: Patrick Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir. Urbanisme et politique édilitaire à Milan (xiv–xve siècles) (Rome: École française de Rome, 1998), 303–406 and 541–572; Isabella Lazzarini, Gerarchie sociali e spazi urbani a Mantova dal Comune alla Signoria gonzaghesca (Pisa: Edizioni ets, 1994) 16–19 and 143–147; Marco Folin, Rinascimento estense. Politica, cultura, istituzioni di un antico Stato italiano (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2001), 261–267. Idem, “Il principe architetto e la ‘quasi città’: spunti per un’indagine comparativa sulle strategie urbane nei piccoli stati italiani del Rinascimento”, in L’ambizione di essere città: piccoli, grandi centri nell’Italia rinascimentale, ed. Elena Svalduz (Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, 2004), 45–95.

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restructuring of the courtly seats. Very early on, the marquis realized the importance of protecting and safeguarding his property. His father’s experience had proved as much, but in particular it was the continual confrontation with France and the dukedom of Milan, with their state-of-the-art military resources, that made those choices necessary. In 1477, two years after the death of Ludovico i, Ludovico ii began important renovation works in the castle of Verzuolo. The work was probably interrupted during the Savoyan domination of the princedom (1486–1490), but resumed after Ludovico’s return in the 1490s.17 The vast project involving the military modernization, residential renovation, and functional readjustment of the castle of Saluzzo (transformed into a prison in the 19th century and recently restored) was launched once it became clear that the town was central to the control of the marquis’s territory. It was then that the castle took on the role of the principal residence of the court (Figs. 5.1–5.3). A unified and well-coordinated project doubled the size of the 14th-century castle with the addition of a front-colonnaded courtyard. Works began in the last years of Ludovico i’s reign (he died in 1475). The new turris magna seu rotonda was mentioned for the first time in 147618 (Fig. 5.4). It is quite clear that the construction referred to is the massive tower situated at the north-eastern corner of the building. Its existence necessarily supposes that the clearing of the new northern courtyard must at least have already begun. The last stage of construction, however, must have taken place at the beginning of the 16th century, when Ludovico ii, after his marriage to Margaret of Foix (1492), commissioned a cycle of frescoes to decorate the 14th-century courtyard with typical humanist themes. He then also arranged to have the residential space increased with the addition of a new floor to the southern part of the palacium.19 The 15th-century architectural works inside the castle were all designed to create a new central space for public use (the first courtyard on entering the castle), with innovative residential and defensive arrangements. Around the quadrangular courtyard, surrounded on three sides by a portico bedecked with 17

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Silvia Beltramo, “La committenza architettonica di Ludovico ii: i castelli di Verzuolo e di Saluzzo per la difesa del marchesato”, in Ludovico ii marchese di Saluzzo, ed. Comba, 566–573. Turin, Archivio di Stato Paesi, Saluzzo, Provincia di Saluzzo, Revello, mazzo 10, no. 14 and no. 15, both from 6 September 1476; mentioned again on 4 November 1478, “in turri magna seu rotonda castri Saluciarum” (ibid., mazzo 10, no. 17). The interventions commissioned by Ludovico ii are reported by Delfino Muletti, Memorie storiche-diplomatiche appartenenti alla città ed ai marchesi di Saluzzo raccolte dall’avvocato Delfino Muletti, ed. Carlo Muletti (Saluzzo: 1829–1833), v, 360.

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a painted gallery (super galleria picta apud turrim magnam),20 there were frescoed rooms with thematic cycles, such as the room of the lilies21 on the southern side, built along the line of the 13th-century curtain wall, as well as vaulted reception halls (1476).22 Moreover, documents indicate that some first-floor rooms were devoted to the government of the princedom, such as the camera dei conti (1491).23 The new defence apparatus set all around the castle had to adjust to the increasing predominance of high-calibre firearms. Thus the focal point was the massive tower overlooking the piazza, which was built over a circular rondella structure and a falsabraga, a low external wall. The plan was clearly influenced by the technical theories of Francesco di Giorgio, the works of Baccio Pontelli, and contemporary constructions from central and northern Italy,24 as well as by structural solutions seen in the Monferrato princedom from the 1460s to the 1480s.25 Protection measures presumably led to the reduction in height of the squared turris magna in the north-east corner of the castle built by Tommaso i at the beginning of the 15th century.26 20

21 22 23 24

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The notary deeds date back to April and June 1513, in Turin, Archivio di Stato, Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli di segretari marchionali, mazzo 3, Stanga, 2, f. 88 and 95. Camera voltata liliorum picta retro camera paramenti (ibid., f. 8, 1514). For the precise archival references, see Beltramo, “La committenza architettonica di Ludovico ii”. Turin, Archivio di Stato, Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli di segretari marchionali, mazzo 2, f. 101, 1491. Francesco Paolo Fiore, “Francesco di Giorgio di Martini”, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. xlix (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1997), 753–759, especially 754, with bibliography. L’architettura militare nell’età di Leonardo. ʽGuerre milanesiʼ e diffusione del bastione in Italia e in Europa, ed. Marino Viganò (Bellinzona: Casagrande 2008); Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Trattati di architettura, ingegneria e arte militare, ii, ed. Corrado Maltese (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1967); Nicholas Adams, “L’architettura militare di Francesco di Giorgio Martini”, in Francesco di Giorgio architetto, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore and Manfredo Tafuri (Electa: Milan, 1994), 114–150; Francesco di Giorgio Martini. Rocche, città, paesaggi, ed. Barbara Nazzaro and Guglielmo Villa (Rome: Kappa, 2004). Per Baccio Pontelli, see Patricia Meneses, Baccio Pontelli a Roma: l’attività dell’architetto fiorentino per Giuliano Della Rovere (Pisa: Felici, 2010) and relevant bibliography. The reference is to the castles of Casale and Moncalvo. Enrico Lusso, “Il castello di Casale come spazio residenziale. Note per una storia delle trasformazioni architettoniche in età paleologa (1351–1533)”, Monferrato arte e storia 21 (2009): 7–29. The different stages of the tower project brought over from Paris by the marquis in 1405 are reconstructed in Silvia Beltramo, “L’architettura: la committenza di Ludovico i”, in Ludovico i marchese di Saluzzo, ed. Comba, 319–320.

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The public area of the castle, built around the new courtyard, included a series of rooms for government use on the first floor: first and foremost the sala or aula magna with a vaulted ceiling overlooking the internal courtyard. The main meeting room was the camera paramenti, situated next to the sala magna on the south-east side, with a vaulted ceiling and red walls. Council meetings also continued to be held in the 15th-century square tower as an alternative to the camera paramenti of the main building.27 The public courtyard contrasted with the private courtyard located within the 14th-century structure of the castle. It contained the marquis’s apartments on the first floor and spaces reserved for services on the ground floor, mainly the stables and the cellars. Changes were also made to this part of the castle and included the restructuring of the marquis’s bedroom (camera illustris domini Marchionis),28 the studiolo of the marquise, Margaret of Foix, which overlooked the Saluzzo hill and the convent of San Bernardino, as well as a series of smaller rooms whose use has not been identified.29 The internal courtyard of the private area of the castle was decorated with a fresco cycle in grisaille made for Ludovico ii’s marriage to Margaret of Foix in 1492, as testified by the presence of the arms of the House of Foix painted between the frames of the themed frescoes. During the recent restorations some fragments of high-quality craftsmanship came to light, distinguished by a precise and clear-cut geometrical outline made all the more apparent through the contrast with the shadows cast and the illuminated silhouettes of the frames. The frescoes depicted themes from military campaigns celebrating the marquis’s role in the recent altercations of the 1480s30 (Fig. 5.5). The marquis’s castle was the inspiration behind the choice to decorate the façades and courtyards of the Saluzzo palaces with grisaille frescoes. This choice would strongly characterize the architecture of the 16th century, when, in the first decades of that century, the most important Saluzzo families 27

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Luisa Giordano, “La sala grande tra tardo Medioevo e primo Rinascimento”, in Imperatori e Dei. Roma e il gusto per l’antico nel Palazzo dei Pio a Carpi, ed. Manuela Rossi (Carpi: Musei di Carpi, 2006), 27–38. Cited in 1479: see Beltramo, “La committenza architettonica di Ludovico ii”, 280–315. Turin, Archivio di Stato, Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli di segretari marchionali, mazzo 3, Stanga, 2, f. 28, 1508 (“In parvo studio porrigente versus Sancti Bernardini”). Studied by Massimiliano Caldera, “I frammenti di una vicenda decorativa: testimonianze quattrocentesche dalla Castiglia di Saluzzo”, in Sulle tracce degli antichi castello. Dalla ricerca alla divulgazione, eds. Rinaldo Comba, Riccardo Rao and Enrico Lusso (Cuneo: Società degli Studi Storici, Archeologici ed Artistici della provincia di Cuneo, 2011), 45–48.

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adopted a similar kind of decoration for their residences. The interventions of Giorgio Della Chiesa in his palace in Via Valoria and those of Francesco Cavassa for his house where similar elements of decoration – painted by Hans Clemer – can be found, come to mind in this context.31 Ludovico ii made particularly prestigious choices in relation to his marriage and alliance with France in opposition to the domination of the Savoy, and to his desire to appear as a prince on an equal footing with other Italian ruling dynasties. His patronage was embodied by the grisaille frescoes,32 demonstrating his intention to refer directly to the ideological and conceptual commitments of Italian humanism. At the same time, he modernized the defensive and functional aspects of the residence, in dialogue with the innovations of Renaissance architecture. Although the military functions and appearance of the Saluzzo castle were never abandoned, at the end of the 15th century the castle was set up as a courtly building ready to accommodate government offices and the marquis’s court. The architecture displays these new uses, using an ancient language in order to integrate a series of celebratory elements such as galleries, grand courtyards, gardens, and new fresco cycles into the original medieval structure, giving new meaning to the forms inherited from tradition.

Between Continuity and Renewal

Some consistent features which characterize the Italian panorama of 15thcentury aristocratic palaces can also be found in the principality of Saluzzo. In the castle there was a clear tendency to standardize the perimeter façades in order to make the various heterogeneous buildings inherited from the late Middle Ages more organic and coherent. At the same time, the internal spaces were reorganized around two central courtyards: the first, ancient and remodelled; the second, new and framed by loggias and porticoes. The latter became the real hub of the entire residential complex, which was directly accessible through the main entrance. There was a recognizable attempt to redistribute the different functions of the marquis’s residence on the basis of 31

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Born in northern France, Clemer was active in Provence and in the Saluzzo princedom in the late 15th and early 16th century; see Hans Clemer. Il Maestro d’Elva, eds. Giovanna Galante Garrone and Elena Ragusa (Savigliano: Artistica, 2002). Massimiliano Caldera, “La città dipinta. Decorazioni a Saluzzo tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento”, in Intorno a Macrino d’Alba. Aspetti e problemi di cultura figurativa del Rinascimento in Piemonte (Savigliano: Artistica, 2002), 117–129.

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a hierarchical system with a more ordered arrangement of the spaces – a large part of which were reserved for the private life of the sovereign. From the outside, the massive compact bulk of the castle closes in on itself, while inside the intention was to open up and spread out the rooms in a general dilution of the space, disseminating the functions in different areas of the building. It seems quite clear that, in buildings from the second half of the 15th century, a decision was made to give the internal spaces a more disciplined appearance, reorganizing them so the various activities carried out in them were kept separate and distinct. Also in Saluzzo, the reception areas for decidedly public functions were separated from the private quarters reserved for the domestic use of the sovereign and often placed in the least accessible parts of the court. The construction of a new grand courtyard with porticoes and the re-conception of the reception halls, including the aula magna used for audiences and courtly ceremonies, seemed to constitute the guidelines for the arrangement of the castle’s public areas. The private areas were expanded through a series of side rooms, such as the studiolo of the marquise, which overlooked the hilly landscape. These spaces took on a more crucial role in the “courtly city”, from both an architectural and a ceremonial point of view.33 The existing rooms were redesigned on the basis of Renaissance principles, with new artistic models produced at considerable cost. In this period, in Saluzzo as in the other royal households of Italy and Europe, there seems to have been a differentiation of the private apartments: one apartment for the marquis and another for his consort, with the additions of guardacamere or antechambers and a series of small private rooms mentioned in our sources.34 The arrangement of the public and private spaces in the castle of Saluzzo underwent its own distinct recomposition after the construction of the new courtyard, onto which the main entrance looked directly through the circular turret. Around this courtyard, characterized by the connecting stairs leading to the first floor, were the main government offices: the chancellery and the treasury (camera dei conti). The reception rooms on the first floor represented the filter providing access to the second, private, courtyard, which led to the private apartments (Fig. 5.6). The addition of new architectural and artistic models, along with the overall redesign of the space, was mediated through the pre-existence of deep-rooted traditions and the materials available to the marquis. Thus there was a need for 33 34

Rosella Lauber, “‘Dritto al mio studio: un percorso dallo studiolo verso la galleria”, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 251–273. Beltramo, “La committenza architettonica di Ludovico ii”, 294–295.

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a radical, autochthonous reworking of the models in circulation through a series of gradual adjustments, often spread out over time but never rejecting what had already been built or belonged to local tradition. In Saluzzo, as in many other Renaissance courts,35 the idea of rebuilding the inherited medieval structure ex novo was never taken into consideration. Rather, the approach adopted was to modernize specific areas. In addition to financial considerations, there also seemed to be a form of veneration that protected these buildings. The respect for the “places of memory of one’s own ancestors”, as pointed out by Monique Chatenet, was a trait shared by the great French monarchs and the small alpine and Paduan courts.36

The Marquis’s Palace in Revello

The death of Ludovico ii (1501) seemed to put an end to the period of great changes to the castle of Saluzzo marked by constructions of great architectural and artistic importance. Ludovico’s widow, Margaret of Foix, chose the palace of Revello as her main residence, which thus received new attention with ­proposals based on the updated criteria of the Renaissance culture. The architectural works carried out during the second half of the 15th century reveal the intention to make Revello an alternative centre to the official residence of the court of Saluzzo. This can also be seen quite eloquently from the overall position of the town at the foot of Montebracco, its defensive system and its palaces. Revello became the residence of the marquis’s court in the 1490s and even more so during the first two decades of the 16th century. There was an immediately perceptible difference in terms of usage and typology between 35

36

Patrick Boucheron, “‘Non domus ista sed urbs’: Palais princiers et environnement urbain au Quattrocento (Milan, Mantoue, Urbino)”, in Le palais dans la ville. Espaces urbains et lieux de la puissance publique dans le Méditerranée médiévale, eds. Patrick Boucheron and Jacques Chiffoleau (Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2004), 249–284. For Milan, see Evelyn Welch, Art and Authority in Renaissance Milan (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), 169–238; Aurora Scotti, “Vicende costruttive del castello”, in Il castello sforzesco di Milano, eds. Guido Lopez, Aurora Scotti and Laura Mattioli Rossi (Milan: Electa, 1986), 38–70; Il Castello Sforzesco di Milano, ed. Maria Teresa Fiorio (Milan: Skira, 2005). On Eleanor of Aragon, see Marco Folin, “La corte della duchessa: Eleonora d’Aragona a Ferrara”, in Donne di potere nel Rinascimento, eds. Letizia Arcangeli and Susanna Peyronel Rambaldi (Rome: Viella, 2008), 418–512. Monique Chatenet, “La corte del re di Francia”, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 287.

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the castle, perched protectively on the mountain in defence of the town and increasingly taking on the role of a fortress as the defensive point of the state, and the palace, located on the outskirts of the town, a sophisticated residence displaying the most up-to-date architectural trends from the palaces and villas of central Italy. The presence of the castle does not exclude the possibility of a different place of residence more in keeping with the marquis’s court. The definitive transformation of the 14th-century domus into a palatium occurred in the 1490s, during the last years of Ludovico ii’s reign, and was strongly influenced by Margaret of Foix37 (Fig. 5.7). The palace, with a rectangular base arranged around a vast courtyard, is the result of the unification of two architectural structures dating back to different periods; the oldest was a C-shaped block with its open side facing the city walls and the gardens. The domus was completed by the addition of the portico, finished at the end of the 15th century with three levels of superimposed galleries framed on both sides by two tall, narrow cylindrical stepped towers. The historical iconography – depicted in the drawing of the Theatrum Sabaudiae (1682), where the southern aisle is represented in minute detail, showing even the marble columns and the banisters, as well as in the drawing by Francesco Horologi from the 1550s (Fig. 5.8) – shows the façade and the superimposed galleries looking towards the garden.38 The side facing the town, still preserved today, was composed of a rectangular tower in the corner housing the marquis’s chapel (Fig. 5.9). The courtyard opened onto four colonnaded aisles on the ground floor with brick columns crowned with cube-shaped capitals. Access to the gardens was through a 37

38

A study of the palace (which was carried out as a by Silvia Beltramo, Architettura e i­ nsediamenti nel Marchesato di Saluzzo, PhD diss., Polytechnic of Turin, 2008), was made possible through the systematic examination of the registers of the marquis’ secretaries and state records, in particular that from 1555, written after the transferral of the princedom to the Dauphiné. Turin, Archivio di Stato, Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli di segretari marchionali, mazzo 3, Stanga, 2; ibid., Archivio Della Chiesa-Roddi, art. 178, Protocollo Stanga, “Atti di visita, con Testimoniali di Stato delle Casa. Molini, Forni, Ingegni, ed altri Edifizi e Beni Spettanti a S.M. Xma nei luoghi di Revello, Martignana, Saccabonello, Braida Cazulo, e Ribellanda” (ibid., Paesi, Saluzzo, Provincia di Saluzzo, Revello, mazzo 10, n. 22, 12 April 1555); Revello, Archivio Storico Comunale, Storia, fal. 262, ex n. 49, no. 26, “Inventario dei beni appartenenti al Re di Francia”, 9–12 April 1555. The representation of Revello was drawn by Giovanni Paolo Morosino in 1666; see also Theatrum statuum regiae celsitudinis Sabaudiae Ducis (Amsterdam: Blaeu, 1682), i, tav. 67; and Francesco Horologi, Breve ragioni del fortificare…, manuscript, Florence Biblioteca Nazionale, Magliabechiana, cl. xix, cod. 127.

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bridge over the canal marking the boundaries of the town.39 The garden featured a vegetable garden, a viridarium, and a fishpond. The main reception areas were located on the first floor of the northern wing, between the internal courtyard of the palace and the town. During the first decades of the 16th century, the use of an aula magna superiori and an adjacent camera paramenti,40 both facing north, is widely attested.41 Along with the main spaces, there were a great number of secondary spaces, such as the guardaroba (1509), situated behind the sala paramenti.42 At the beginning of the 16th century a series of new spaces were reported attesting to refurbishment work in the palace. In 1508 a deed was drawn up in one of the oldest parts of the building, in the “sala nova porrigenti versus occidentem”, while an aula nova located behind the sala magna existed in 1512.43 In the eastern part of the building, towards Saluzzo, there was a cameroto and a studio,44 which may have been the studiolo superiori.45 The restructuring of the part facing the town was completed by the construction of a chapel inside the north-eastern corner tower of the medieval domus. The “galleria longa tendentis ad cappellam”46 led to the religious space described with its furniture in 1555: a hostio fine, an anchona, benches, and 39

Revello, Archivio Storico Comunale, Storia, 262, ex. n.42, n.23, 8 April 1546; Turin, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Della Chiesa-Roddi, art. 178, Protocollo Stanga, November 1511, f. 140r; Ibid., Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli di segretari marchionali, mazzo 3, Stanga, 2, April 1509, f. 33; September 1511 f. 52. 40 For the precise archival references, see Beltramo, Architettura e insediamenti nel Marchesato di Saluzzo. 41 Turin, Archivio di Stato, Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli dei segretari marchionali, mazzo 3, Stanga, 2, November 1507, f. 7. 42 Ibid., Archivio Della Chiesa-Roddi, art. 178, Protocollo Stanga, June 1509, f. 50 r. 43 Ibid., Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli di segretari marchionali, mazzo 3, Stanga, 2, November 1508, f. 23, September 1512, f. 79. 44 Ibid., Archivio Della Chiesa-Roddi, art. 178, Protocollo Stanga, November 1511, f. 142; the studiolo in ibid., October 1511, f. 126r, December 1517, f. 260; ibid., Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli di segretari marchionali, mazzo 3, Stanga, 2, November 1514, f. 126r. 45 On the theme of the studiolo, see Wolfgang Liebenwein, Studiolo. Die Entstehung eines Raumtyps und seine Entwicklung bis um 1600 (Berlin: Mann, 1977); Cecil H. Clough, “Art as Power in the Decoration of the Study of an Italian Renaissance Prince: The Case of Federico Da Montefeltro”, Artibus et Historiae, 16 (1995), n. 31: 19–50; Peter Thornton, The Italian Renaissance Interior 1400–1600 (London: Weindenfeld & Nicolson, 1991). 46 Turin, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Della Chiesa-Roddi, art. 178, Protocollo Stanga, May 1519, ff. 278r, 279r, 1520, f. 281; Saluzzo, Archivio Storico Comunale, Archivio antico, cat. 10, 1, 8, 17 September 1546.

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seven windows, including an oculo sealed with glass.47 Next to it, in the northern structure looking towards the town, was the sacristy, covered by a vaulted ceiling. The apse of the chapel fell within the semicircular outline of the tower, with supporting buttresses at the base jutting out from the palace. The inside of the chapel preserves a fresco cycle closely linked to the patronage of the Marquis Ludovico ii and Margaret of Foix, whose portraits, together with those of their children, appear on the inside of the apse. Frescoes on the walls depict the history of the patron saints of the marquis (Saint Margaret and Saint Louis of France) and can be dated to 1515–1519 (the date was sculpted onto the lintel above the entrance); they are the work of an artist from the Lombard area, close to the court painter Hans Clemer.48 The new southern aisle which closes the internal courtyard of the palace, which has not survived, featured a loggia with superimposed galleries on three levels. The source documents describe it as a “galleria versus iardini, galleria superiori porrigente versus viridium”.49 The loggia on the third floor is identified as the “logia nova versus iardini”.50 Records of visits from 1555 allow us to determine the arrangement of the spaces, which was both striking and innovative: a triple set of constructions comprised of a line of intermediate rooms between the two galleries, one of which overlooked the courtyard and the other the garden.51 Moreover, it is plausible to consider that the external loggias and the two round towers, structured over five vaulted spaces, were additions to the pre-existing building. The southern gallery opened onto the gardens with a marble parapet marked by small banisters (fuzeti) with columns topped by marble capitals. On 47

48

49 50 51

Turin, Archivio di Stato, Paesi, Saluzzo, Provincia di Saluzzo, Revello, mazzo 10, no. 22, 12 April 1555, “Atti di visita, con Testimoniali di Stato delle Casa. Molini, Forni, Ingegni, ed altri Edifizi e Beni Spettanti a S.M. Xma nei luoghi di Revello, Martignana, Saccabonello, Braida Cazulo, e Ribellanda”. Elena Pianea, Revello La cappella dei Marchesi di Saluzzo (Savigliano: Artistica, 2003); and Massimiliano Caldera, “Ad radicem Vesulli, terra Salutiarum, vicis et castellis satis frequens: percorsi figurativi nel marchesato fra Quattro e Cinquecento”, in Arte nel territorio della Diocesi di Saluzzo, eds. Romano Allemano, Sonia Damiano and Giovanna Galante Garrone, 195–249, in particular on Clemer 195–211. Turin, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Della Chiesa-Roddi, art. 178, Protocollo Stanga, May 1512, f. 151 r, f. 187, f. 197, f. 196. Ibid., Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli di segretari marchionali, mazzo 3, Stanga, 2, November 1507, f. 8. “In basso ipsius pallacii versus orientem sunt stantie quatuor cum parva somellaria ante et retro, quae sunt due gallarie, vide licet una versus curtem pallacii et alia versus soliss ortum seu pescheriam”: ibid., Provincia di Saluzzo, Revello, mazzo 10, no. 22, 12 April 1555 (“Atti di visita”).

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the first-floor gallery, there was another loggia, less high, which also had a parapet with twenty banisters and eight small, square marble columns. Overlooking the gallery on the first floor there were seven rooms, which included the auditorio, a stibium marmoreum, and a saletta.52 There are also records of the “camera nova apud galleria superiori porrigente versus viridarium”,53 the “aula nova versus iardini”, the “saleta nova versus platea”, the “camera nova superiori porrigente versus ortum”,54 and the “camera sub galleria superiori porrigente versus iardini”.55 On the saletta side, near the tower and in the direction of the Santa Maria Nuova monastery and the garden, there was a room used as an office by the Marquise Margaret. Our documents show that the wing facing the gardens was to be reserved for private apartments. On the ground floor there were four rooms, on the top floor the marquis’s apartment,56 and on the middle floor his wife’s apartment, divided into three small rooms connected to the respective main rooms, with two small corner rooms with fireplaces corresponding to the loggias. Distinguishing between the public and the private spaces for the marquis’s residence marks a cardinal point in the evolution of Renaissance residences. In the case of Revello the distinction is clear, given that the public part was connected to the wing facing the town, with easy and immediate access, while the private spaces dominated the opposite wing, looking onto the garden and the countryside. The attempt to divide the reception spaces, used for public functions, from the private quarters is a trait found in most of the Italian residences of the second half of the 15th century. The public space evolved around the sala magna, used for audiences and solemn ceremonies, while the private spaces were divided into a series of small rooms, almost secret spaces, devoted to the private life of the sovereigns. The well-known examples of the apartments of Enea Silvio Piccolomini in Pienza, Federico da Montefeltro in Urbino, and Paul ii Barbo in Rome represent the peak of a widespread practice in the great aristocratic palaces of the 1460s and 1470s.57 52

Ibid., “Atti di visita, con Testimoniali di Stato delle Casa. Molini, Forni, Ingegni, ed altri Edifizi e Beni Spettanti a S.M. Xma nei luoghi di Revello, Martignana, Saccabonello, Braida Cazulo, e Ribellanda”. 53 Respectively ibid., Archivio Della Chiesa-Roddi, art. 178, Protocollo Stanga, May 1512, f. 151 r, f. 187, f. 197, f. 196. 54 Ibid., August 1508, ff. 32, 32 r, 34, April 1510, f. 79, June 1510, f. 84, 7 October 1510, f. 89, f. 90r, January 1511, f. 110 and 110r, September 1511, f. 131, May 1512, f. 151 r, f. 187, f. 197. 55 Ibid., Paesi, Saluzzo, Marchesato di Saluzzo, Protocolli di segretari marchionali, mazzo 3, Stanga, 2, February 1515, f. 133. 56 Ibid., Archivio Della Chiesa-Roddi, art. 178, Protocollo Stanga, March 1514, f. 186. 57 Thornton, The Italian Renaissance Interior, 300–313; Marco Folin, “La dimora del principe”, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 345–365.

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Models and Materials

Renaissance models from France and Italy were reference points for the ­construction of the castle of Saluzzo, and in particular the palace at Revello. The latter, from the end of the 15th century to the first decades of the 16th century, owing to the radical restructuring of its individual apartments and its general architectural structure, could be compared to the main princely residences of the Italian princedoms. The tendency of the interior spaces to open up towards the outside, onto the gardens and the landscape, as seen with the galleries at Revello, was found in many country villas and some urban palaces. Examples with similar solutions were documented in the north of Italy, in the region of Mantua, around Milan and Ferrara, and in the Veneto, from the mid-14th century well into the 15th. The rural palaces (like the urban ones) built by Italian princes in this period were often the result of the interaction between certain classical canons and different local practices, proud of their characteristics and often highlighting their most recognizable traits. Thus in Revello the marquise decided to build the galleries and the superimposed loggias in marble, open towards the garden and facing away from the town. In the same way, in many other cities that were seats of aristocratic power, innovative façades with superimposed loggias were built between the 1470s and the first decades of the following century, thus defining the new appearance of princely residences. A significant example is that of Ferrara: in 1472 Ercole i d’Este arranged to refurbish the façade of his courtly residence with the construction of a monumental loggia in marble with four architectural orders, with a further two loggias overlooking the garden separating the latter from the internal courtyard. The loggia format was taken up again by the duke between 1491 and 1493, when, in an attempt to upgrade the northern façade of the palace, he commissioned Biagio Rossetti to construct an imposing and distinctive marble loggia.58 The tripartite configuration – namely, a gallery looking onto a courtyard, intermediate rooms, and a loggia overlooking the valley below – arranged over three floors, is the feature shared by the palace in Revello and the French examples in Amboise and Blois.59 The dates, however, do not agree, insofar as what is 58

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Idem, “La committenza estense: l’Alberti e il palazzo di corte di Ferrara”, in Leon Battista Alberti. Architetture e committenti, eds. Arturo Calzona, Joseph Connors, Francesco Paolo Fiore and Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2009), 257–304. Jean Guillaume, “Léonard de Vinci et l’architecture française. i. Le problème de Chambord”, Revue de l’art 25 (1974): 71–84; Idem, “Léonard de Vinci et l’architecture française. ii. La villa de Charles d’Amboise et le Château de Romorantin: réflexions sur un livre de Carlo Pedretti”, Revue de l’art 25 (1974): 85–91.

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known as the apartment of Francis i in the castle of Blois seems to have been completed only after 1515, whereas the new rooms at Revello are mentioned as early as 1504.60 The façade with loggias in Blois, looking onto the gardens, has long since been compared to the Bramantian models of the Vatican, emphasizing the strong mixture found in the solutions adopted from  both Italian and French commissions, regardless of the “irregularities in the drawing of the French version, which is the antipode of the harmonious serenity of its model”.61 The superposition of loggias found in various palaces in Italian principalities seems to be a common characteristic, and there is a significant example of it not too far from Saluzzo.62 However, the profound innovation of Revello is that it opens up towards the garden and is structured around a façade overlooking the internal courtyard and another looking onto the landscape in a seamless projection towards nature. The new gallery at Revello connects the internal courtyard with the garden and the new rooms with the country view. As such, it is very different from the loggia in Pienza,63 where the arches are set against an internal continuous wall. The studio of the Marquise Margaret, screened off by the marble loggia between the two round towers, seems to 60

61

62

63

On the patronage of Francis i and the castles of Blois and Amboise, see Jean Guillaume, “François Ier architecte: les bâtiments”, in Il principe architetto, eds. Calzona, et al., 517–532; Monique Chatenet, “Francesco i architetto: i documenti”, ibid., 533–544; eadem, La cour de France au xvie siécle. Vie sociale et architecture (Paris: Picard, 2002). Eadem, “La corte del re di Francia”, 287. On this topic, see inter alia Guillaume, “François Ier architecte: les bâtiments”, 517–518; on the building activity of Francis i, Robert J. Knecht, Renaissance Warrior and Patron: Reign of Francis i (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). On the constructions at Blois, see Julia M.H. Smith, “François Ier, L’Italie et le château de Blois”, Bullettin monumental 147 (1989) fasc. 4: 307–323; Annie Cospérec, “L’aile François Ier du château de Blois. Une nouvelle chronologie”, Bullettin monumental 106 (1993) fasc. 4: 591–603, Jean Guillaume, “Château, jardin, paysage en France du xve au xviie siècle”, Revue de l’art 124 (1999): 19. In the palace of the castles of Lagnasco, already in the first decades of the 16th century: see Gianfranco Gritella, Il rosso e l’argento. I castelli di Lagnasco: tracce di architettura e di storia dell’arte per il restauro (Turin: Celid, 2008). There is a vast bibliography on Pienza. Amongst others, see Nicholas Adams, “The Construction of Pienza (1459–1464) and the Consequences of Renovatio”, in Urban Life of the Renaissance, eds. Susan Zimmerman and Ronald F.E. Weissman (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1989), 50–79; Andreas Tönnesmann, Pienza Städtebau und Humanismus (München: Hirmer, 1990); Jan Pieper, Pienza Der Entwurf einer humanistischen Weltsicht (Stuttgart and London: Ed. Mengers, 1997); Nicholas Adams, “Pienza”, in Storia dell’architettura italiana. Il Quattrocento, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore, (Milan: Electa, 1998), 314–329. On the artistic patronage of Pius ii, see Christoph L. Frommel, “Pio ii ­committente di architettura”, in Il principe architetto, eds. Calzona, et al., 327–360.

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echo the palace of Urbino, with Federico da Montefeltro’s studiolo located between two slender turrets (after 1472).64 In Rome an example of superimposed porticoes and loggias is the courtyard of San Damaso, but it is closed between the walls of the courtyard.65 Some attempts to connect the architectural space with the garden can be identified, in Rome, in the double loggia of Palazzo Venezia, at the foot of the Campidoglio (1465), and in the Pope’s Villa Belvedere at the Vatican, with its sumptuous external façade – with loggias enclosed between two projecting towers (from 1505) – looking onto the countryside.66 The gallery at Revello, with its superimposed loggias looking towards the garden, was an absolute novelty for the princedom of Saluzzo but also in termds of the classicist language permitted by the use of marble, thus implementing a completely new design with new proportions. It appears to be one of the rare and early architectural projects of sub-alpine humanism. It is modelled, as are others, on the ancient culture but articulated on the basis of local dialects. The architect was chosen by the marquis from among the Lombard masters, given that both Matteo Sanmichele and Benedetto Briosco were present on site. It is more probable, however, that the project was assigned to the architect (Sanmichele) than to the sculptor (Briosco). The choice of marble was reserved for the most ambitious and innovative architectural projects: in Verzuolo,67 as far as we know, it was limited to the 64

65

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Il palazzo di Federico da Montefeltro: restauri e ricerche, ed. Maria Luisa Polichetti (Urbino: Quattroventi, 1985); Francesco Paolo Fiore, “Urbino: i Montefeltro e i Della Rovere”, in Corti italiane del Rinascimento. Le arti e la politica nella prima età moderna, ed. Marco Folin (Milan: Officina Libraria, 2010), 285–308 and relevant bibliography; Bernd Roeck and Andreas Tönnesmann, Die Nase Italianes: Federico da Montefeltro, Herzog von Urbino, (Wagenbach: Berlin, 2055). Christoph L. Frommel, “Roma”, in Storia dell’architettura italiana. Il Quattrocento, 374–433. Piero Tomei, L’architettura a Roma nel Quattrocento (Rome: Istituto nazionale di archeologia e storia dell’arte, 1942); Cristoph L. Frommel, “Francesco del Borgo: Architekt Pius’ ii. und Pauls ii”, Römisches jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 20 (1983): 129–138; idem, Architettura e committenza da Alberti a Bramante (Florence: Olschki, 2006), 94–108. On the Roman origin of the Revello loggia, see Claudia Bonardi, “Revello: il palazzo marchionale e le sue gallerie di candidi marmi”, in Ludovico ii marchese di Saluzzo, ed. Comba, 595–610. Christoph L. Frommel, “I tre progetti bramanteschi per il Cortile del Belvedere”, in Il Cortile delle Statue: der Statuenhof des Belvedere im Vatikan, ed. Matthias Winner, Bernard Andreae and Carlo Pietrangeli (Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1998), 17–66; idem, Architettura e committenza, 157–308. In the case of the castle of Verzuolo, Ludovico ii intervened by expanding the ancient medieval construct in 1477 when, amongst the various planned interventions, our

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portal, while in Revello the use of marble was widespread. This, however, was usually limited to single works – with the exception of the magnificence of the marquis’s palace. Marble thus usually contrasts with brick or plaster, against which it appears all the more precious and infused with symbolic meaning. The use of marble takes on a particularly significant role in classically styled buildings. The choice by Briosco and Sanmichele to use marble extracted from the local alpine quarries (Paesana and the Valle Varaita) for the portals and funerary monuments here too indicates an extraordinary renewal of the compositional and decorative language.68 Marble, a precious material, was chosen by the marquis for specific elements forming part of a series of highly ambitious architectural choices, but it was also chosen by the local aristocracy for mausoleums. This was the case for the Cavassa family, who used marble from the Varaita Valley for the funerary monument of Galeazzo Cavassa (1524–1525), the entrance to the chapel in the cloister of San Giovanni, and the monumental entrance to their palace of residence near the religious site69(1524–1525). The Marquis Ludovico ii himself chose marble for his mausoleum, in contrast to the use of green stone from Sampeyre (prasinite), which was used for the construction of the marquis’s chapel in the church of San Giovanni. Benedetto Briosco, the architect of the marquis’s tombstone, seemed to favour the use of marble from Paesana, whereas Sanmichele preferred that from the Varaita Valley.70 Sanmichele’s work is also recognizable by his insertion within the architectural frame of his portals and funerary monuments of elements of inlay from ancient stones. In the marquisate of Saluzzo, the different kinds of palaces and urban castles are well documented: for example, by the studied cases of Saluzzo and Revello. However, this is not the case for the villas, which were widespread throughout the courts of the rest of Italy.71 The marquis of Saluzzo seems to

68

69

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documents tell us of the construction of a marble entrance door marked with the m ­ arquis’ ensigns. Beltramo, “La committenza architettonica di Ludovico ii”, 566–573. Silvia Beltramo and Maurizio Gomez, “Tecniche e materiali nel cantiere della cappella marchionale”, in San Giovanni di Saluzzo, ed. Rinaldo Comba (Cuneo: Società degli Studi Storici, Artistici ed Archeologici di Cuneo, 2009), 217–244. On the funerary monument to Galeazzo Cavassa, see Massimiliano Caldera, “Ad radicem Vesulli”, in Arte nel territorio della Diocesi di Saluzzo, ed. Allemano, Damiano and Galante Garrone, 229–239. On the work of Benedetto Briosco for the marquis’ court, Massimiliano Caldera, “Benedetto Briosco a Saluzzo e il monumento funebre di Ludovico ii”, in Ludovico ii marchese di Saluzzo, ed. Comba, 626–648. Howard Burns, “Castelli travestiti? Ville e residenze di campagna nel Rinascimento ­italiano”, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, eds. Calabi and Svalduz, 466–545 and

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have adhered to the practice of building a suburban residence within an important landscape only in the case of the Morra di Castellar complex, from the second half of the 15th century. The building, a closed and compact block, changed with the centuries. It was internally divided into spaces surrounding a central colonnaded courtyard with superimposed loggias and preserves the architectural character of an urban palazetto. It was constructed on the basis of a dialogue between the landscape and in direct relationship with Saluzzo and Revello. Only once the Villa Belvedere was finished, built in the Saluzzo hills beyond the city walls and later named Radicati after its last owners, was there a complete overall project for a country residence in the principality – a  principality that reached the end of its political autonomy in the first decades  of the 16th century.72 The residence includes residential areas, gardens, and arable land, in line with the suggestions of Renaissance theorists, taking up some of the architectural themes of “vivere in villa” from central and northern Italy.73

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r­elevant bibliography in appendix; Delizie estensi. Architetture di villa nel Rinascimento italiano ed europeo, eds. Francesco Ceccarelli and Marco Folin (Florence: Olschki, 2009). The marquisate of Saluzzo was conquered by France in 1548 and once and for all became part of the Savoyard realm in 1601 after the Treaty of Lyon. Il marchesato di Saluzzo. Da Stato di confine a confine di Stato a Europa, ed. Aldo A. Mola (Foggia: Bastogi editrice Italiana, 2003). This topic is too vast to be treated exhaustively here, see Beltramo, Il marchesato di Saluzzo tra Gotico e Rinascimento.

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Figure 5.1  View of the historical city centre of Saluzzo enclosed within the city walls of 1380 showing the outside of the walls at the bottom, the Pieve di Santa Maria which was to become the Duomo, San Bernardino on the left; inside the walls the church of San Giovanni, the city tower and at the top the marquis’s castle. Saluces dans le vue anomale ‘à vol d’oiseau’ du manuscrit de Francesco Horologi, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Magliabechiano xix, 127, f.70, [1558].

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Figure 5.2  The castle of Saluzzo from the relief produced by Carlo Borda. turin, archivio di stato, Carte Topografiche e disegni, carte topografiche serie III, Saluzzo, 3.1. With permission from the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Archivio di Stato – Turin.

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Figure 5.3  Drawing by Clemente Rovere of the castle of Saluzzo overlooking the town, mid-19th century. From Piemonte antico e moderno, delineato e descritto da Clemente Rovere, ed. Cristiana Sertorio Lombardi (turin: reale mutua, 1978) no. 1189.

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Figure 5.4 Saluzzo, the mid-15th century castle tower.

Figure 5.5  Saluzzo, castle interior with the rediscovered grisaille frescoes which once decorated the ancient private courtyard of the castle.

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Figure 5.6 Reconstruction of the rooms in the Saluzzo castle. 1 Aula Magna; 2 Camera paramenti; 3 Quadrangular tower (camera turris nove); 4 Private courtyard; 5 Courts of honour; 6 Galleries; 7 Turris magna seu rotunda (camera picta); 8 Camera parva voltarum apud camera paramenti/parvo studio porrigente versus Sancti Bernardini; 9 Camera voltata et picta retro camera paramenti; camera voltata liliorum picta retro camera paramenti; camera cerulea.

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Figure 5.7  Drawing by Francesco Horologi depicting Revello with the marquis’s palace in the forefront and the castle on the hill. Revello, Fortresse du marquisat de Saluces, dans le traité d’Horologi, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale, Magliabechiano xix, 127, f.74 [1558].

Figure 5.8 Detail of the marquis’ palace showing the marble façade with superimposed loggias. Revellum, in Theatrum Sabaudiae, ed. Rosanna Roccia (Turin: Archivio storico della città di Torino, 2000), vol. i, tab. 67 [1666].

“Combining the Old and the New”

Figure 5.9 Revello, the marquis’s chapel located within the palace walls.

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The Sforza Castle of Milan (1450–1499) Aurora Scotti The castle of Milan today displays the internal and external architectural structure established by the renovations carried out after the Second World War. The latter were adjustments made to the heavy restructuring implemented by Luca Beltrami at the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th. These interventions significantly affect our knowledge of the building. They do not, however, entirely undermine the possibility of identifying enduring features and elements of continuity between the aristocratic Sforza residence, the military stronghold of the 16th–19th centuries, and the present-day home of the city’s art collection (Figs. 6.1–6.2).1 The residence built by Francesco Sforza in 1450 was based on a pre-existing structure, making use of the remains of the external walls, towers, and fortress built by the Visconti; these sat astride the 12th-century city walls from the mid14th century to the mid-15th, when the structure was destroyed by the Ambrosian Republic in 1448–49. Demolition however, as was customary in ancient times, did not completely destroy the structure. A letter from Francesco Sforza dated August 1451 refers to the clearing of rubble from the cellars, indicating that the solid foundations were still at least partially intact;2 an additional document from 1452 states that “everywhere, foundations have remained, be they few or many”.3 The preservation of the Viscontean structure seems to be confirmed by the sarizzo (Lombard granite) base still visible from the northeast/south-west part of the castle and from the analyses of some parts of the foundations by Gianfranco Pertot’s research team (carried out as part of a 1 See Il Castello Sforzesco di Milano, ed. Maria Teresa Fiorio (Milan: Skira, 2005) and in particular the articles by Amedeo Bellini, “Il castello di Luca Beltrami”, 225–257, and Alberico Barbiano di Belgioioso, “La rifondazione del castello nel dopoguerra”, 335–345, with bibliography; Caterina Di Biase, “‘La resurrezione del Gran Monumento’. Beltrami e l’invenzione del Castello sforzesco”, in Luca Beltrami 1854–1933. Storia, arte e architettura a Milano, ed. Silvia Paoli (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana editoriale, 2014), 121–141. 2 A document from August 1451, mentioned by Luca Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano sotto il dominio dei Visconti e degli Sforza, 1368–1535 (Milan: Hoepli, 1894), 84. 3 “Per tutto à rimasto fondamento, o poco o assay” (ibid., 40; this book is still crucial today for our knowledge of the castle); Luciano Patetta, L’architettura del Quattrocento a Milano (Milan: Clup, 1987), 228; and idem, “Il castello nell’età sforzesca (1450–1499)”, in Il Castello Sforzesco, ed. Fiorio, 79–87.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_007

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recent, broader campaign – not completely systematic – of surveying and comparing results with those put forward in Luca Beltrami’s time).4 A first outward fortified wall was built during the first half of the 14th century by Galeazzo Visconti close to the Porta Giovia, with a postern opening onto the city walls. Subsequently, Gian Galeazzo Visconti built a citadel outside the city walls,5 at the city’s expense and under the direction of the engineer Giovanni Magatti, where he received the ducal crown in 1395. At the beginning of the 15th century Filippo Maria Visconti then connected the two parts of the building by knocking down the remaining intermediate fragment of city wall, thereby emphasizing the residential function of the citadel. The Milanese building thereby became part and parcel of the Viscontean system of castles and fortresses (from Novara to Abbiategrasso, Vigevano, Piacenza, Cremona, and from Bellinzona to Como, Bergamo, Brescia, etc.). The attention paid to the residential function of the Milanese stronghold, however, also emphasized its relationship with the castle of Pavia. The latter, considered as the duke’s primary residence, had been built by Galeazzo ii in 1361, based on a quadrilateral plan with corner towers. It was further expanded through a project connecting it, by means of a vast ducal garden, to the Certosa, founded in 1396.6 Similarly, the Milanese castle, with its vast expansion beyond the city walls, was oriented towards the Certosa of Garegnano, founded in 1349 by Galeazzo Visconti, which had been supported by considerable donations from Gian Galeazzo in 1399 as part of his proposed programme of large-scale constructions in an attempt to validate his power over the dukedom. Thus, at the beginning of the 15th century, the Viscontean castle in Milan was an alternative ducal residence in contrast to the official residence in Arengo. The latter was situated in the heart of the city, adjacent to the old church of Santa Maria Maggiore, around which, since 1386, the new Duomo had begun to take shape. Upon the duke’s death, control of the castle became

4 Gianfranco Pertot, “La fabbrica viscontea: sopravvivenze e integrazioni”, ibid., 260–307. 5 In addition to the texts by Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano; and Patetta, L’architettura del Quattrocento; see Patrick Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir. Urbanisme et politique édilitaire à Milan (xive–xve siècles) (Rome: École française de Rome, 1998), 202–203 and 206, with references to documents published by Caterina Santoro, I registri dell’Ufficio di Provvisione e dell’Ufficio dei Sindaci sotto la dominazione viscontea (Milan: Comune di Milano, 1929). 6 See Adriano Peroni, “Residenza signorile e costruzioni pubbliche”, in idem et al., Pavia. Architettura dell’età sforzesca (Turin: Istituto Bancario San Paolo, 1978), 9–89; Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 204–206; and for a general overview Antonello Vincenti, Castelli viscontei e sforzeschi (Milan: Rusconi, 1981).

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the main objective for the various civic factions contending for power.7 In 1447 the Ambrosian Republic came out victorious and ordered the dismantling of the castle, which was considered a symbol of Viscontean power. The seat of government was restored to the central court of Arengo. The demolition and recovery of material (wood, iron, stone) was contracted out, allowing citizens to take possession of stones recovered from their participation in the demolition works. Most of the raw material was intended for the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, the construction of the cathedral, thus allowing for what Boucheron described as “the civilian recycling of the castle’s raw material, healing the urban wounds produced by aristocratic tyranny”.8 However, a series of factors convinced some of the civic factions to offer Francesco Sforza command of the city: the persistence of internal clashes between the factions, the wars with Venice, and the ambiguous behaviour of Francesco Sforza himself – a cunning condottiere who had married an illegitimate daughter of Filippo Maria Visconti and whose troops, in this altercation, sided alternately for and against Milan. This was on the proviso that he agreed not to impede the dismantling of the fortress or the recovery of the old perimeter of the city walls, nor to build a new one. Having accepted all these conditions, on 26 February 1450 Sforza officially took power over Milan in a solemn ceremony in the Duomo with his wife, Bianca Maria Visconti, beside him. Sforza thereby underlined the legitimacy of his power, achieved through military means and his mastery of the art of war, also guaranteeing dynastic legitimacy through the presence of his wife.9 On this basis, on 1 July 1450,10 he demonstrated his auctoritas by ordering the reconstruction of the castrum Portae Iovis by making use of the quadrilateral structure of the foundations straddling the city walls with the corner towers characteristic of Viscontean residences. The structure was divided into two nuclei, with a large fortified 7

For an overview, see Storia di Milano (Milano: Fondazione Treccani degli Alfieri, 1955), vol. 6, Il ducato Visconteo e la Repubblica Ambrosiana (1392–1450); and vol. 7, 1956, L’età sforzesca; as well as Gli Sforza a Milano e in Lombardia e i loro rapporti con gli stati italiani ed europei (1450–1535) (Milan: Cisalpino Goliardica, 1982). 8 Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 211. 9 Bianca Maria Visconti’s role alongside her husband was extremely important, made explicit by the presence at court and especially in the duchess’ entourage, of people tied to the ancient Milanese families alongside faithful collaborators of Francesco Sforza from central Italy and Romagna, see Nadia Covini, “Tra patronage e ruolo politico. Bianca Maria Visconti (1450–1468)”, in Donne di potere nel Rinascimento, eds. Letizia Arcangeli and Susanna Peyronel (Rome: Viella, 2008), 247–280. 10 Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 213 (quoting a document kept in Milan, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Sforzesco, Registri ducali, reg. 1, f. 38).

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external body extending towards the countryside and a vast courtyard, the Piazza d’Armi, looking towards the city. Continuity with the Viscontean ­structure is clearly seen in the use of the squared sarizzo stone blocks found in the external base of the quadrangular maestra tower (the western tower) and the tower del tesoro (the northern tower), as well as in the long curtain wall connecting the two towers and on the south-western and north-eastern sides (Fig. 6.3). Other blocks found in the northern section of the city moat, incorporated within the new construction, became an internal canal, a sealedoff trench, thanks to the destruction of the newly built segment of city wall.11 Works begin in 1450, with the new project joining onto the Viscontean foundations, elevating them with a new strong brick wall ending in a series of stone corbels. Some later documents pertaining to the acquisition of stone materials enable us to refer to a construction of around 360 metres long and 21 metres high, which corresponds to the outward perimeter of the whole section of the building located beyond the ancient walls.12 The new construction included two distinct bodies, one of which had a rectangular structure to the south-west (the Rocchetta: Fig. 6.5) and the other a rectangular structure facing north-east (Fig. 6.6). The main tower (Fig. 6.5, no. 1), with its side walls, was the first section to be worked on, since the castle keeper, Foschino degli Attendoli, became a resident in October 1451. He received a bed and other pieces of furniture, similar to those placed in the room above intended to accommodate Duke Francesco Sforza and his wife, Bianca Maria Visconti.13 It must have been a symbolic claim of ownership, as the dukes officially resided in the court of Arengo or in the castle in Pavia. The south-west and north-west sides next to the tower were probably the first sections where works were carried out not only on the external perimeter but also to determine the internal arrangement. The other two sides framing the courtyard had solid, thick outer walls. Near the city, new works involved the creation of a vast rectangular courtyard delimited not by a simple curtain wall but by a series of buildings of 11

The wall on the southwestern side, facing the inner trench still bears witness to the works to join the new brick surface to the old sarizzo one also in the positioning of some of the holes created for the scaffolding; works on the structure of the dried moat have revealed the presence of reinforcements added to the walls (Pertot, “La fabbrica viscontea”). 12 The overall measurements are given by Patetta, L’architettura del Quattrocento, 233 and refer to a supply of sarizzo stone probably intended for the corbels, around 1460 – which suggests that the external brick walls were almost finished. 13 Patetta, L’architettura del Quattrocento, 239; Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano, 86–87.

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c­ onsiderable width, around 15 m high, with corner towers and a main entrance protected by a ravelin.14 In 1450 Francesco Sforza took the whole project upon himself giving specific instructions either ad bocham (verbatim) or through letters while he was away.15 He organized the works according to the methodical subdivision of tasks between the various workers in charge of construction. Thus Giovanni da Milano was nominated as the commissioner for the construction super laboreribus, in association, however, with Marcaleone da Nogarolo, commissioner super provisionibus in charge of the acquisition of raw materials and paying the workers. In addition there was a treasurer, Francesco Pandolfo, whose role was to oversee the financing of the site. Giovanni da Milano died in 1451 and was replaced by Filippo Scozioli d’Ancona, whose additional task was to tend to the forests of Cusago, which provided the necessary wood: “tucta quella quantità di legname in quella forma et qualità che vuy richiedereti per fabricare de quello nostro castello”.16 Alongside the tasks assigned to the overseers of the various areas of the building site there were other workers: the brothers Ambrogio and Pietro da Cernusco, both engineers and wood suppliers, and Pietro da Cortona, who was also in charge of the provisioning of building material – as was subsequently Giovanni Solari, a representative of one the most important building companies of 15th-century Milan.17 The size of the building implied the need for a large quantity of supplies of bricks for which it seemed fitting to set up, besides the already numerous kilns around Lodi and Como, additional kilns specifically for this purpose in Cusago, under the almost exclusive control of Iacopo da Cortona.18 There were considerable expenses from the start (36,000 ducats derived from taxes levied in Milan and the other cities 14 Patetta, L’architettura del Quattrocento, 230. 15 Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 463, quoting documents kept in Milan, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, cart. 667. 16 See the orders for the construction of the foundations of the pilasters for the drawbridge at the entrance to the castle from the town, or the instructions found in the contract for the semi-finished stones for the base of the part facing the Porta Vercellina, given by Filippo Scozioli on 25 October 1451 (ibid., 447; Milan, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Sforzesco, Registri delle missive, reg. 3; and Carteggio interno, cart. 667). 17 For the engineers and architects working for Sforza at the castle, see the individual entries in the meticulous and richly documented inventory in Paolo Bossi, Santino Langé and  Francesco Repishti, Ingegneri ducali e camerali nel Ducato e nello stato di Milano (1450–1706). Dizionario biobibliografico (Florence: Edifir, 2007), see Individual entries. 18 Sometimes the supplies were insufficient, though on 1 December 1452, Iacopo da Cortona confirmed a supply of 75,000,000 bricks for the castle’s construction site (it was much more difficult to acquire the necessary supplies in 1471): see Boucheron, Le pouvoir de

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of the dukedom involved in the early months),19 but the money was not always available on time. As the very names of the workers working on site make clear, Francesco Sforza had chosen master builders from central Italy with whom he was familiar, as well as Lombard masters, thereby applying choices to the building site that also determined the direction of his political administration. While preserving his trust in the local workers who based their know-how on practical skills and continuity with their local tradition, Sforza tried to colour his architectural choices with topical references to the ancients in accordance with the most advanced architectural experimentation of the first half of the 15th century. He summoned to Milan Antonio Averlino, known as il Filarete − trained in marble and bronze sculpture and skilled in drawing and formal invention – who attempted to refresh the local models for the partitioning of urban space and the functional and decorative arrangement of buildings. After arriving from Rome on 26 September 1451, through the intercession of the Medici, Filarete set to work at the castle building site and was specifically responsible for defining the view towards the city, which was articulated along a long curtain wall with two circular corner turrets with an approximate diameter of 20 m and six vaulted rooms, one above the other.20 At the centre was an entrance, for which Filarete designed an additional tower; however, there was no trace left of it after an explosion in 1521. Despite the documentation provided by Luca Beltrami to justify its reconstruction at the beginning of the 20th century with rectangular blocks placed one over another (Fig. 6.2), the form and proportions of the tower remain uncertain. Filarete – who had designed it with three stepped sections – had perhaps tried to interpret the requests and aspirations of the duke explained, for example, by Francesco Filelfo, also a friend of Filarete, in the drafting of decorative programmes intended for the court of Arengo.21 In his architectural treatise written in Milan at the beginning bâtir, 453 (with references to Filarete for the quality of the bricks); and Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano, 273. 19 Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 213–214, quoting documents in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. It., cod. 1594, ff. 61–62. 20 Ibid., 601–602, which refers to previous squared foundations (probably Viscontean) also facing the city with a detailed analysis of the round towers. 21 On the Court of Arengo, see the overview by Evelyn S. Welch, “Patrons, Artists, and Audiences in Renaissance Milan 1300–1600”, in The Court Cities of Northern Italy, Milano, Parma, Piacenza, Mantua, Bologna, Urbino, Pesaro and Rimini, ed. Charles M. Rosenberg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 26–35; Francesco Caglioti, “Francesco Sforza, Bonifacio Bembo e ‘compagni’: nove prosopopee inedite per il ciclo di antichi eroi ed eroine nella Corte ducale dell’Arengo a Milano (1456–1461 circa)”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 37 (1994): 183–217. On the relations between Filarete

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of the 1460s, Filarete referred to the idea of the access tower with a door, in which a cylindrical body is superimposed on top of an initial rectangular layer, with a further two increasingly narrow layers on top: one square and the other octagonal.22 Evelyn S. Welch has long emphasized the relationship between the images in the treatise and the widespread reconstructions of Hadrian’s mausoleum (the Castel Sant’Angelo) from the beginning of the 15th century which Filarete had also referenced in the bronze doors of Saint Peter’s.23 The reference to the ideal classical models of the ancients is also implicit in the Milanese tower, in the spare references recovered from extant documents. It marks not only an innovation and break with local architectural habits, but also a contrast with the old Viscontean Fortress. Under the cornice of the first quadrangular compartment of the tower, above the Sforza arms, Filarete left a hollow dip, three braccia high and one deep (about 18×0.6 m), to be filled by a continuous terracotta frieze with bucrania and garlands. An obvious reference to antique reliefs, it also reveals a certain similarity with the divisional frieze seen in the drawing of the façade of the Banco Mediceo in Milan mentioned by Filarete in his treatise.24 Owing to the opposition of the Milanese engineers, based on specious operating difficulties, the decorative project was abandoned. Similar opposition was expressed when it came to the marble corbels designed with an elegant, leaf-shaped finish and probably intended by Filarete

and Filelfo, see Maria Beltramini, “Francesco Filelfo e il Filarete: nuovi contributi alla storia dell’amicizia fra il letterato e l’architetto nella Milano sforzesca”, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Classe di Lettere e Filosofia. Quaderni 1–2 (1996): 119–125. 22 See Antonio Averlino detto il Filarete, Trattato di architettura, eds. Anna Maria Finoli, Liliana Grassi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1972), vol. 2, schema 21 (Codice Magliabechiano, bk 6, c. 42r). On the text, see Maria Beltramini, “Le illustrazioni del Trattato d’architettura di Filarete: ­storia, analisi, fortuna”, Annali di architettura 13 (2001): 25–52. On the ancient testimonies about the tower, note the recovery of a good photographic reproduction of the lost wooden altarpiece with the Lament of Christ – which had been in the parish church of Casoretto and was cited by Beltrami: in the background it showed a view of a round turret and the Filaretean tower, see Claudio Salsi, “Sulle orme di Luca Beltrami. Un’immagine del Castello Sforzesco e una perduta ancona lignea di S. Maria Bianca in Casoretto”, Rassegna di studi e notizie 34 (2011): 209–230. 23 Evelyn S. Welch, Art and Authority in Renaissance Milan (New Haven and London: Yale UniversityPress, 1995), 184–187. 24 Filarete Trattato di architettura, bk. 25, c. 192r; references to Hadrian’s mausoleum have also been confirmed by Richard Schofield and Giulia Ceriani Sebregondi, “Bartolomeo Bon, Filarete e le case di Francesco Sforza a Venezia”, Annali di architettura 18–19 (2006–2007): 37–38.

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as a finishing touch for the tower, but possibly also for other parts of the castle, such as the interior of the Rocchetta.25 On site, organizational problems occurred: on 3 November 1452, Iacopo da  Cortona wrote to Francesco Sforza saying that he had not found any Candoglia marble available at the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo (which, with Visconti permission, owned the similarly named quarries), adding that to obtain some of these “marble blocks from the mountain would require a considerable amount of time, because the marble has not yet been quarried from the mountain”.26 Filarete left the works on the castle in 1454, which did not stop him carrying out other ducal commissions intended, as in the case of the Ospedale Maggiore, to develop architectural models and themes exemplifying social, political, and cultural excellence.27 After Filarete, another Florentine architect began work on the building, namely Benedetto Ferrini, who had been in Lombardy since 1453. He was in charge of the supplies of limestone and managing brick kilns throughout the Lodi territory (especially the factories in Cremona), but he also worked in Milan and on the castle for at least two decades.28 The division of management and supervision tasks on site between different teams of master builders was a source of incessant conflict; delays and friction were worsened by complaints and continual appeals to the duke. Finally, Francesco Sforza had to appoint a sole director with the authority to manage the site.29 His choice fell upon the 25

Beltrami, having found sarizzo corbels in the excavations of the castle’s outer moat, concluded that the pieces came from the destruction of Filarete’s tower (Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano, 616); their shape was analogous to that of the corbels present on side of the courtyard of the Rocchetta. On the organization of the Lombard building site, see the synthesis in the recent piece by Welch, “Patrons, Artists, and Audiences”, 24–26. 26 “Dicti marmori de montania gli va tempo assai perché lo dicto marmo non è ancora cavato alla montania” (Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 478, quoting a document kept in Milan, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, cart. 660). 27 The fundamental role of Filarete in Lombard culture also as a disseminator of a classicism based on ancient numismatics has been pointed out by Richard Schofield, “Avoiding Rome: an introduction to Lombard Sculptors and the Antique”, Arte lombarda 100 (1992), n. 1, 28–42. 28 Maria Verga Bandirali, “Documenti per Benedetto Ferrini ingegnere ducale sforzesco (1453–1479)”, Arte lombarda 60 (1981): 49–102; eadem, “Ferrini Benedetto”, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (Rome: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, 1997), vol. 47, 185–187. 29 Welch, Art and Authority, 178–179; Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 275–276 (quoting kept in Milan, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Sforzesco, Carteggio interno, cart. 661) points out that the counsellor Andrea da Foligno had reported to Sforza that problems occurred on site because no one was properly respected: “non gli è uno uomo che stia fermo sul lavoro e che se facia temere”.

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Cremona-born Bartolomeo Gadio, who had been a comrade-in-arms of Sforza and had solid experience of war machines and artillery, demonstrated during  the sieges of Cremona, Casalmaggiore, and Piacenza, which had earned him the position of head of military supplies (“Superiore del carezzo e delle munizioni”). Thus in 1454 Gadio, whom Francesco Sforza had occasionally consulted about the castle ever since 1450, was entrusted with its overall management, overseeing all the various sectors, including the engineers.30 In 1455 the appointment was extended to that of “General commissioner, administrator and superintendent over all matters of defence, ammunition and artillery, on the landed estates over the strongholds and fortresses in our dominion and  over the buildings and construction of fortresses on land and at sea” (“Commissario generale, administratore et provisore sopra tutte munitione provisione et artelarie, così de campagnie come de roche, fortezze del nostro dominio et sopra le fabrice de costructione et lavorerii de fortezze et edificii cosi in terra como in acqua”),31 in the territories under Sforza’s control, from Bellinzona to Imola, from the Adda to La Spezia. Thus Gadio established himself as the intermediary between the duke’s wishes and the activity of all those who worked on his building sites. He was also in charge of the financial, technical, and architectural aspects of the enterprise with the authority to penalize, even financially, those responsible for unsatisfactory results. He remained in office until his death in 1484. Others also arrived from Cremona, such as Giacomo De Lera from 1455 to 1457, and later Danesio Maineri, both proponents of technical and functional execution without particular concerns over style, which was also the case of Matteo da Como. Under Gadio, the façade of the castle facing the city was completed with the construction, on the sides, of two monumental cylindrical towers; the bases were conical and separated by an outward-curved marble string course, called a redondone. The external ­surface was covered with regular sarizzo blocks chiselled into diamond-shaped tips (Fig. 6.4), which made a great impact never before seen in Lombard fortified façades. This choice was perhaps suggested by Filarete or Ferrini, but was carried out under the attentive supervision of the commissioner.32 30

31 32

Francesco Sforza appointed him the “Commissarium nostrum omnium laborerium dicti Castri et dicti collegam prudentium virorum Filippi de Scottiolis de Ancona et Jacobi de Cortona quos iampridiem super iis deputavimus” (Milan, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Sforzesco, Registri ducali, reg. 17, f. 57r, 19 November 1454). In addditon to Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 275–284, see also the summary given by Maria Cristina Loi, “Gadio, Bartolomeo”, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, (Rome: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, 1998), vol. 51, 178–80. Milan, Archivio di Stato, Autografi, cart. 88, 11 October 1455. Beltrami had reported that the redondone was in Candoglia marble (Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano, 620). The original towers were lowered in 1848 and then raised again and

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In 1457 Carlo da Cremona was appointed commissioner of the works for the garden, which was to become an integral part of the castle. It stretched over the north-west side and was delimitated in 1460 to protect both the cultivated areas and the parts more specifically used for courtly entertainment.33 During the works begun in 1450 upon the orders of Francesco Sforza, the quadrangular nucleus constituting the Rocchetta had only one possible entrance – through the drawbridge built over the dry moat. After the master tower was in place, the works on the south-west and north-west curtain walls had led to the construction of architectural structures connected to each other with three rooms and a hall on the first side and one room and a vast reception hall on the other. The layout of the south-east and north-west sides was different from what we see today (and not made any clearer by recent restorations). On the south-east side there should have been a fortified and guarded entrance whose top limit was marked by a frieze with sarizzo corbels, displaying ornamental-style foliage inspired by Filarete’s model. On the first two sides of the Rocchetta’s court (south-west and north-west) a  wide-arched cross-vaulted portico rounded off the building (Fig.  6.7). It is difficult to ascertain how much of the colonnade was already built under Francesco Sforza and how much of it dates to the governance of Galeazzo Maria, who, after Francesco’s death in 1466, continued, completed, and extended his father’s projects. The colonnade has columns on both sides, with a base and shaft made of sarizzo stone, with Candoglia marble capitals, echoed on the back walls by hanging capitals made of Angera stone. The measurements, collected and published by Luca Beltrami in his studies of the castle, indicated some discrepancies in the proportions; these had led him to give planning precedence to the mass of the south-western part of the building (with columns of varying diameters ranging from 0.53 to 0.57 m, an interspace of 4.15 m, and

c­ ompleted in their current shape according to Beltrami’s restoration. The special solution of ashlars with a diamond-shaped tip has no known precedents in military architecture of the 15th century, though there may be some analogies with the contemporaneous renovation of the base of the Guardia and Mezzo towers of Naples’ Castel Nuovo. This idea was taken up a few years later in the Ca’ del Duca in Venice (see Schofield and Ceriani Sebregondi, “Bartolomeo Bon, Filarete”). Matteo Ceriana, “La Cappella Corner nella Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli a Venezia”, in All’ombra delle volte: architettura del Quattrocento a Firenze e Venezia, eds. Massimo Bulgarelli and Matteo Ceriana (Milan: Electa, 1996), 110, cites however a similar bugnato shape in the loggia painted by Gentile da Fabriano on the forefront of the Strozzi altarpiece; he suggests the bugnato in a drawing by Giuliano da Sangallo of the Arco di Fano in his Taccuino di disegni from the Biblioteca Vaticana may have derived from the Milanese bugnato. 33 Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 562.

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the depth of the colonnade set at 5.15 m) rather than the north-western aisle, which had more flexible proportions (columns with diameters ranging from 0.47 to 0.53 m, an interspace of 4.23 to 4.30 m, and a depth of 5.90).34 The design of each capital also differs in proportion to these slightly different proportions, although they all comply to a general schema. The Corinthian capitals are divided into two with a moulding which “divides the bell in two and separates the floral crowns”; the central leaf of the second crown is replaced by a heraldic plaque, and the volutes spiralling from the caulicole are clawed. In the first wing of the portico the hanging capitals have semicircular sections, whereas in the second wing “they are configured as mural projections” of their corresponding external capitals.35 The two sides have in common the refined workmanship of the Candoglia marble capitals, which refer in particular to the heraldic attributes of Galeazzo Maria (Fig. 6.9). The materials employed are different from the bricks used in the curtain walls, so it is possible that the workers were also different. As concerns the work on the sarizzo stone, the sources provide some references to one of the members of the Solari family, Francesco:36 from 1464 he appears in the list of stone suppliers for the columns, steps, the bugnati, and the corbels of the various ducal sites, of which the castle is one. References to the capitals, confirmed by recent restorations to be of good-quality Candoglia marble, are even more fleeting, although it is worth recalling that in 1467 Cristoforo Mantegazza received pieces of marble from the Fabbrica del Duomo for use in the castle.37 The date is important, as from 1465 Francesco Sforza, complaining 34 Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano, 650–655. 35 For the design of capitals in the Milanese area, see the pioneering work of Luisa Giordano, “Tipologie di capitelli in età sforzesca: prima ricognizione”, in La scultura decorativa del primo rinascimento (Rome: Viella, 1983), 179–212 and in particular 186–188. As for the actual designer of the capitals, Giordano suggests it may be Ferrini (ibid., 185). 36 Charles R. Morscheck, “Francesco Solari: Amadeo’s master?”, in Giovanni Antonio Amadeo scultore e architetto del suo tempo, eds. Janice Shell and Liana Castelfranchi (Milan: Cisalpino, 1993), 103–123 (in particular 106). 37 The payment of 26 August 1467 was made by Galeazzo Maria, the new duke, who had to pay 28 “centenara” worth of marble given to Cristoforo Mantegazza in six slabs by Guiniforte Solari, architect of the Duomo, with a payment order made by Bartolomeo Gadio (Annali della Fabbrica del Duomo, 2 [1887], 260). The payment for marble handed over from the Fabbrica to Mantegazza for his personal use and for the castle (Milan, Archivio della Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, reg. 251, c. 197) is indicated by Janice Shell, “Amadeo, the Mantegazza, and the Facade of Certosa di Pavia”, in Giovanni Antonio Amadeo scultore e architetto, 200; and echoed in Vito Zani, “Mantegazza, Cristoforo”, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 2007, vol. 69, 164–168.

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about the poor management of the Veranda Fabbrica (which perhaps impeded the arrival of his workers at the ducal building sites), had appointed three ducal commissioners: Giovanni Castronovate, Giovanni Giapano and Bartolomeo Gadio.38 It was Gadio who paid for the marble given to Mantegazza to work on. Again, it must have been Galeazzo Maria who completed the works on the north-east side, which bear his own arms in the capitals and the keystones of the ground-floor rooms. On the first floor of the Rocchetta’s northwest wing, the only double-height great hall must have been used for the gioco della balla at the end of the 1460s (Fig. 6.5, no. 7). The function of the other great halls in the other wing is uncertain, but they must have been used to store provisions or ammunition, given that the entire building was supposed to be self-sufficient and capable of resisting prolonged sieges. The stairs leading to the higher floors were adjacent to the master tower on the south-east side, which had its own independent staircase within the walls leading to the firstfloor room. The need for bricks was made more acute by the construction of an external line of the castle’s defence, based on round Viscontean towers, broadened and reordered to become the corner points of what became known as the ghirlanda: the subterranean path in the counterscarp beyond the moat which surrounded the castle on three sides. It survived the bombardments in part and can still be walked through. Its construction sealed off the castle, making it stronger and protecting it, as is clearly shown in a drawing by Leonardo.39 The construction of the covered path allowed for the possibility of having wide openings made in the ground-floor rooms of the Rocchetta where windows (mullioned or not?) with richly decorated terracotta mouldings would open; later documents would refer to them as “balconies” which may have been designed at least in part by Filarete.40 It was almost certainly Francesco Sforza 38

39 40

Annali della Fabbrica del Duomo 2 (1887), 239, on 17 January 1465. Payment made to the master builders and workers of the Duomo, working on the Porta Giovia was recorded on 23 December of the same year (ibid., 248). The ducal commissioners are not recorded in the years following the death of Francesco Sforza. Paris, Institut de France, Ms. B, f. 36v. Patetta recalls a ducal command to Filarete for a drawing of windows to be made “in quella bellezza, modo et forma che richiede così fatta opera come è questo castello” enjoining Pietro da Cernusco not to hinder the architect; he then claimed, following wide-spread opinion, (see Vincenti, Castelli viscontei e sforzeschi, 150, n.8) that the windows were intended for the front facing the city. The reference however is not certain, for it could also refer to windows for the outside of the master tower and the Rocchetta which in 1452 were the most advanced parts of the construction. Today, in these areas, there are large single-panelled windows, but Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano, 655, reporting on the

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who instigated the works on the outer perimeter also in the other residential area, close to the Rocchetta but distinct from it, known as the Corte Ducale. Here too a drawbridge over a dry moat guaranteed a well-protected entrance. Galeazzo Maria was committed from the start to bring his father’s projects to completion. From 1467 he chose the castle of Milan as his own seat of residence, though only a few rooms (seven) and a few beds (thirteen) were available. Shortly thereafter the usable rooms doubled in number, and in 1469 he aimed to move there with his young wife, Bona of Savoy, in obvious contrast to his mother, Bianca Maria Visconti, who wished to stay in Arengo. However, given that he maintained the habits of an itinerant lifestyle, moving between the various Sforza residences, his stays in the castle of Porta Giovia never exceeded two months in the year.41 Records of works from 1468 document preparations for accommodation in the castle, what is termed casamenti in castello, probably referring to the Rocchetta, where there was also a chapel, which Galeazzo Maria decorated with two Carrara marble statues; the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo was paid for the marble for one of these in 1473.42

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restorations on the Rocchetta, writes that none of the mullioned windows were found complete and that he had interpreted (a sign of the freedom with which the restoration was carried out) the few traces left as a starting point for the restitution of the mullioned windows, which, in any case, were only rebuilt on the external sides of the ducal courtyard. As for the aforementioned drawing by Leonardo, see Pietro C. Marani, Fortezze, bastioni e cannoni, Disegni di Leonardo dal Codice Atlantico (Novara: De Agostini, 2009), 111, scheda 29, echoing what already can be found in idem, L’architettura fortificata negli studi di Leonardo da Vinci, con il catalogo completo dei disegni (Florence: Olschki, 1984). Gregory Peter Lubkin, A Renaissance Court. Milan under Galeazzo Maria Sforza (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1994), 34–35 and Appendix i, the number of rooms, set at seven, provided by Lubkin leads us to suppose that only the ground floor rooms of the Rocchetta were habitable; Pavia continued to be one of the most important residences for the court, and in 1468 the only one capable of accommodating a numerous court (for a distributive schema, see ibid., 58–59); Lubkin quantitatively reconstructed the court of Galeazzo Maria and his wife Bona, underlining that the duke’s court travelled with around 800 people (Chap. v, and 265–278). The supply of Carrara marble from the Fabbrica del Duomo to the castle was paid for on 30 October 1473: see Annali della Fabbrica del Duomo 2 (1877), 281. In the Relazione generale della visita et consegna del Castello di Milano (Milan 1652), written by the court engineer Francesco Maria Ricchino, an oratory is mentioned under a central arch of the portico with an altar, framed by two statues in Carrara marble, which derive, most probably, from these supplies. The location of the chapel could be indicated more precisely by the architectural decoration which came to light once more through recent restorations, with a date compatible with the last decade of the 15th century.

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In the Corte Ducale, the residence was structured around a rectangular U-shaped courtyard (Fig.  6.8). The architect involved in the project was Benedetto Ferrini. From 1468 scaffolding was erected for the pictorial decoration of the rooms. Galeazzo Maria was in search of imperial recognition, the emperor having granted him the ducal title. Thus, sensitive to the propagandistic value of art which could be explicated through the richness of the furniture and decorations, Galeazzo Maria had a sumptuous apartment prepared for himself in the north-west wing. It consisted of two rooms and a hall overlooking the external moat, counterbalanced on the other side by a new chapel and a long hall overlooking the internal courtyard. In the northern corner, in the northern tower “of the treasure”, there was a square room which, according to the ceremonial customs of the court of Burgundy,43 served as a connection room and led to the apartment of Bona of Savoy. The latter comprised a room and a great hall in the north-eastern part. These rooms overlooked the rectangular courtyard through “open halls”, a colonnaded portico made up of sarizzo stone composed of “six perfectly central arches, framed at the ends by a pair of pilasters shaped at a right angle with a shielded capital”.44 It was most likely Benedetto Ferrini who planned this portico, with its harmonious measurements and perfect proportions: 28 m long, 8 m deep, with 5m-high columns with marble Corinthian capitals, featuring a design based on the capitals made for the Rocchetta with the coats of arms of Galeazzo Maria’s favourite devices. As for the internal spatial arrangement, Galeazzo Maria could reach the chapel directly from his own room, and his wife could reach it through this portico. The elegance of the portico’s proportions is enhanced by the carefully designed connection between this side of the building and the north-west façade of the ducal residence. The effect is amplified both by the external frieze, marcapiano, and particularly the repetition of the brick pilaster strips which mark the limits of the portico and which are also found at the western end of the façade. In addition, a pair of half-length pilaster strips rest on the underlying capital, which shares the weight of the two arches – the defining elements of the portico. The portico itself marks the beginning of the stairs, which, through two comfortable flights, lead to the small trabeated loggia on the first floor.45 This staircase provided access to the upper apartment, which had been under construction since 1469 as an exact replica of the one below. 43 Lubkin, A Renaissance Court. 44 Verga Bandirali, “Documenti per Benedetto Ferrini”, 59–60. 45 Ibid.; the specificity of these pilaster strips has been emphasized by Schofield and Ceriani Sebregondi, “Bartolomeo Bon, Filarete”, 29; they identify links with a schema in Filarete’s treatise depicting a building in a “luogo pantanoso” i.e. on marshland, in the wider context

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The decoration of the ducal apartments on the ground floor, begun in the same year, was to produce one of the most dazzling interiors commissioned by Galeazzo Maria.46 The painting was carried out by Lombard master painters (Pietro Marchesi, Vincenzo Pestegala, and Costantino da Vaprio worked at the site), who were hired to work fast. The result marked the assertion of continuity with the Visconti dynasty. The first room (the guardacamera: Fig. 6.6, no. 2) next to the tower was decorated with the Viscontean device figuring a dove at the centre of a radiating core (“columbine con el razo”: Fig. 6.10) on a red background which took up the whole space of the vaulted roof without leaving gaps, so that the architectural structure was completely concealed by it. The walls were covered in velvet. The second room (camera: Fig. 6.6, no. 3) has a tempera-painted ceiling with the lunettes enhanced by frames; around the keystone, sculpted in the shape of the episcopal capitergium (a crest with beams, one of the Visconti’s emblems) are four big Viscontean coats of arms around which are letters spelling out the duke’s name and title. The walls are panelled in wood (of the Lombard kind, called asse). The third room (saletta or sala: Fig. 6.6, no. 4) was decorated a scarioni, a geometric motif consisting of white and red (morello) zigzag fasciae: these were the emblematic colours of the Visconti, which Galeazzo Maria deemed fit only for his family, and whose use by other members of the court he thus banned. The latter were allowed to use red, white, and blue, the typical colours of the Sforza. Hearings and meetings of the Secret Council were held in this room. A greater invention was exhibited over the length of the spaces overlooking the courtyard where the chapel (Fig. 6.6, no. 5) was located, separated from the adjacent hall by a kind of screen (jubé). The chapel was a rectangular-shaped semi-public space covering the length of the two adjacent rooms; its walls were decorated with images of saints standing out against a background of golden tiles; in the lunette of the northern wall there is an Annunciation, and at the centre of the vaulted ceiling a Resurrection (Fig. 6.11). The iconographic programme was established with the help of the duke’s confessor, Paolo da San Genesio; the frescoes were executed by painters working in different teams, such as Bonifacio Bembo,

46

of a review of Francesco Sforza’s projects for his own palace in Venice with an analysis of the contributions made by Filarete and Ferrini. The description and analysis of the apartment of Galeazzo Maria in the castle are from the studies made by Marco Albertario, for which see: “Documenti per la decorazione del castello di Milano nell’età di Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1466–1476)”, Solchi 7 (2003), nn.1–2: 19–61 with a register and transcription of relevant documentation; subsequently, see idem, “‘Ad nostro modo’. La decorazione del castello nell’età di Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1466–1476)”, in Il Castello Sforzesco, ed. Fiorio, 99–117.

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Giacomino Vismara, and Stefano de’ Fedeli. The adjacent room was called the Green Room (Fig. 6.6, no. 6), referring to the colour of the walls and the ceiling, against which Visconti-Sforza emblems stood out (the fazzoli, the feathery knotted handkerchiefs, and the crown with the palm and laurels). In 1473 the room in the tower also had wooden decorations. The ceiling of the adjacent hall, belonging to the apartments of Bona of Savoy (Fig. 6.6, no. 9), was painted with coats of arms by Stefano de’ Fedeli in the same year. The north-east corner of the Corte Ducale also contained a room and a chapel, known as the chapel of San Donato, with a fresco of the Resurrection of Christ on the ceiling (Fig. 6.6, no. 12). The ground floor was completed in the early 1470s. Two bays of the portico (Fig. 6.6, no. 8) were decorated – traces of this decoration can be found in the two lunettes framed by white and black fasciae with animal scenes, one with a large elephant and one, more worn, with part of a lion.47 The bright rendering of space and the concise composition visible in these pictorial fragments are indications of their high quality. They add to the chromatic wealth of the portico’s arches (painted a reddishblack colour) and possibly also to the capitals. At the beginning of the 1470s, Galeazzo Maria had a programme prepared for the first-floor apartment. The first two rooms had to be decorated with heraldic images (plumage and the lion with burning embers and water buckets), and the hall with a dynastic celebration (with depictions of his father and his Visconti ancestors); projects were also made for the decoration of the chapel and the Green Room, with scenes of court life and vivid representations of hunting parties. Galeazzo Maria wanted subjects that would also emphasize, in addition to the magnificence of his court derived from late medieval models, the realism and the naturalness of the people depicted, with references to the innovations seen in the contemporary frescoes in Mantua and Ferrara – such was the complexity and progressiveness of artistic taste at the Milanese court. However, both a lack of artists able and willing to execute the project properly and quickly and the high costs eventually convinced Sforza to postpone the decoration and instead opt for the draping of the walls or the use of 47

Federico Cavalieri, “Altre pitture dell’età sforzesca”, in Il Castello Sforzesco, ed. Fiorio, 137–138; Marco Albertario, “La decorazione pittorica dei castelli di Milano e Pavia nell’età di Galeazzo Maria Sforza”, in Lombardia rinascimentale. Arte e architettura, eds. Maria Teresa Fiorio and Valerio Terraroli (Milan: Skira, 2003), 55–71, emphasizes that the subject of the painting probably required a series of exotic animals painted inside the arches made of white and black ashlars opening onto the landscape of the ducal park. They thus bring out the Ferrarese connection with the elegant rendering of the duke and his ­company (ibid., 66).

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simpler decorations.48 The first-floor room of the north tower was covered with golden ornamentation, and in it was placed the ducal treasure, which had previously belonged to the Visconti, now recovered from the chapter in the cathedral, where it had been taken during the years of the Ambrosian Republic. It had increased under Galeazzo Maria and after him under Ludovico il Moro, with the addition of many silver statues of saints and golden medallions engraved with the profiles of Galeazzo Maria and Bona.49 A staircase was also built above the “Elephant portico”, giving more space to the duchess’s apartment and which she could access from the ground-floor stairs at the eastern corner of the portico itself. The façades of this nucleus, all overlooking the courtyard, are decorated with graffito diamond motifs with an engraved “S”. Recent restorations have enabled us to recognize some fragments of the original decorations through the expansive series of decorations by Beltrami. The various parts were thus reconnected and the decoration completed.50 The rooms inside the castle did not have a set or fixed use, especially the first-floor apartments of Galeazzo Maria and Bona. The most illustrious guests were received in those rooms (such as Pietro Riario and Ludovico Gonzaga in 1473, or Ferrante of Aragon in 1474), and kitchens, cupboards, and dressers were set up there accordingly.51 At the eastern corner of the Corte Ducale, 48

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Ibid., 38–40 and 44–45 (programmatic documents referring to the decoration); for the first floor apartment and the decorations actually carried out see Ballarin, “La corte e il castello”, 430–432, 442–443 and passim. Cavalieri, “Altre pitture dell’età sforzesca”, 141, with further references to Paola Venturelli, “‘I vasi argentei, con bel smalto et oro da lui già fatti con mirabil spesa’. Oggetti preziosi in relazione al Moro e al tesoro sforzesco”, in “Io son la volpe dolorosa”. Il ducato e la caduta di Ludovico il Moro, settimo duca di Milano, 1494–1500, ed. Eleonora Saita (Milan: Comune di Milano, 2000), 29–42. Chandeliers and silver vases also in the antique style were added by Ludovico il Moro who, in 1498, returned the treasure to the Duomo; detailed information about the treasure has already been provided by Luisa Giordano, “Carattere e stili di una committenza”, in Ludovicus dux. L’immagine del potere, ed. Ead. (Vigevano: Diakronia, 1995), 18–22 (in particular n.9–10): the silverware displayed at the local investiture appear in the background of the miniature of the Messale Arcimboldi preserved in the Biblioteca del Capitolo metropolitano del Duomo in Milan, c. 1r. Particular attention to these testimonies, in a meticulous reconstruction predating the restorations and interventions of Luca Beltrami are to be found in an article by Laura Basso, “Traccia per una ricostruzione delle pitture scomparse nel castello sforzesco”, in Il Castello Sforzesco, ed. Fiorio, 269–297. On hospitality at the court of Galeazzo Maria, hosting princes and cardinals, see Alessandro Ballarin, “La corte e il castello negli anni di Galeazzo Maria e Ludovico, di Bona, Isabella e Beatrice”, in idem, Leonardo a Milano. Problemi di leonardismo milanese

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around the chapel of San Donato, an apartment with one room on the ground floor and two rooms on the first floor housed the duke’s chancellery and accommodation for Cicco Simonetta. Later, for a certain period of time, it became the apartment of Ludovico Sforza, whose rooms were previously in the eastern corner of the great courtyard. In order to complete the ducal court, in 1471 Galeazzo Maria started to build the sala nuova. Though the documents are far from clear, it would seem that it should be identified with the vast hall (c.11×40 m) adjacent to the chapel of San Donato (Fig. 6.6, no. 13). In 1474 a decorative programme was also planned for this room (though it was never executed) of a cycle of frescoes representing the ceremony at which, on Saint George’s day, the duke reviewed his army, went to Mass in the Duomo, and then returned to the castle – a ritual which exalted the military power and political role of Galeazzo Maria.52 The great lancet windows, overlooking not only the courtyard but also the moat, date back to this phase of the construction. The nobility and wealth of the court were confirmed by the decoration of these ogival brick windows. They had complex frames with mouldings (both curved and indented), closed at the tip by an inner decoration as fine as lace (akin to some of the windows of the Borromeo Palace and the palace known as Palazzo Panigarola, as already shown by Patetta 1987); the brick parts bear traces of red painted plaster, a sagramatura (i.e. scratched bricks), which, though the dates are uncertain, emerged in part in recent restorations. It is difficult to speculate on the original purpose of the hall: it may have been used for festivities, but around a decade later it was used as an alternative sala della balla to the one previously located in the Rocchetta53 and then temporarily moved to the Green Room, on the first floor.

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tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento. Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio prima della pala Casio (Verona: Ed. dell’Aurora, 2010), vol. 1, 438–439 and 442–443; Welch, Art and Authority, 220. The location of the kitchens is uncertain in the ducal apartment; the latrines were probably within the walls and, in the courtyard of the Rocchetta, consisted of protruding constructs. On the “Sala nuova” and its decorative programme see Evelyn S. Welch, “The Image of a Fifteenth Century Court: Secular Frescoes for the Castello di Porta Giovia”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 53 (1990), 163–184; Pierluigi De Vecchi, “Committenti e attività artistica alla corte degli Sforza negli ultimi decenni del Quattrocento”, in Milano nell’età di Ludovico il Moro (Milan, Comune di Milano, 1983), 503–514; and Albertario, “Ad nostro modo”, who brought out the similarities between this project celebrating a dynastic cycle and the innovative solution used by Mantenga in Mantua. Giordano, “Carattere e stili di una committenza”, 28; Albertario, “Ad nostro modo”, 117, n. 91; as well as Ballarin, “La corte e il castello”, 455–456.

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In the 1470s Bartolomeo Gadio, by then old and suffering from gout, was joined by Ambrogio Ferrario.54 He entered the ducal chancellery in 1462 as the person in charge of ammunition, learning the techniques of financial accountancy, which he then applied to the duke’s great building works. Ferrario was in charge of executing and coordinating, comparing different projects, and writing out a summarized report with different views on how to proceed ready to submit to the duke for the final decision. Galeazzo Maria also completed the side walls of the great Piazza d’Armi. There he established living quarters as well as facilities for domestic court services. At the entrances, a strict guard system was set up to allow select visitors admission to the private quarters of the duke, despite the increasing number of courtiers who received regular remuneration and had access to the castle.55 Behind the castle there was a large park (Barco), circumscribed by a wall 4 braccia high (about 2.4 m) with eight doors. In addition to the cultivated park grounds and game enclosures, there was also an octagonal pavilion (cascina) with cabins located at the centre of a labyrinth marked by paths through the greenery and waterways.56 Galeazzo Maria was thus the decisive figurehead who established the ultimate appearance of the castle, mindful of creating a rich and cultivated image of his court. Notwithstanding the excesses of which many accused him, he was the protector and patron of scholars and philosophers, encouraging the presence at court of musicians and singers and going to great pains to establish a proper musical choir capable of rivalling the other 15th-century courts.57 Upon the death of Galeazzo Maria, the direct heir was the young Gian Galeazzo: despite his mother’s claims of guardianship over him, Ludovico il Moro – though bound to his sister-in-law by various ties – managed to remove the boy from her. He was entrusted to the castellan Bartolomeo Eustachi, who lived in the Rocchetta. During these years of conflict between Ludovico and Bona of Savoy the Rocchetta was fortified in 1479–1480 with the construction of a tower (known as ‘torre di Bona’) in the eastern corner, designed by Maffeo da 54 Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir, 284–285; and Mario Comincini, “Ludovico il Moro e Vigevano”, in La biscia e l’aquila. Il castello di Vigevano (Vigevano: Cassa di Risparmio di Piacenza e Vigevano, 1988), in particular 62–69. 55 On the court and the costs relative to the remuneration of the courtiers and emoluments to the duke’s wife, see Lubkin, A Renaissance Court; and Welch, Art and Authority. 56 On this pavilion, of which we also have a drawing by Leonardo, see a summary in Carlo Pedretti, Leonardo architetto (Milan: Electa, 1978), 66–67. 57 Alessandro Rovetta, “La cultura antiquaria a Milano negli anni settanta del Quattrocento”, in Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, eds. Shell and Castelfranchi, 193–218; on courtly pastimes, see Lubkin, A Renaissance Court, 102–117.

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Como under the supervision of Benedetto Ferrini. Some of the rearrangements in the eastern corner of the Rocchetta probably date back to this period. They consisted of a complex series of architectural structures. This can be seen from the presence on the walls of round arches whose lintels, painted reddish black, emerged during recent restorations. The capitals of the corner pilasters and of the doorway as well as the capital of the column in the eastern corner – the first on the third side of the portico – all have decorations different from others seen in the Rocchetta’s court. The pilasters have a large capital with S-shaped volutes and two cornucopias with corner acanthus leaves. The capital on the corner column has a leaf design coming down from the volute, a motif found in various Lombard examples, such as one of the windows of the façade of the Capella Colleoni in Bergamo and a column from the portico of the Milanese rectory of Sant’Ambrogio, possibly dating back to the 1480s.58 The following years bore witness to a series of political events: Ludovico il Moro prevailed over Bona and also rose in importance as far as Gian Galeazzo and his education were concerned; a double marriage was celebrated between Gian Galeazzo and Isabella of Aragon, and Ludovico and Beatrice d’Este (they lived on the first floor and the ground floor of the Corte Ducale respectively); lastly, Ludovico came to power after the death of his young nephew. None of  these events resulted in great transformations to the overall structure of the castle.59 In the courtyard of the Rocchetta, Ludovico focused on the decoration of the internal halls, especially in the south-west and north-west sides, where special 58

59

See Richard Schofield and Grazioso Sironi, “Bramante e la Canonica di Sant’Ambrogio a Milano”, Annali di architettura 9 (1997): 155–195, with a mapping of the capitals and indications of their presence across Lombardy (which expands the panorama prensented by Giordano, “Tipologie di capitelli”); see also Richard Schofield, “The Colleoni Chapel”, in Bramante milanese e l’architettura del Rinascimento lombardo, eds. Cristoph Luitpold Frommel, Luisa Giordano and Richard Schofield (Venice: Marsilio, 2002), fig. 17. For a brief overview of some of the smaller interventions made on the castle interiors, repurposing the dedications of the frescoes etc. see Luisa Giordano, “Le residenze sforzesche”, in Ludovicus Dux, ed. idem, 24–29. By the same author, in the same volume, see also the “Politica, tradizione, propaganda”, 98–117, which provides a more in-depth analyses of the themes underlying the ducal legitimization tied to imperial acknowledgement (denied to Galeazzo Maria and finally obtained by Ludovico) and the possible dynastic re-establishment through the Moro’s power, with a careful reading of the constitutive elements of the emblems and iconographic designs with their precise symbolism. Recall that Ludovico il Moro invested energy and money particularly in the castle at Vigevano and on the construction of the piazza in front of it, see eadem, “Piazza ducale: lo stato della questione e le prospettive di ricerca”, in Piazza Ducale e i suoi restauri. Cinquecento anni di storia, eds. Ead. and Rosalba Tardito (Pisa: ets, 2000), 127–143.

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guests would stay and some of the ducal servants lived, such as the castellan and Giacomo Alfieri, appointed as the duke’s treasurer in 1491. He was supposed to guard the treasure, which had just been moved from the north tower to the master tower.60 Alfieri had been very close to Galeazzo Maria, whom he had loyally served for a long time. Galeazzo Maria and Bona even granted him Milanese citizenship in 1478. He also was the friend of humanists such as Filelfo, and, as testified by Alciati, he was a collector of Milanese antiquities.61 Between 1489 and 1491 the extraordinary fresco of the Argo, which almost all critics agree must have been by Bramantino, was painted in the treasure room. The depiction has dynastic and political importance, but its interpretation has still not been entirely deciphered and as a result its commissioner remains unclear.62 In 1495 – at the instigation, according to Beltrami, of the ducal secretary Bernardino da Corte – the third side of the colonnaded courtyard of the Rocchetta was built. It differed from the other two sides in terms of its overall proportions (granite columns with a diameter ranging from 0.68 to 0.70 m with an interspace of 4.70 to 4.75 m); it had Corinthian capitals in compact marble from the Musso region which were more homogeneous than the others, characterized by the absence of a bipartition, and S-shaped volutes above twoleafed crowns, the first circle having small palms and the second acanthus leaves, while the slender heraldic shields bore the emblems of Ludovico il Moro.63 The corresponding hanging capitals on the wall are similar to, though broader than, the others. The refinement and unity of the Rocchetta were defined through the presence, also on this side, of decorative engravings: the diamonds and the traditional “S”, but also more elaborate decorations depicting vegetal motifs (all recovered in recent excavations) between the arches and in the outward marcapiano friezes, in addition to the echoing of the red and black decorative bands around the higher circular openings. Most of what has been recovered in the current restorations dates back to Luca Beltrami between the 19th and 20th century. 60

61 62

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In 1497, the duke’s will states that it is in the Rocca (for the will, see Caterina Sforza, una donna del Cinquecento. Storia e arte tra Medioevo e Rinascimento, Catalogo della mostra (Imola: Mandragora, 2000), 171–190; and for the treasure ibid., 185). Cavalieri, “Altre pitture dell’età sforzesca”, 148. Cavalieri hypothesized that the commission could have come from Alfieri (ibid.), but Giovanni Agosti and Jacopo Stoppa disagree in their comprehensive and exhaustive overview in Bramantino a Milano, eds. Giovanni Agosti, Jacopo Stoppa, and Marco Tanzi (Milan: Officina Libraria, 2012), 110–121, which explains their attribution of the work. In favour of an attribution to Bramante, see Luisa Giordano (recently in “Bramante e la corte milanese”, in Lombardia rinascimentale, ed. Fiorio and Terraroli, 143–163). Giordano, “Tipologie di capitelli”, 198–199.

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Ludovico, after his accession to power and his marriage to Beatrice d’Este, instigated and organized great festivities (for instance, in 1490 the “festa del Paradiso” in the upper Green Room, with costumes and overall organization by Leonardo).64 The construction of a small building, known as the ponticella (Fig. 6.6, no. 14), built over the moat above two pre-existing and accordingly widened arches, was of particular interest. It consisted of a small loggia, a loggetta, with columns, architraves, and a vaulted ceiling with three chambers added on to the north-east side of the castle. It acted as a passageway reserved for the ducal family leading to the ghirlanda and the church of Sant’Ambrogio ad Nemus (to which Ludovico was particularly devoted). The innovative spaces and refined domestic dimensions of the loggetta contrasted with the immense and sumptuous halls.65 The attribution of the loggetta to Bramante, though often hypothesized following a quotation from Cesariano, is not, apart from some possible general features, confirmed by the quality of the workmanship, starting with the columns, which Ambrogio Ferrari tried to obtain ready-made from other buildings. The ponticella was connected through a direct passageway to the ground-floor room of the great north tower of the Corte Ducale.66 The decoration of at least one of the rooms was entrusted to Leonardo; however, there is no trace of his works there. Towards the end of the 1490s, the decoration of the ground-floor hall of the north tower (known as “sala delle asse”, or “sala dei moroni”, at the time of Ludovico il Moro), was entrusted to Leonardo. He designed naturalistic decoration for the vault (a pergola recalling the ephemeral compositions of the ducal festivities, as well as motifs inspired by Bramante which can still be made out today through the heavy-handed repainting and refurbishment carried out as part of Beltrami’s restorations). Tree trunks grew from the walls where a section of the original chiaroscuro remains.67 64

On Ludovico’s court celebrations and the contribution of Leonardo, see Ballarin, “La corte e il castello”, 459–464. 65 Patetta, L’architettura del Quattrocento, 237 (reprinted in idem, “Il castello nell’età sforzesca [1450–1499]”, 84). 66 Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano, 492. 67 On the “Sala delle Asse” new restoration works were due to begin, with a careful study of the relative documention, see for the summary in Maria Teresa Fiorio, “‘Tutto mi piace’: Leonardo e il castello”, in Il Castello Sforzesco, ed. Fiorio, in particular 172–179. See in any case Martin Kemp, Leonardo da Vinci. Le mirabili operazioni della natura e dell’uomo (Milan: Mondadori, 1982); Dawson Kiang, “Gasparo Visconti’s ‘Pasitea’ and the Sala delle Asse”, Achademia Leonardi Vinci 2 (1989): 101–109; John F. Moffit, “Leonardo’s ‘Sala delle Asse’ and the primordial Origins of Architecture”, Arte lombarda 1–2 (1990): 76–90; Patrizia Costa, “The Sala delle Asse in the Sforza Castle in Milan” (PhD diss., University of Pittsburg,

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Ludovico entertained new projects regarding the exterior of the castle. Of these, two projects stand out: the creation of a piazza in front of the entrance and the plans for a new urban area towards Porta Vercellina. These projects, however, remained unfinished owing to the French conquest of the dukedom in 1499.68

68

2006). The new restoration under the direction of Opificio delle pietre dure di Firenze led to the discovery of other tree trunks on the walls, changing the reading of all the decorations and explaining the ancient name of “hall of moroni” (with reference to the mulberry trees and to Ludovico il Moro). In addition to Pedretti, 1996 and Marani, 2009, see Ballarin, “La corte e il castello”, ­466–468; Richard Schofield, “Ludovico il Moro’s Piazzas. New Sources and Observations”, Annali di architettura 4–5 (1992–1993): 157–167, with a bibliography. In the same context of these transformations, the project of a statue of Francesco Sforza on horseback was ­re-­discussed and re-abandoned, the first time was under Galeazzo Maria in the 1470s and the work had been commissioned from Leonardo (Fiorio, “Tutto mi piace”, 164–179).

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Figure 6.1 Francisco de Hollanda, Il castello di Milano, c. 1545. El Escorial Real Biblioteca del Monasterio, Codex Escurialensis, 28.I.20, f. 43r.

Figure 6.2 Milan, the Sforza Castle: aerial view.

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Figure 6.3 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the external wall of Ducal Court towards the Piazza d’armi.

Figure 6.4 Milan, the Sforza Castle: detail of one of the two bugnato turrets looking towards the city.

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The Sforza Castle Of Milan (1450–1499)

1

6

7

2 3 N

4

Figure 6.5 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the Rocchetta. 1 Torre Maestra; 2–4 Wing built under Francesco Sforza, with three rooms and a reception hall; 5 Reception hall; 6 Room; 7 Hall completed under Gian Galeazzo (under the Sala della Balla).

5

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14 5

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Figure 6.6 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the Corte Ducale. 1 Tower del Tesoro: square room with first floor treasure room; 2 Room (guardaroba); 3 The Duke’s room; 4 Reception hall; 5 Chapel; 6 Green room; 7 Portico with stairs ­leading to the first floor (where there was a room precisely corresponding to the one below); 8 Open hall (corresponding, on the first floor, to a closed room); 9–10 Duchess’ apartment (reception hall and room); 11 Room; 12 Chapel of San Donato (originally the seat of the Sforza chancellery; for a short while the residence of Ludovico Sforza); 13 New reception hall (with a ceremonial function and that of a room for the ball game, sala della balla); 14 Small rooms on the bridge (ponticella) designed by Ludovico il Moro.

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Figure 6.7 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the courtyard of the Rocchetta.

Figure 6.8 Milan, the Sforza Castle: the courtyard of the Corte Ducale.

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Figure 6.9 Milan, the Sforza Castle: capital from the courtyard of the Rocchetta.

Figure 6.10

Milan, the Sforza Castle: the Sala delle Colombine.

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Figure 6.11

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Milan, the Sforza Castle: the chapel of the Corte Ducale.

chapter 7

Patrician Residences and the Palaces of the Marquis of Mantua (1459–1524) Giulio Girondi

The Gonzaga, the Town Nobility, and the Renovatio urbis

During the second half of the 15th century, and particularly after the Diet of 1459 convened by Pope Pius ii, Ludovico ii Gonzaga instigated a real renovatio urbis in Mantua.1 The marquis of Mantua undertook a series of works in the new antique, or all’antica, style. In particular, Ludovico’s intention was to beautify the piazzas according to the tenets laid down in the 7th book of the De re aedificatoria,2 to rebuild the city palaces,3 and to build the Casa del Mercato.4 In addition, the marquis managed to drive the Benedictines out of the city and renovated the old abbey of Sant’Andrea, building a new church, which was to be ideally connected to that of San Sebastiano at the other end of the town.5 In short, the prince established his personal patronage over the main symbols of the political, economic, social, and religious life of Mantua. This campaign to transform the city, also pursued by Ludovico’s heirs, was further developed by the town’s patricians with the construction (or restructuring)

1 Arturo Calzona, “‘Illis civium nostrorum petitionibus libenter annuimus quas ipsorum comodo urbis non minore decore ac ornamento futuras esse videremus’: Ludovico ii Gonzaga e le strategie urbane a Mantova al tempo dell’Alberti”, in I grandi cantieri del rinnovamento urbano: Esperienze italiane ed europee a confronto (secoli xiv–xvi), eds. Patrick Boucheron and Marco Folin (Rome: École française de Rome, 2011), 17–44. 2 Marcella Bianchi, Paolo Carpeggiani, “Ludovico Gonzaga, la città, l’architettura. Uno scenario per Andrea Mantenga”, in A casa di Andrea Mantegna: Cultura artistica a Mantova nel Quattrocento, ed. Rodolfo Signorini (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2006), 31. 3 Marco Cofani et al., “Una storia utile: Il Palazzo del Podestà di Mantova”, Territorio 47 (2008): 56–77. 4 Gianfranco Ferlisi, “Sulla quattrocentesca piazza Purgo”, Civiltà Mantovana 112 (2001): 82–108. 5 Livio Giulio Volpi Ghirardini, “Il Sant’Andrea dell’Alberti: Questioni aperte”, in Leon Battista Alberti: Architetture e committenti, ii, eds. Arturo Calzona et al. (Florence: Olschki, 2009), 709–742; Barbara Böckmann, “Il San Sebastiano di Leon Battista Alberti a Mantova: Progetto originale e modifiche successive”, Arte lombarda 3 (2006): 61–73.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_008

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of their family residences.6 The patricians wished to appear as generous patrons of the arts, interested in the outward appearance of their city, and thus placed commemorative inscriptions in a display of self-celebration. Corner pilasters were typical, and had the start or end date of the works and often also the names or mottoes of the patrons engraved on them. Perhaps the oldest example is that on the house of Andrea Mantegna (1476).7 Epigraphs were rarer; one running along the façade of the Bonatti palace (1514) emphasizes the “aeternum patriae familiaeque decus” (“the eternal beauty of the homeland and the family”).8 The notaries, ambassadors, administrators, Churchmen, and men of arms who formed the patriciate came from very different kinds of families.9 For the most part, they were “new men”, uomini nuovi, to whom the Gonzaga entrusted the actual administration of the state from the second half of the 15th century.10 In Mantua, throughout the Renaissance, there were families belonging to the old feudal nobility (the Andreasi11 and the Ippoliti12) and others that had evolved during the state-city period (the Agnelli13 and the Cavriani14); many were merchants (the Strozzi15 and the Valenti16), legal experts (the Bonatti), 6

7 8 9

10

11 12 13 14 15 16

Gianfranco Ferlisi, “I palazzi dei cortigiani e le scelte architettoniche e urbanistiche di Ludovico Gonzaga”, in Il principe architetto, eds. Arturo Calzona et al. (Florence: Olschki, 2002), 297–326, updated in Gianranco Ferlisi, “Entro mura d’acqua e di pietra: Dinamiche insediative e progetti dinastici dai Canossa ai Gonzaga”, in Storia di Mantova, i, ed. Marzio Romani (Mantua: Tre Lune, 2005), 177–191. Rodolfo Signorini, Non omnis moriar (Mantua: Sometti, 2010). Giulio Girondi, Palazzo Bonatti in Mantova (Mantua: Sometti, 2004), 25–30. Mario Vaini, “Per una storia della società mantovana alla fine del ’700: La riforma teresiana e le vicende storiche della nobiltà con particolare riguardo alla formazione della proprietà terriera”, Civiltà mantovana 29 (1971): 326–351. On the institutions under the Gonzaga, see mainly Cesare Mozzarelli, Scritti su Mantova (Mantua: Arcari, 2010); Marina Romani, “Tasselli di un mondo centripeto: la società urbana”, in Storia di Mantova, ed. Romani, 353–439; Isabella Lazzarini, “‘Un bastione di mezo’: Trasformazioni istituzionali e dinamiche politiche”, ibid., 443–505. On Mantuan patricians and their relations with the Gonzaga: eadem, “Elités, principi, mobilità sociale: gli uomini dei Gonzaga”, in Residenze e patriziato a Mantova nel primo Rinascimento: 1459–1524, ed. Giulio Girondi (Mantua: Il Rio, 2014), 13–19. Alberto Ferrari, Palazzo Andreasi (San Giorgio di Mantova, Mantua: Work Studio, 2001), 45–61. Roberto Navarrini, Gazoldo degli Ippoliti da Feudo a Comune (Mantua: Publi Paolini, 1998). Mario Castagna and Valerio Predari, Stemmario Mantovano, i (Montichiari: Zanetti, 1991), 44–48. Castagna, Predari, Stemmario, i, 191–200. Ovidio Guaita, Villa Strozzi a Begozzo (Siena: Cooperativa “Fera dal Palidan”, 1993), 15–20. Giulio Girondi, Abitare nella Mantova Barocca: Palazzo Valenti Gonzaga (Mantua: Sometti, 2009), 13–32.

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courtiers (the Arrivabene17), or foreigners kindly welcomed by the Gonzaga (the Nerli from Florence,18 the Guidi from Bagno di Romagna,19 the Castiglione from Milan,20 and the Guerrieri from Fermo21). Thus, the great majority of the new elite either had no title or acquired one at a later period. Indeed, until the end of the 16th century the Gonzaga were only allowed to award knighthoods, as in the cases of the Bonatti and the Valenti. Thus, Mantua too was a “land of patricians”, where the patricians in question were not noble, or at least not necessarily so, but rather belonged to a rising ruling class of merchants dignified by the acquisition of large estates and titles throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.22

The Residences of the Marquis between the 15th and 16th Centuries

It is clear that the patricians looked to courtly taste when building their own residences. One premise must be stipulated in this regard: the Renaissance residence, even that of a prince, ultimately seemed to be the result of a felicitous encounter between medieval traditions and the humanist rediscovery of the ancient Roman home.23 In Mantua, the idea of antiquity fundamentally derived from contact with Padua (through Donatello and Mantegna)24 and Florence, thanks to Tuscan architects (supported by documents dating back to Brunelleschi’s short visits in the 1430s and 1440s).25 Accordingly, in order to 17 18 19

20 21 22

23

24

25

Castagna, Predari, Stemmario, i, 81–89. Mario Castagna and Valerio Predari, Stemmario Mantovano, ii (Montichiari: Zanetti, 1992), 169. Gianfraco Ferlisi, “Storia di un’illustre casata e della sua dimora a Mantova: Notizie sul percorso dei Guidi di Bagno lungo cinque secoli”, in La dimora Guidi di Bagno: Palazzo del Governo, eds. Ugo Bazzotti and Daniela Ferrari (Mantua: Sometti, 2003), 9–44. Castagna, Predari, Stemmario, i, 173–182. Cesarino Mezzadrelli, “Il palazzo Gonzaga Guerrieri”, in Volta Mantovana (Castiglione delle Stiviere, Mantua: Comune di Volta Mantovana, 1993). Lazzarini, “Bastione di mezo”, 497; and Marino Berengo, “Patriziato e nobiltà: Il caso veronese”, Rivista Storica Italiana 87 (1975): 192, reprinted in Marino Berengo, Città italiana e città europea: Ricerche storiche, ed. Marco Folin (Reggio Emilia: Diabasis, 2010). Augusto Rossari and Aurora Scotti, Aspetti dell’abitare e del costruire a Roma e in Lombardia tra xv e xix secolo (Milan: Unicopli, 2005); Aspetti dell’abitare in Italia tra xv e xvi secolo: Distribuzione, funzioni, impianti, ed. Aurora Scotti (Milan: Unicopli, 2001). Irene Favaretto, “Andrea Mantegna e l’antico, 1: Cultura antiquaria e tradizione umanistica a Padova nel Quattrocento”, in Andrea Mantegna: Impronta del genio, eds. Rodolfo Signorini et al. (Florence: Olschki, 2010), 45–52. Stefano L’Occaso, Fonti archivistiche per le arti a Mantova tra Medioevo e Rinascimento: 1382–1459 (Mantua: Arcari, 2005), 23, 84–86.

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determine the anchor points of the architectural novelties introduced in Mantua, it seems fitting to look to Tuscany – the “font of architects”, as Federico da Montefeltro defined it26 – and in particular to Florence. The paradigmatic case of the palace of Cosimo de’ Medici is characterized by a completely original structure, in which the sequence consisting of an arched entrance, a squared courtyard with a colonnade, and a garden is perhaps the first attempt at a revival of the Vitruvian casa degli antichi.27 It was difficult to understand the Vitruvian text without the current archaeological findings, and the sequence of spaces constituting the entrance was one of the more difficult questions.28 The only person who seems to have understood it in his day was Leon Battista Alberti, who grasped that the atrium was for the Romans not the entrance space looking onto the street but rather the courtyard. Alberti called it the sinum or “heart” of the house, as Giovanni Orlandi’s translation artfully put it.29 In princely palaces, the ceremonial route, inspired by Vitruvius, led to the main hall adapting to the requirements of the courtly world and its medieval traditions.30 The private rooms were situated after the great hall, in a more secluded position. These morphological characteristics appear in the main Gonzaga residences of the late 15th century and early 16th (Fig. 7.1). The atrium-courtyard colonnade-staircase-hall system appears in the Revere Palace, the “castle over the Po” cited by Filarete (Fig.  7.2).31 The construction of this building must have begun by at least 1447, by Antonio Manetti, and was subsequently taken over, from 1451, by the Florentine Luca Fancelli under the strict supervision of Marquis Ludovico ii. Ideas derived from Florentine palaces were employed at Revere in accordance with the political ambitions and artistic ideals of the Gonzaga: for example, the courtyard expanded from a shaft of light (as in 26

27 28

29 30 31

Federico da Montefeltro calls Tuscany the “fontana delli architettori”: see Scritti rinascimentali di architettura: Patente a Luciano Laurana, Luca Pacioli, Francesco Colonna, Leonardo Da Vinci, Donato Bramante, Francesco Di Giorgio, Cesare Cesarino, Lettera a Leone x, eds. Arnaldo Bruschi et al. (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1978), 20. Idem, “Brunelleschi e la nuova architettura fiorentina”, in Storia dell’architettura: Il Quattrocento, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore (Milan: Electa, 1998), 105. Mario Carpo, “How Do You Imitate a Building That You Have Never Seen? Printed Images, Ancient Models, and Handmade Drawings in Renaissance Architectural Theory”, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 2 (2001): 223–233. Francesco Paolo Fiore, “Leon Battista Alberti, palazzi e città”, in Leon Battista Alberti e l’architettura, eds. Massimo Bulgarelli et al. (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana, 2006) 99. Silvia Beltramo, “Medieval Vestiges in 15th Century Princely Architecture”, in this book. Arturo Calzona, “Ludovico ii Gonzaga principe ‘intendentissimo nello edificare’”, in Il Principe architetto, ed. Calzona, 257–277.

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Cosimo de’ Medici’s palace) to become a space in which to represent life at court.32 A similar distributive model also characterized Villa Ghirardina in Motteggiana, the old Villa Saviola built around the mid-15th century by Fancelli for Ludovico ii (Fig. 7.3).33 In this case, the system of entrances became a symbolic route where the main corridor led directly to a staircase leading to a courtyard – the ‘heart’ of the house – located on the first floor instead of the ground floor (Fig. 7.4). The refurbishment of the castle of San Giorgio, perhaps begun as early as 1457, also focused on the creation of a new Renaissance courtyard (which has since been greatly altered).34 A staircase led from the courtyard to the reception spaces and, through them, to the private rooms.35 The layout of the living quarters as planned by Ludovico is now lost. We know that Mantegna decorated a chapel which perhaps represented the boundary between Ludovico’s rooms and those of his consort, Barbara of Brandenburg, following the division of spouses’ rooms stipulated by Alberti and Francesco di Giorgio Martini.36 The heart of Ludovico’s apartments was the so-called Camera degli Sposi, known in the 15th century as the “camera magna turris versus lacu de medio”, which had been used as a meeting room before Mantegna’s intervention (1465–1474).37 The apartment also included a library, libraria, and a small study, a studiolo, probably located in the eastern controtorre (a small tower near the corner tower).38 Ludovico ii’s rooms were subsequently lived in by his son Federico i, who, it seems, introduced some modifications, especially in the studiolo.39 Near the castle, the new marquis began the construction of a large new residence, the 32

33 34 35

36 37 38 39

Paolo Carpeggiani, “Luca Fancelli e la scultura decorativa nel contado gonzaghesco”, in Scultura in villa nella Terraferma Veneta, nelle Terre dei Gonzaga e nella Marca Anconetana, ed. F. Monicelli (San Giovanni Lupatoto: Arsenale, 2004), 216–247. Maria Rosa Palvarini Gobio Casali, “La Ghirardina di Motteggiana ovvero la ‘Casa di Saviola’ del Marchese Ludovico ii Gonzaga”, Civiltà mantovana 11 (1986): 5–34. Alberto Grimoldi, “Manutenzioni e restauri tra Ottocento e primo Novecento”, in Il Palazzo Ducale di Mantova, ed. Giuliana Algeri (Mantua: Sometti, 2003), 341–354. Giovanni Rodella and Stefano L’Occaso, “…questi logiamenti de castello siano forniti et adaptati… Trasformazioni e interventi in Castello all’epoca del Mantegna”, in Andrea Mantegna e i Gonzaga. Rinascimento nel Castello di San Giorgio, ed. Filippo Trevisani (Milan: Electa, 2006), 21–35. Leandro Ventura, “Mantegna architetto: Un’ipotesi di lavoro per la Cappella del Castello di San Giorgio”, Civiltà mantovana 27 (1992): 27–52. Rodolfo Signorini, Opus hoc tenue (Mantua: Publi Paolini, 2007). Carlo Togliani, “L’architettura da Fancelli a Giulio Romano”, in Il Palazzo Ducale, ed. Algeri, 91–92 (95). Togliani, “L’architettura”, 95–96.

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Domus Nova, which, however, was never completed.40 Federico i’s palace appears to have been directly inspired by Federico da Montefeltro’s palace in Urbino, of which the marquis had been able to acquire some drawings. In particular, it is probable that the Domus Nova would have been structured around a large courtyard from which a ceremonial route would have led to the meeting hall.41 After the death of Federico i (1484), the castle went back to being the ruling centre of power. Francesco ii and his consort, Isabella d’Este, settled there – although it is now impossible to reconstruct the exact arrangement of their apartments.42 One of the few known facts is that Isabella had had a new studiolo made for her (with an adjoining grotto) in the eastern controtorre, where Ludovico ii’s studiolo had once been situated.43 Moreover, it seems that at least a part of Andrea Mantegna’s Trionfi had been exhibited in another space not clearly identified.44 The marquis and his consort also had important residences built (or restructured) in the countryside, almost all of which have now disappeared. Isabella repaired the fortress of Solarolo,45 and Francesco ii initiated works in Gonzaga, Marmirolo, and Poggio Reale and constructed the city palace of San Sebastiano (the only one to have survived).46 Here the courtyard was replaced by a garden, but the direct connection between the loggia, the staircase, and the hall remained. At the beginning of his rule (1519), Federico ii also lived in the castle of San Giorgio. The new marquis’s rooms straddled the castle and the ravelin of San Nicolò (in the space later occupied by the Corte Nuova of Duke Guglielmo).47 At the time his apartment was famous for the comfort it offered: for instance,

40

41

42 43 44 45 46 47

Togliani, “L’architettura”, 96–98. Reliefs from around 1580 are printed in Paolo Carpeggiani, “Il progetto del Palazzo Ducale (1549–1587)”, in Gonzaga: La Celeste Galeria, ed. Raffaella Morselli (Milan: Skira, 2002), 479–544. Paolo Carpeggiani, “La città sotto il segno del principe: Mantova e Urbino nella seconda metà del ’400”, in Federico da Montefeltro: Lo stato, le arti, la cultura, vol. 2, eds. Giorgio Cerboni Baiardi et al. (Rome: Bulzoni, 1986), 31–46. Togliani, “L’architettura”, 98–99. Clifford M. Brown, Isabella d’Este in the Ducal Palace: A Guide to the Residential Rooms and the Studioli in the Castle and the Corte Vecchia (Rome: Bulzoni, 2005). Paola Tosetti Grandi, I Trionfi di Cesare di Andrea Mantegna: Fonti umanistiche e cultura antiquaria alla corte dei Gonzaga (Mantua: Sometti, 2009). Elisa Cristofoli, “Isabella d’Este e la Rocca di Solarolo”, Civiltà mantovana 130 (2010): 36–63. Molly Bourne, Francesco ii Gonzaga: The soldier-prince as patron (Rome: Bulzoni, 2008). Stefano L’Occaso, Museo di Palazzo Ducale: Catalogo generale delle collezioni inventariate. Dipinti fino al xix secolo (Mantua: Publi Paolini), 157.

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he had a stufetta (small heated room).48 In those same years, Isabella d’Este moved to the Corte Vecchia (Fig.  7.5). Her widow’s apartments were ready from 1520 but only decorated between 1522 and 1523.49 The marquise created a double sequence of rooms which formed a large L shape. The northern side (situated between the Cortile d’Onore – the cour d’honneur – and Santa Croce) was made up for the most part of reception spaces arranged around the Imperial hall, redecorated after 1524 by Giulio Romano and his workshop.50 Given the elevated position of the windows, these rooms seem to have been designed for use during winter. From these spaces it was possible to enter the chapel of Santa Croce (now radically altered);51 a loggia opened onto its courtyard which is now closed off. The southern wing was situated between the present-day Piazza della Lega Lombarda and the cour d’honneur, which the famous Loggia delle Città – later dismantled – once overlooked. Before coming to the private rooms, overlooking the secret garden, there was a chamber now known as the Scalcheria.52 A corridor led from there to the studiolo and the grotto. The permanent furniture of these spaces was taken from the old apartment in the castle and refurbished. However, after the restorations carried out at the beginning of the 20th century it is now difficult to intepret these spaces.53

The Characteristics of the Patrician Residences

Many aspects of patrician houses seem directly derived from Gonzaga court residences, possibly revealing the desire to emulate the marquis of Mantua. For example, there is the compositional character of the façades. In the second half of the 15th century, blind crenellations (later replaced by moulded

48 Togliani, “L’architettura”, 101–102. 49 Brown, Isabella. 50 Amedeo Belluzzi, “Decorazioni di Giulio Romano nella Camera Imperiale di Palazzo Ducale a Mantova”, Quaderni di Palazzo Te 8 (2000): 68–81. 51 Stefano L’Occaso, “Santa Croce in Corte e la devozione dei Gonzaga alla Vera Croce”, in Rubens Eleonora de’ Medici Gonzaga e l’oratorio sopra Santa Croce: Pittura devota a corte, eds. Filippo Trevisani and Stefano L’Occaso (Milan: Electa, 2005), 24–32. 52 Lara Zanetti, “Isabella d’Este e Lorenzo Leonbruno: Dalla tragedia di Fedra alla resurrezione di Ippolito-Virbio, dio minore del ʽnemus aricinumʼ”, in Bonacolsi. L’Antico: Uno scultore nella Mantova di Andrea Mantegna e di Isabella d’Este, eds. Filippo Trevisani and Davide Gasparotto (Milan: Electa, 2008), 104–119. 53 Grimoldi, “Manutenzioni”.

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­cornices) and corner towers were borrowed from the marquis’s residences.54 Façades were also often richly decorated with paintings all’antica, clearly influenced by courtly taste.55 The patrician houses also took certain morphological and structural characteristics from the Gonzaga residences, which they continued to reproduce well into the 16th century, as they were not influenced by the new Vitruvian interpretations of Fra Giocondo (Venice, 1511) or Cesare Cesariano (Como, 1521). In any case, the actual architectural culture of the Mantuan nobility is not known, nor is the degree to which these patrons were aware of the space distribution formulas.56 Moreover, given their reduced dimensions, most of the local residences could not accommodate real palatial structures. Often it seems there was a simpler attempt, on a reduced scale, to emulate certain general ideas which became part of the local architectural tradition.57 Indeed, in the 16th century (and beyond) distributive formulas were drawn out based on a medieval format. This was the case, for instance, for the transversal passageways – long corridors at the entrances connecting the street and the courtyard – of the palaces of the two cousins Girolamo Andreasi (renewed in 1522–1535) and Stazio Gadio, whose façades are characterized by attics decorated with the same terracotta tiles with putti.58 In most of the private homes there is a layout that seems to be derived from the ‘cerimonial route’ which characterizes the Gonzaga residences: once through the entrance a passageway led to a space overlooking the courtyard. In the second half of the 15th century this may have been a room, as in the house of the Blessed Osanna Andreasi (c.1471)59 and the house at 8 Vicolo Santa Maria (which dates to the second half of the 15th century).60 A similar solution, 54 55

56 57 58

59 60

Ercolano Marani, “L’architettura”, in Mantova: Le arti, vol. 2, eds. Ercolano Marani and Chiara Perina (Verona: Istituto Carlo d’Arco per la storia di Mantova, 1961), 83–94. Facciate dipinte nella Mantova di Andrea Mantegna, eds. Guido Bazzotti et al. (Milan: Skira, 2009). On Renaissance façades in Mantua: Giulio Girondi, “Caratteri architettonici delle dimore private”, in Residenze e patriziato, ed. idem, 127–153. For the cultural background of Mantuan patricians: Giuseppe Gardoni, “Luoghi di formazione del patriziato: Prime note”, ibid., 99–103. Marani, “L’architettura”, 162–166. Franco Mondadori, Apogeo e declino di una famiglia: La famiglia Rizzini dal xvii al xx secolo (Volta Mantovana: Editrice Centro culturale San Lorenzo, 2003). On Renaissance private houses in Mantua: Giulio Girondi, “Abitare ‘all’antica’ a Mantova”, in Residenze e patriziato, ed. idem, 115–125. Ugo Bazzotti, “La decorazione pittorica di casa Andreasi”, in Osanna Andreasi da Mantova: 1449–1505, vol. 3, eds. Gabriella Zarri et al. (Mantua: Casandreasi, 2005), 95–212. Marani, “L’architettura”, 175, n. 82.

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though with an entrance passageway at an angle to the space overlooking the courtyard, was also used in the rectory of Sant’Egidio. This house was built at the beginning of the 16th century by the rector Ludovico Cavazzi, whose name was inscribed in the marble window ledge. The rectory was later completed by his nephew Bartolomeo, also a rector, who in 1561 placed a commemorative epigraph on the corner of the building. The space accessed from the passageway often became a loggia. It is worth pointing out that the new Florentine conception of the colonnaded courtyard did not fully appear in the Mantuan residences because the smaller dimensions of the houses meant that loggias could almost always only be placed in the counter-façade. Sometimes the entrance led to one end of the loggia: thus at 27 Via Tito Speri the portico has only two openings and may even date to the 15th century;61 in the Petrozzani palace – whose crenellations in the courtyard indicate a fifteenth-century origin – there are three arches,62 as there are in the house at 59 Via Chiassi, dating back to the second half of the 15th century.63 The house at 10 Via Fratelli Bandiera, on the other hand, has a 15th-century portico with four arches.64 The entrance passageway often led to the middle of the loggia, which may have had three arches, and this was the case for 20 Via Mazzini (perhaps again from the 15th century) and 58 Via Fernelli, where the decorations in the ceilings appear similar to those in the Arrivabene palace (1481). The loggia of the latter (Fig.  7.6) has five openings, and the capitals directly recall those in Mantegna’s Saint Sebastian (c.1470).65 The Arrigoni palace also has a loggia with five arches.66 In the latter case, the basket-shaped capitals seem to suggest a date close to 1500, as does the duplication of the columns in correspondence to the gallery. The sequence according to which the atrium opens onto the middle of the loggia also seems to be the most frequently used in the 16th century. Thus, even after the 17th-century transformations, the Valenti Gonzaga palace still had a loggia with five arches with pseudo-composite basket-shaped capitals. This portico seems to refer to the residence built by Valente Valenti 61 62

63 64 65 66

Ibid., n. 83. Giuse Pastore, “La chiesa di San Lorenzo”, Quaderni di San Lorenzo, vol. 6, ed. Rosanna Golinelli Berto (Mantua: Tipografia Commerciale Cooperativa di Mantova, 2008), 41–57 (43–46). Ercolano Marani and Giuseppe Amadei, Antiche dimore mantovane (Mantua: citem, 1977), 47–59. Ibid., 33–46. Miriam Servi, “San Sebastiano”, in Mantegna. 1431–1506, eds. Giovanni Agosti and Dominique Thiébaut (Milan: Officina Libraria, 2008), 206–207. Marani and Amadei, Antiche dimore, 72–85.

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between 1478 and 1531.67 At other times the loggia may have also been placed not as a continuation of the entrance corridor but rather to one side of the courtyard. This was the case, for instance, with the Bonatti palace. The ‘ceremonial route’ followed through onto the main staircase. The latter was often situated in direct communication with the entrance passageway, and always close to the courtyard. From the stairs it was possible to access a loggia overlooking the courtyard, as at 58 Via Fernelli. Some traces of a loggia were also found during restoration works in the Arrivabene palace (1481). A portico can also be found in the courtyard of the fifteenth-century place at 22 Via Mazzini. Often the staircase ended with a landing providing access to the first vast reception hall: see, for example, the Valenti Gonzaga palace and the residence of 3 Piazza San Giovanni, characterized by façades very similar to those of the Arrivabene palace (1481). Recent restoration has shown that originally, before the 17th-century transformations, the Andreasi palace (1522–1535) also had a staircase of this kind. The reception rooms of the patrician residences were the most typical. They were modelled on the vast halls of the Gonzaga residences: for instance, the vast room with a double-height ceiling in the palace of San Sebastiano (one of the few still visible today). This room was originally decorated with Mantegna’s famous Triumphs of Caesar, once framed by an all’antica architectural configuration which is now reassembled in the apartment of Duke Vincenzo in the Ducal Palace of Mantua.68 Just as in the marquis’s residences, the halls of the private residences could be huge: in addition to the halls in the aforementioned Andreasi palace and the palace at 3 Piazza San Giovanni (Fig. 7.7), the now lost palace of Paride da Ceresara (built at the beginning of the 16th ­century) also originally had a very large hall.69 67

In 1478 Valente Valenti signed a contract in Ragusa with the Croatian architect and sculptor Marco Andrijić (and his partner Nikola Marković) to put “laboreria de predis de Curzola” (windows, doors and a portal) in his palace in Mantua: Roberto Sarzi, “Mantova e i Croati: Ricerca storica e artistica sulla presenza dei Croati a Mantova”, Civiltà mantovana 100 (1995), 41–42. These works were probably not executed; indeed, instead of late Venetian Gothic marbles we find two loggias with ‘all’antica’ capitals: between the courtyard and the garden we find capitals similar to the ones in the Arrivabene palace (1481) while in the main court the capitals seem later and probably were executed in the 1520s, before Valente’s death in 1531: Girondi, Abitare, 13. 68 Bourne, Francesco, 194–195. 69 Rodolfo Signorini, “Da palazzo Folenghi alla Banca Mutua Popolare: Documenti sulla sede della Banca Agricola Mantovana”, in Banca Agricola Mantovana: Un istituto al servizio dello sviluppo economico sociale e culturale del territorio. 1871–2002, vol. 2 (Mantua: Publi Paolini, 2003), 341–335.

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The public life of the family was conducted in these rooms: banquets could be prepared, and sometimes theatrical performances relating to court life were given. For instance, a tragedy was staged in the palace of Giovanni Gonzaga – brother of the Marquis Francesco ii – in 1499, during the visit to Mantua of Alfonso I d’Este, brother of the Marquise Isabella.70 In 1512, in the house of master Zoanne, two comedies were performed with great success to an audience comprising the Marquise Isabella.71 Another comedy, Gog and Magog, was staged in Giovanni’s palace in October 1516 in honour of a French delegation visiting Mantua.72 On the same occasion, a few days earlier, a great banquet was held in the Gonzaga residence which began and ended with dancing.73 A great ball was held in the Andreasi palace during the carnival of 1542 in the presence of the cardinal Ercole Gonzaga and a party of over fifty ladies whose dresses had been designed by Giulio Romano.74

Decorations ‘all’antica’ and the Gonzaga Models

In several patrician houses, mural decorations were concentrated on the fascia below the wooden coffered ceilings (much more common than brick vaults). 70 Bourne, Francesco, 212, n. 125 (Mantua, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Gonzaga, b. 2454, 3 March 1499, letter from Alberto da Bologna in Revere to Francesco ii in Mantua). On this palace: Giulio Girondi, Il palazzo di Giovanni Gonzaga: Una perduta dimora del Rinascimento a Mantova (Mantua: Il Rio, 2013). On the residences of the Gonzaga cadet lines in Mantua: Raffaele Tamalio, “Per una topografia delle residenze nella città di Mantova dei rami cadetti dei Gonzaga”, in Residenze e patriziato, ed. Girondi, 79–95. 71 “Novamente composte che furono di gran piacere alli uditori, intervenedoli la presentia de la illustrissima madama [Isabella]” (Bourne, Francesco, 212, n. 125; Mantua, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Gonzaga, b. 2485, 16 February 1512, letter from Amico Maria della Torre from Mantova to Federico ii in Roma). 72 Bourne, Francesco, 212, n. 125 (Mantua, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Gonzaga, b. 2494, 22 October 1516, letter from Amico Maria della Torre from Mantua to Federico ii in Paris). 73 Giancarlo Malacarne, Sulla mensa del principe. Alimentazione e banchetti alla corte dei Gonzaga (Modena: Il Bulino, 2002), 175; Mantua, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Gonzaga, b. 2494, cc. 274 r–v, 14 October 1516, letter from Federico Calandra to Federico ii Gonzaga. 74 Daniela Ferrari, Giulio Romano: Repertorio di fonti documentarie, vol. 2 (Mantua: Publi Paolini, 1992), 947–949. For an overview of court ceremonies and the relations between Gonzaga palaces and private houses in Mantua: Federica Natta, “Spettacoli teatrali nelle dimore private”, in Residenze e patriziato, ed. Girondi, 201–207; Francesca Mattei, “Architettura e cerimoniale tra corte e patriziato”, ibid., 217–223.

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Today, after centuries of alterations, reconstructions, and restorations, it is difficult to grasp the relationship between ornate murals, furniture decorations, furnishings, and (at times) collections of art and antiquities.75 Some help can be derived from the Camera degli Sposi, where, under the high chair on which the marquis sat, we can see an oriental rug with geometrical motifs and, on the southern and western walls, simulations of rich draperies. We know that the ornamental furniture, borrowed from different owners, could move from one residence to another. A letter dated 14 October 1516 – written by Federico Calandra to the young Federico ii – informs us that on the occasion of a banquet held in honour of foreign dignitaries the residence of Giovanni Gonzaga was adorned with beautiful tapestries from the collection of the duke of Urbino.76 Renaissance painters were already active in Mantua towards the end of the first half of the 15th century.77 However, the new all’antica decorative language was properly established only with the arrival of Andrea Mantegna, who had moved to Virgil’s home city towards the end of 1459, having been in contact with Marquis Ludovico ii since 1457.78 While the general taste for mural decorations probably derived from Mantegna’s inventions, the work was actually carried out by his workshop. This explains the great variation in terms of quality found in the individual works, although they were always inspired by the same compositional formulas, usually reworked on the basis of classical inputs and modelled on the architectural orders.79 The decorative elements are often composed of friezes beneath the wooden attics. What is striking is the variety of the combinations of these all’antica decorations (arboreal spirals, miniature palms, cornucopias, stemmata, emblems, busts, putti, and anthropomorphic figures) and, in some cases, painted panels, with rather heterogenous iconography ranging from classical antiquity to biblical themes, or even epic chivalry. For instance, in the Pastore palace in Castiglione delle Stiviere there are fragments (datable to around 1500) directly influenced 75 76

77 78 79

Guido Rebecchini, Private Collectors in Mantua, 1500–1630 (Rome: Sussidi eruditi, 2002). “Adornata di belle tapezerie de quelle de l’illustrissimo signor duca de Urbino”: Bourne, Francesco, 212, n. 125 (Mantua, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Gonzaga, b. 2494, 22 October 1516, letter from Amico Maria della Torre from Mantua to Federico ii in Paris). Stefano L’Occaso, “Artisti a Mantova prima dell’arrivo di Andrea Mantegna”, in A casa, ed. Signorini, 46–57. Mantegna, eds. Agosti and Thiébaut. Gianna Suitner, “L’età di Gianfrancesco Gonzaga e il Pisanello: la decorazione nel passaggio dal Tardogotico al Rinascimento”, in Pittura a Mantova dal Romanico al Settecento, ed. Mina Gregori (Cinisello Balsamo: cariplo, 1989), 6–17; Antonio Giuliano, “Mantegna e l’antico”, in Mantegna e Roma: L’artista davanti all’antico, ed. Teresa Calvano (Rome: Bulzoni, 2010), 17–51.

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by the inventions of Mantegna.80 In one painting we can see figures riding marine monsters reproduced, in part, from the etching of the Zuffa, whereas the fresco representing the Judgement of Salomon could in theory refer to an eponymous monochrome by Mantegna (now in the Louvre). In the same house, in a room dating back to around 1480, there are a certain number of tondi in which figures are represented. Under one of these we read “turpinus palactine”: the reference clearly seems to be to the chanson de geste and to Turpinus, a knight, archbishop of Reims, and one of the twelve peers of France, whom tradition holds as the author of the poems devoted to Charlemagne and his paladins. Within this variety, the compositional structure is always the same: a classical entablature (with a decorated frieze) which often rests on an architectural composition.81 One of the models used as a reference (if not actually the model) seems to be Mantegna’s Camera degli Sposi. The motif of the entwined rings in mock marble (already used in Padua by Donatello for the altar of the Basilica del Santo) derives from this work.82 This motif was also used by Mantegna in his own home,83 in Saint Bernardino of Siena in the Brera Pinacoteca,84 and in the design for the well-known tapestry of the Annunciation.85 Intertwined rings appear in various Mantuan works of art which date from around the 1480s: they can be found between the merlons of the façade of 11–13 Via Massari,86 those (closed up today) of the ­palace at 29–31 Via Bertani, in the painted columns of 17–23 Via Fratelli Bandiera,87 and on the plinth of a frescoed room in the Andreasi palace.88 80

81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88

Pier Vittorio Rossi, “Turpinus Palatine. Frammenti di un ciclo di affreschi del xv e xvi secolo rinvenuti a Palazzo Pastore”, in I Pastore a Castiglione delle Stiviere: Storia di una famiglia e di un palazzo, ed. id. (Mantua: Sometti, 1999), 151–157. Giulio Girondi, Residenze patrizie a Mantova: le decorazioni del Rinascimento e del Manierismo (Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2012). Aldo Galli and Laura Cavazzini, “Padova cruciale”, in Mantegna, eds. Agosti and Thiébaut, 56–57. Gianfranco Ferlisi, “La Casa del Mantegna dove l’armonia si dipinge nella pietra”, in A casa, ed. Signorini, 154–177. Marco Tanzi, “Mantova: Gli anni sessanta e settanta”, in Mantegna, eds. Agosti and Thiébaut, 183, 187. Nello Forti Grazzini, “Annunciazione”, in Gli arazzi dei Gonzaga nel Rinascimento, eds. Guy Delmarcel and Clifford Malcolm Brown (Milan: Skira, 2010), 36–45. Schede, ed. Francesca Vischi, in Facciate, ed. Bazzotti, 56–57. Ibid., 46–47. Stefano L’Occaso, “Le facciate dipinte nella Mantova di Andrea Mantegna (e nel Cinquecento)”, ibid., 16. Obviously, this work already existed before the 16th century intervention by Girolamo Andreasi (Ferrari, Palazzo Andreasi, 21, 27).

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The architectural conception of the Camera degli Sposi is reproduced once more in the “camerino dell’Architettura Dipinta” from the late 15th century, now incorporated into the so-called corridoio del Passerino in the Ducal Palace. Here, as is the norm in patrician houses, no scenes are represented between the pillars but only white surfaces decorated under the entablature by oscilla.89 This model spawned abundant copies: for instance, a room and an entrance passageway in the palace at 20 Via Nievo (1480–1500),90 and a space in the main building of Milan Polytechnic in Via Scarsellini (1500–1510). In the latter case, chandeliers against an ochre background appear with pseudo-composite capitals derived from the corner pilasters of the 15th-century Casa del Mercato.91 Around 1500 an evolution in taste occurred at Gonzaga’s court under Francesco ii and Isabella d’Este. On the one hand, the marquises continued to  be interested in classical works, but at the same time they were open to new trends. Thus, it is worthy of note that the Gonzaga continued to sponsor Mantegna, whose lessons in classicism were taken up by artists such as Giovan Francesco Caroto, Girolamo Bonsignori, and Lorenzo Leonbruno.92 The works of Mantegna were supplemented with works by Perugino, Giovanni Santi, Francesco Francia, and Lorenzo Costa; moreover we should not forget the presence in the city of works by Gian Cristoforo Romano and Bonacolsi l’Antico. We must also recall that Isabella d’Este was in contact with figures who were already considered at the time as having reached unattainable heights of artistry, such as Giovanni Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci. It is important to recall that some of these artists also worked for highly placed members of the court. For instance, Lorenzo Costa painted a number of courtiers, including in 1508 Laura Bentivoglio,93 the wife of Giovanni Gonzaga, brother of the marquis Francesco ii. In 1507 Giovanni Gonzaga paid the son of

89 90

91

92 93

Gianna Suitner, “Anonimo: Fregio del camerino dell’Architettura Dipinta”, in Pittura, ed. Gregori, 219. Chiara Tellini Perina, “La committenza privata all’ombra dei Gonzaga”, in Nel palagio: affreschi del cinquecento nei palazzi urbani, ed. Francesco Monicelli (Verona: Fondazione Cariverona, 2005), 87, 90. Mauro Bianconi and Giulio Girondi, “La storia della sede universitaria”, in L’Università e il suo portale: La sede di Mantova del Politecnico di Milano, ed. Giulio Girondi (Mantua: Sometti, 2007), 17–19. Giovanni Agosti, Su Mantegna, vol. 1 (Milan: Feltrinelli, 2005), 212–214. Daniela Sogliani, “Ritratti cortigiani negli anni di Isabella d’Este e Francesco ii Gonzaga: pittura, scultura e oreficeria a confronto da Andrea Mantegna a Lorenzo Costa”, in A casa, ed. Signorini, 258–262 (259).

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the painter Costa of Bologna to paint his portrait.94 Lazzaro Grimaldi from Reggio was also active in the palace of Giovanni Gonzaga;95 in order for him to complete his work Giovanni had to write to the duke of Ferrara, Ercole i (who retained the artist in Ferrara), insisting that the painter should be allowed to complete one of the rooms of his palace which he had already begun some time ago.96 Stefano L’Occaso links Grimaldi’s presence in Giovanni Gonzaga’s palace to a segment of a fresco. It depicts the bust of a warrior which had come from the demolished convent of Saint Ursula and appeared in the ancient residence of Giovanni Gonzaga from 1603.97 Alongside this taste for classicism it is also important to point out the marquises’ interest in Gian Francesco Tura and artists of the calibre of Dosso Dossi, Romanino, and Pordenone: quite clearly, therefore, the anti-classicist movement had some success in Mantua.98 On this point, it is also useful to recall how Pordenone decorated the façade of the now lost palace of Paride da Ceresara (he was still working on it in 1522). Vasari recalls this façade as being decorated with stories of Venus, Jupiter, and Mars and, in the space under the roof, with a frieze featuring putti bearing letters forming the motto “ceresariorum et amicorum domus”.99 The interior of the palace was also decorated, but for obvious reasons we cannot be sure the decorations were by Pordenone. In 1881 Portioli mentioned iconographic themes which can perhaps be traced back to the early 16th century: paintings on a wall, one of which features a boat with a captain and eight other people inside; on the opposite wall, at the head of the chamber, babies are depicted holding palm branches in their hands while others play musical instruments.100 94

“Figliolo del Costa da Bologna depinctore per uno retracto in s’un quadro de san Zorzo”, in Clifford Malcolm Brown, “Cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga (1469–1525): an overlooked name in the annals of collectors of antiquities”, Xenia 21 (1991): 56; Mantua, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Gonzaga, b. 412, List of expenditures of the Marquis Giovanni Gonzaga, c. 38. 95 Agosti, Su Mantegna, 208. 96 “Del desiderio ch’io ho che quello m[esser]o Lazaro pictore me venga a finire una mia camera per lui principiata cum mia gran dispesa”, in Elio Monducci, “Documenti”, in La pittura del Cinquecento a Reggio Emilia, ed. Massimo Pirondini (Milan: Motta, 1985). Modena, Archivio di Stato, Camera Ducale, Lettere di Principi Estensi, b. 601, 20 May 1502. 97 L’Occaso, Museo, 130–131. 98 Stefano L’Occaso, “Mantova: I Gonzaga. 1397–1519”, in Corti italiane del Rinascimento, ed. Marco Folin (Milan: Officina libraria, 2010), 176. 99 L’Occaso, Le facciate, 24–26. 100 “Nella stanza verso il teatro [Sociale], sulla parete che forma la stanza si vede dipinta una barca, con un nocchiere, otto personaggi che vi stanno entro, ed uno che con grosso involto vi discende. Sulla parte opposta della parete stessa, e quindi sul lato che fa testa al

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The will of Paride da Ceresara (the nephew of the constructor of the palace), drafted in 1601, informs us that the room looking towards the present-day Via Corrado was called the “room of Venus”, perhaps owing to its decorations.101 As far as our sources tell us, on the same avenue, now called Vittorio Emanuele ii, Pordenone also painted the façade of nos. 17 and 78–80.102 Perhaps the fragments of the fresco planned for the Corporation of Merchants (Corporazione dei Mercanti) at 52–54 Via Broletto, where it would seem that Federico ii Gonzaga was painted on horseback, should be ascribed to Pordenone.103 Although there were frescoes with mythological subjects in the palace of Paride da Ceresara, it must be pointed out that one of the leitmotifs in early Renaissance Mantua was city views. Besides the view of Rome in the background of the Camera degli Sposi – and the fragment derived from it on the ground floor of Mantegna’s house – there were the picture cycles with city views (now lost) which hung in the Gonzaga palaces (1493–1494), at Marmirolo (1494), San Sebastiano (1506–1512), and in Isabella’s apartment in the Corte Vecchia (1522 and 1523).104 As for private residences, a fragment showing a view of Jerusalem (1500–1510) comes from 3 Via De Cana.105 In the house at 12 Via Fratelli Bandiera, in the lunettes, we find depictions of mythological figures set against panoramic views (at times decorated with archaeological details): in one of these a snippet of Venice can be recognized. The presence of the spire of San Marco enables us to date the work to after 1514.106 An urban view also appears in a room in the palace of 3 Piazza Giovanni, datable to the 1530s. During the first half of the 16th century, the use of decorations based on an architectural model continued, but the formal solutions employed were often more complex: in the reception room of the Andreasi palace (1522–35) there were T-shaped pilasters;107 in another room in the same palace, and also in the Room of the Zodiac of the Palazzo d’Arco (with frescoes painted by Falconetto), we find a combination of architectural orders, and here the chandeliers exhibit an array of colours in the Venetian taste.108 Multicoloured chandeliers also salone si vedono dipinti molti bambini con rami di palma in mano, o che suonano strumenti musicali”. Attilio Portioli, “Il palazzo del diavolo”, Il mendico, 1 August 1881. 101 Mantua, Archivio di Stato, Archivio notarile, Vincenzo Atti, b. 1471bis, 29 November 1601. 102 L’Occaso, Le facciate, 27. 103 Ibid. 104 Bourne, Francesco, 229–252. 105 L’Occaso, Museo, 129–130. 106 Tellini Perina, La committenza, 87. 107 Ferrari, Palazzo Andreasi, 28. 108 Rodolfo Signorini, Fortuna dell’astrologia a Mantova: Arte, letteratura, carte d’archivio (Mantua: Sometti, 2007), 130–170 (130).

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appeared in the Peacock Room in the episcopal villa of Quingentole (1520–25),109 where there were also pseudo-Corinthian capitals with cornucopias, as in the background of Mantegna’s Circumcision (c.1460).110 In two of the rooms of the house of the Blessed Osanna Andreasi (1510–25) there were ‘bulb’ columns, crowned with globes,111 following a fairly common model in northern Italy.112 In reference to Mantua, we must also cite a bulb-shaped chandelier attributed to Bonalcolsi l’Antico and now preserved in the Museo della Città.113 The reception room of the palace at 3 Piazza San Giovanni displays the stemma of Isabella d’Este, which perhaps allows us to date it to before 1539 (the year of the marquise’s death). This room has a high frieze (again in keeping with Isabella’s taste: Fig. 7.7), borne by large caryatids and telamons, which reveals an early reaction to Raphaelite compositional innovations introduced into Mantua by Giulio Romano (from his arrival in Mantua in 1524). Under the influence of the rediscovery of classicism, developments in princely taste and stimuli from the main artistic centres in Italy were decisive for the development of the arts not only within the perimeter of the marquises’ court but also throughout the urban context revolving around the Gonzaga. In particular, both the members of the old medieval elite and the uomini novi who made up the court actively participated in the renovatio urbis of Mantua, building (or renovating) their houses in the new all’antica style just as the marquises did with their own residences. 109 Alberto Berselli and Gianni Borghi, La villa vescovile di Quingentole (Mantua: Sometti, 2007). 110 Luisa Attaldi, “Circoncisione”, in Mantegna, eds. Agosti and Thiébaut, 192–193. 111 Bazzotti, “La decorazione”, 198, 207–209. 112 Giulio Girondi, “La quinta architettonica della Presentazione della Vergine al Tempio di Albrecht Dürer”, Grafica d’Arte 84 (2010), 2–7. 113 Giovanni Rodella, “Candelabro”, in Bonacolsi, eds. Trevisani et al., 138–139.

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1a

1b

Saint Peter Cathedral

4

3

2

Sordello Square

Figure 7.1 Mantua, Court palaces. The main Renaissance constructions from 1459 to 1524 and the palatial complex at the end of the 19th century. 1a Castle of San Giorgio; 1b Ravelin of San Nicolò; 2 Domus Nova; 3 Corte Vecchia; 4 Stables.

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Figure 7.2 Revere (Mantua), the palace of Ludovico ii Gonzaga: plan of the ground floor from 1447.

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Figure 7.3 Motteggiana (Mantua), the villa of Ludovico ii Gonzaga: plan of the first floor around the mid-15th century.

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Figure 7.4 Motteggiana (Mantua), the villa of Ludovico ii Gonzaga: the courtyard from the loggia.

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1

A

B

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C

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D E

Figure 7.5 The apartment of Isabella d’Este on the ground floor of the Corte Vecchia. The “L” shape with the rooms still identifiable today is highlighted. A Piazza San Pietro (now Sordello); B Courtyard of Santa Croce; C Courtyard of the Quattro Platani (now d’Onore); D Secret Garden; E Piazza del Pallone (now Lega Lombarda); 1 Church of Santa Croce; 2 Loggia (now blocked off); 3 Sala Imperiale; 4 Loggia delle Città (rebuilt at the end of the 16th century); 5 Sala della Scalcheria; 6 Studiolo; 7 Grotta.

Patrician residences in Mantua

Figure 7.6 Mantua, Arrivabene palace: loggia, 1481.

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Figure 7.7 Mantua, the palace at 3 Piazza San Giovanni: great hall on the first floor (structure from the late 15th century, decorations from the 1530s).

chapter 8

The Renewal of Ferrara’s Court Palace under Ercole i d’Este (1471–1505) Marco Folin

The Late Medieval Court

For most of the 15th century, the court palace of the Este family in Ferrara was very different from what remains of it today (Fig. 8.1).1 In fact, it was not even one single palace but rather a cluster of distinct buildings, the most important of which was the Corte Vecchia. This was the oldest part of the building complex which had sprung up opposite the Duomo and had been the main residence of the Este family since the end of the 12th century. At that time, having taken the place of the Adelardi at the head of the largest faction of the city, they also inherited their property and rights, which included the governance of the monastery of San Romano linked to the palace itself (Fig. 8.2A). We have very little information about the medieval history of the building, which has been rebuilt more than once. What does seem clear, however, is that under Nicolò iii (1393–1441) the Corte Vecchia was made up of two main structures arranged in an L shape, conjoined by the massive Rigobello Tower, onto which a large clock was affixed in 1362, symbolically placing the city’s market under the guardianship of its prince (Fig. 8.2B).2 In 1436 an inventory of the court’s furniture provides a glimpse of how the internal spaces of the palace were arranged: a part of the southern wing was occupied by the heir to the throne (Leonello, marquis from 1441 to 1450) and his retinue. His quarters contained a reception room with two fireplaces (“Sala biancha grande dali dui chamini”), a bedroom with an antechamber (guardacamera) and an additional room for his retinue, as well as a reception room 1 On the structure of the court palace during the two first thirds of the 15th century, see mainly Thomas Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara: Ercole d’Este and the Invention of a Ducal Capital (1471– 1505) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 53–60; and Charles M. Rosenberg, The Este Monuments and Urban Redevelopment in Renaissance Ferrara (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), ad indicem. For a few brief mentions of palace rooms in the 14th century, see also Adriano Franceschini, Artisti a Ferrara in età umanistica e rinascimentale. Testimonianze archivistiche (Ferrara: Corbo, 1993), vol. 1, 23 and 40. 2 See Luigi Napoleone Cittadella, Notizie relative a Ferrara per la maggiore parte inedite (Ferrara: Taddei, 1864), vol. 1, 309–313.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_009

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(camara de audiencia) decorated with scenes from the lives of Hannibal and Scipio.3 In summer Leonello would move to the ground floor, where he had a “peacock room” (“chamara terena dali pauni”), and another room called the camera dei cimieri, where he had set up a studiolo originally inlaid by Arduino da Baiso for Paolo Guinigi,4 a walk-in wardrobe, and other rooms for his “companions, retinue, and friends”.5 The apartments of Leonello’s wife, Margherita Gonzaga, would also have been located in this part of the building (and included a “camera dei cimieri e delle ruote”, a “camera di Lancillotto in cui dorme la signora Margherita”, and a sala delle colonne). In contrast, the Marquise Rizzarda di Saluzzo with her female retinue had her own quarters in the Rigobello Tower, where she had a balcone grande opening onto the piazza, a camera delle udienze, and a series of rooms with various decorations (a “camera delle ruote, delle colonne, degli unicorni”).6 Overlooking the back courtyard, at the foot of Rigobello Tower, were the court chapel and spaces devoted to the  chancellery; to the right of the tower a relatively narrow space was shared by the kitchens and the marquis’s Fattoria (financial office), with its various related departments.7 The higher floors of the tower were home to the princely archives, the court library, and, probably, the dynastic treasure.8 To the rear of the Corte Vecchia stood a distinctive building which, in the inventory of 1436, was described as “once a guesthouse and now the prince’s home” (“un tempo casa dei forestieri e ora casa del signore”), of which we know very little except that the description probably referred to its original use (a guesthouse for ­foreign travellers) and that during the first half of the century Nicolò iii set up his living quarters there (Fig. 8.2C).9 Access to this space was through an external staircase which led to a small reception room (saleta), which in turn led to a room decorated with hunting scenes and an antechamber (antisala); from here a passageway (andavino) led to the marquis’s bedroom (“decorated with playing children”, “fata a puti che zoga”), which had an

3 4 5 6 7 8 9

See Giulio Bertoni and Emilio Paolo Vicini, Il castello di Ferrara ai tempi di Nicolò iii. Inventario della suppellettile del castello: 1436 (Bologna: Azzoguidi, 1907), 36–47. On the studiolo of Paolo Guinigi, see Clara Altavista, Lucca e Paolo Guinigi (1400–1430): la costruzione di una corte rinascimentale. Città, architettura, arte (Pisa: ets, 2005), 64–69. “Compagni, famigli e ragazzi”: Bertoni and Vicini, Il castello di Ferrara, 40–42. Ibid., 71–90 and 113–118. Ibid., 62–70 and 143–150. Ibid., 94–111; on the archive of the Rigobello Tower, see Filippo Valenti, Archivio Segreto Estense. Sezione “Casa e Stato”. Inventario (Rome: Ministero dell’Interno, 1953), ix–xlvii. See Bertoni and Vicini, Il castello di Ferrara, 52 (“chaxa deli forastieri olim et mo’ dicta la chaxa del Segnore”).

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annexed ­antechamber and dining room. On the ground floor a few rooms looked onto the loggia.10 At the outskirts of the city and to the north of the complex comprising the Corte Vecchia and the casa dei forestieri stood the Castelvecchio, a powerful fortress built in 1385 by Bartolino da Novara close to the northern city walls. Its function was to protect the city, and at the same time it acted as a potential haven for the marquis in the event of attacks from within (Fig. 8.2D).11 The gap between the mass of the fortress and the court palace was occupied by a number of buildings which at that time – though containing some reception areas on the first floor, such as the Sala Grande, at least since 1446 (Fig. 8.2E)12 – were mostly used as shops and warehouses. Around these were a disarray of stables, granaries, pigsties, wheat and wood storehouses, kitchens, laboratories, and homes for the throng of characters who lived in the shadow of court life: servants, stable boys, pageboys, cooks, chaplains, tutors, marshals, carpenters, embroiderers and so on (Fig.  8.2F).13 A few years later, the chronicler Ugo Caleffini would describe this area with overtones of disgust owing to the disorder and filth which seemed to pervade it, overflowing into the open space separating the court from the Castelvecchio, between the town’s butcher on the one side (Fig. 8.2G) and seigneurial stables on the other (Fig. 8.2H).14 This markedly mercantile aspect of the spaces surrounding the Este palace which converged with the rest of the palace is not surprising as – contrary to a completely incorrect but longstanding fallacy – the Este family distinguished themselves over the generations not (with the exception of one or two ill-fated younger sons) as tough warriors or brave warlords but rather as landowners and merchants, as enterprising as they were unscrupulous. They owned huge expanses of farmland spread over the Ferrara region, the Po Valley, and EmiliaRomagna. Some of the land was rented out to their clientes, and some of it 10 11

12

13 14

Ibid., 52–57. On the construction of the Castelvecchio, see Marco Folin, “Il Castello come emblema di potere: architettura e politica alla corte degli Estensi”, in Il Castello per la città, ed. Marco Borella (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2004), 55–59. Year in which the Diario ferrarese refers to a dancing party held “suxo la Sala Grande dela corte verso lo Castelo Vechio” on the occasion of the marriage of Isotta d’Este: “Diario Ferrarese dall’anno 1409 sino al 1502 di autori incerti”, ed. Giuseppe Pardi, in Rerum Italicarum Scriptores2 24/7 (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1928), p. 29. Bertoni and Vicini, Il castello di Ferrara, 57–62. Ugo Caleffini, Croniche: 1471–1494 (Ferrara: Deputazione Prov. Ferrarese di Storia Patria, 2006), 17 (November 1471: “suso dicte piacete stomogose se vendevano li porci et vini in vasselli, et poledri”) and 36 (27 March 1473: “prima erano in quello puzi, casabitoli, letame da cavali, le legne dela corte, stancie da cani et mile gaiofarie”).

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they managed themselves through a network of estates under their control (known as castalderie).15 Thus, by the end of the Middle Ages, the rulers of Ferrara were not only included among the main traders in grain, wood, and livestock in their territory, but they were also engaged in other manufacturing activities, such as the production of wool, silk, and soap (it has been estimated, for example, that around the mid-16th century the Este employed around 700 workers in wool production alone).16 It was thus an almost entrepreneurial activity in which the marquises, who later became dukes, were not afraid of appearing so deeply involved as to arouse the disapproval of many who deemed this practice incompatible with their rank. Thus, Francesco Guicciardini still maintained at the end of the 1520s that the duke of Ferrara deserved “great reprimand for devoting himself to commerce, monopolies, and other mechanical activities which usually are the concern of private citizens”.17 Thirty years later, the Venetian ambassador, Alvise Contarini, echoed these words by stigmatizing the “concern with practices more adapted to the diligent head of a household than the ruler of a princedom” as being “peculiar to this family”.18 In this context, it is easy to understand how the court palace held on to functions which were far from being merely, or mostly, residential – especially considering the family’s custom of constantly moving between their many residences inside and outside the city, and thus never spending more than a 15

16

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18

On the system of the “castalderie”, see the works of Franco Cazzola now collected in La città, il principe, i contadini. Ricerche sull’economia ferrarese nel Rinascimento, 1450–1630 (Ferrara: Corbo, 2003), 51–160; and more recently idem, “Il sistema delle castalderie e la politica patrimoniale e territoriale estense (secoli xv–xvi)”, in Delizie Estensi. Architetture di villa nel Rinascimento italiano ed europeo, eds. Francesco Ceccarelli and Marco Folin (Florence: Olschki, 2009), 51–77. Guido Guerzoni, “Angustia ducis, divitiae principum. Patrimoni e imprese estensi tra Quattro e Cinquecento”, in Tra rendita e investimenti. Formazione e gestione dei grandi patrimoni in età moderna e contemporanea (Bari: Cacucci, 1998), 57–87. Francesco Guicciardini, Ricordi (Milan: Rizzoli, 1984), 137 “grandi rimproveri, dedicandosi a mercanzie, monopoli e altre attività meccaniche che solitamente spettano ai cittadini privati” and 216: “dico che el duca di Ferrara, che fa mercatantia, non solo fa cosa vergo­ gnosa, ma è tiranno, faccendo quello che è officio de’ privati e non suo: e pecca tanto verso e’ populi quanto peccherebbono e’ populi verso lui intromettendosi in quello che è officio solum del principe”. “Occuparsi di esercizi più adatti a un diligente padre di famiglia che a principe di Stato”, see Relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti al Senato, ed. Arnaldo Segarizzi, vol. 1 (Bari: Laterza, 1912), 73: “attende a molte cose forsi più convenienti a un diligente padre di famiglia ed a privato economico che a principe di Stato”.

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couple of months a year in each of them.19 Rather, the palace was used, at least in part, as a vast structure for storage, sales, and in some cases the production of goods and various kinds of produce, not only for domestic consumption: a significant proportion were also destined for sale in the shops that surrounded the building on all sides. From this point of view, the Este family’s living arrangement did not differ substantially from the residential structures of other ruling families of the Po Valley. Over the previous centuries they all had succeeded, in a very similar way, in establishing their rule over the towns by also becoming involved in the local economies, controlling and to some extent influencing the city trade systems.20 This was the case with the Gonzaga, the Carraresi, and in particular the Scaligeri, among others, who throughout the 13th century had filled the centre of Verona with granaries, shops, warehouses, and storehouses (some communal and others freehold properties belonging to the family). This practice had also contributed to the ideological character of the market places and nearby areas affiliated with the ruling family, which thus appeared as one vast centre for commerce, always open to trading with those citizens from whose goodwill the family derived its legitimacy.21 In Padua and Verona, this peculiar nexus of different activities and functions suddenly disappeared with the arrival of the Venetians. In Ferrara, by contrast, it was fully perceptible until the second half of the 15th century – and with apparently greater emphasis than in Mantua, where courtly residences occupied areas further removed from the market places. Thus, as far as can be inferred from our sources, in Borso’s time (1450–1471) the ‘palatial system’ of the Este family – despite its crown of merlons and direct connection to Castelvecchio through elevated and protected passageways22 – remained essentially open for free circulation and partial use by citizens. It is thus highly significant that, until the works carried out in the last thirty years of the 15th century, what was known as the Volto del Cavallo – namely the future (and actual) main entrance to the palace courtyard – was not conceived in terms of 19 20

21 22

On this point, see Marco Folin, “Le residenze di corte e il sistema delle delizie fra medioevo ed età moderna”, in Delizie Estensi, eds. Ceccarelli and Folin, 79–135. See Silvana Collodo, Una società in trasformazione. Padova tra xi e xv secolo (Padua: Antenore, 1990), 329–403; and Gian Maria Varanini, “Patrimonio e fattoria scaligera: tra gestione patrimoniale e funzione pubblica”, in Gli Scaligeri 1277–1387. Saggi e schede pubblicati in occasione della mostra storico documentaria allestita dal Museo di Castelvecchio di Verona, ed. idem (Verona: Mondadori, 1988), 383–386. Ibid.; and Gianni Perbellini, Castelli scaligeri (Milan: Rusconi, 1982), 34–40. At least since 1466, when a room by room review referred to a “camera apresso la via coperta del Castel Vechio che è sopra la porta grande dale stalle” (Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 60–61).

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the access or threshold to the palace; rather, it was considered a mere covered segment of one of the main roads connecting the Piazza del Duomo with the San Domenico area. This is emphasized in the chronicles and contemporary descriptions of the palace and the piazza when they refer to a large road (“ampla strada”, “via larga”) – that is to say, a space which, conceptually and from a juridical point of view, was perceived as public – “which comes to divide the palace from east to west conveniently and harmoniously” (Fig. 8.2L).23 This road – which represented the western extension of the old Via dei Sabbioni – was one of the city’s main routes. Contemporary sources make many and various references to it: in 1459, for example, a joust was held there.24 Consequently, each of the separate buildings in the area came to have its own separate access and courtyard. It is no coincidence that reception ceremonies for guests of honour, consorts, and ambassadors rather than taking place in the piazza in front of the Duomo were held beyond the archivolt over the road, in the courtyard belonging to the Corte Vecchia (known as the Cortile della Fontana). Thus, as late as 1473, after the profound transformation of the whole area instigated by Ercole i d’Este, the new duchess, Eleanor of Aragon, was only received by her new family after she had passed through the Volto del Cavallo, at the head of the stairs built by the duke at the back of the main palace building.25

The Court Palace of Ercole i and the Works of 1471–1474

With regard to the first three-quarters of the century, there is no information about works aimed at structurally altering the layout of the collection of buildings comprising the court: rather, it seems that investments were made in the delizie system, namely the network of suburban and country residences that encircled the city and where the family and their entourage would spend a great deal of the year.26 Borso himself seems to have carried out some renovations 23

“Che si trova a dividere comodamente e armoniosamente il palazzo da est a ovest”: Francesco Ariosto, De novi intra ducalem regiam Ferrariensi delubri in gloriosissimae Virginis honorem et reverentiam dicati origine, situ ac veneratione, et admirabilis simulacri translatione: Modena, Biblioteca Estense, Ms. Lat. 309 (alpha W.4.4), cc. 103v–104r (my italics). 24 Modena, Archivio di Stato, Camera Ducale, Memoriali, reg. 12, c. 381r. 25 See Caleffini, Croniche, 44 (3 July 1473). Giacomo Piccinino and Bartolomeo Colleoni were also received in the Cortile della Fontana, in 1465 and 1466 respectively (Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 59). 26 See supra, n.19.

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only when required by particular circumstances: for instance, in 1452, when, in order to throw a memorable reception in honour of the emperor, all the local painters were mobilized to paint a palace room in a great hurry to be used by the august guest;27 or in 1469, when, again on the occasion of an imperial visit, a new stone staircase was built on the southern side of the courtyard and a few nearby rooms were renovated in the all’antica style.28 When Ercole i came to power in 1471, however, the institutional framework in which the new prince took his first steps was radically different: a few months before his death, Borso had succeeded in getting the pope to bestow on him the title of duke of Ferrara (after having already obtained from the emperor the investiture of the dukedoms of Modena and Reggio in 1452), thereby favouring the rise of the house of Este to the ranks of one of the main ruling families in Italy. This development led to the complete transformation of relations between the prince and his subjects: on an ideological level, the claim for the legitimacy of the dynasty relied no longer on ‘popular’ election as recorded in civic memory, but rather on a feudal delegation from above, bestowed by a universal authority and passed on through hereditary means (though, in actual fact, the pontifical designs on Ferrara, which were never appeased, would always have prevented the dukes from completely abandoning the paraphernalia of municipal traditions).29 Thus Ercole i was faced with a momentuous problem: providing himself with a palace the likes of which his household – owing to its specific history – had never possessed and which the new ducal honour made it an absolute necessity to have. Similar problems were faced by most of the Italian princely dynasties of the time, in Mantua as in Urbino, in Milan as in the cities of Emilia-Romagna. In all these places great and ambitious projects of architectural and urban transformation were being commissioned. However, the duke of Ferrara stood out among his contemporaries for the extent of the renovations on the very structure of his palace (and the entire city around it); the sheer amount of funds invested was truly extraordinary. Moreover, the circumstances of Ercole’s own life made him a very different kind of person from his predecessors: in contrast to the latter, who had been raised in Ferrara in the cult of ancestral traditions, the new duke had spent his youth in Naples, in the court of the Aragonese kings (the only Italian court of royal ranking) living in the Castel Nuovo and personally witnessing the urban 27 Franceschini, Artisti a Ferrara, vol. 1, doc. 701c, 391 (18 July 1453). 28 See Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 59. 29 On these themes, see Marco Folin, Rinascimento estense. Politica, cultura, istituzioni di un antico Stato italiano (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2001), 331–341.

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renovation schemes pursued by King Alfonso v and after him by his son Ferrante.30 It was therefore no coincidence that Ercole set to work immediately, only eight days after his accession to the throne, by commissioning the court engineer to produce an estimate of the costs necessary to construct a protected and fortified corridor (“via coperta”, or “via secreta”, as it was known at the time), which was to lead directly from his rooms, in the quarters once belonging to Nicolò iii, to the Castelvecchio and the northern arc of the city walls (Figs. 8.2A, 8.4).31 This measure has been explained in view of the tensions that accompanied Ercole’s succession and even the military threat owing to the aspirations to the throne of Ercole’s nephew Niccolò di Leonello (eventually quashed in his unhappy attempt to seize power by force in 1476).32 However, the mere fact that the duke wished to ascertain the cost of the works even before their commencement is a first indication of a more complex project that left nothing to chance. It seems that the duke followed Alberti’s instructions almost verbatim on the benefits of endowing palaces with secret passageways through which one’s messengers could come and go, unbeknown to others, ensuring wherever possible a direct connection between the palace and the fortress.33 What is certain is that in the following months the construction of the “via coperta” would have afforded the duke the opportunity of giving a more fitting structure to the spaces that had aroused such disgust in Ugo Caleffini: new shops were built under the arcades of the “via coperta” (pozolo choperto) which linked the castle and the courtyard, the wide open space at the back was completely paved and levelled, and other shops were built along the sides of the palace, setting thus in motion a whole redevelopment programme for the area (Fig. 8.3B).34 Once the most urgent problems concerning the security and appearance of the northern block had been addressed, Ercole soon turned his attention to the main façade of the Corte Vecchia, opposite the Duomo. In May 1472 the monument representing Borso in the act of pronouncing judgement, erected twenty years earlier on a column in front of the Palazzo della Ragione, was moved near to the Volto del Cavallo, acting as a counterpart to the statue of Nicolò iii on 30 31 32 33 34

On the Neapolitian adolescence of Ercole i d’Este, see Trevor Dean, “Ercole i d’Este”, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (Rome: Enc. Italiana, 1993), vol. 43, 97–107. See Franceschini, Artisti a Ferrara, vol. 1, doc. 1229b (29 August 1471), 794; “Diario ferrarese”, 73 (1 September 1471); and more generally Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 60–62. On this, see Folin, “Il Castello come emblema di potere”, 59–62. Leon Battista Alberti, L’architettura [De re aedificatoria], ed. Giovanni Orlandi, introduction and notes by Paolo Portoghesi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1966), vol. 1, 341–347. See Caleffini, Croniche, 17 (November–December 1471); see also “Diario Ferrarese”, 78 (November–December 1471) and 85 (February 1473); in addition to Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 60–62; and a Rosenberg, The Este Monuments, 111–119.

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horseback (Figs. 8.3C, 8.5).35 Thus, what used to be a mere archivolt over the public road and dividing the palace began to stand out as a new monumental entrance to the courtly spaces. Only a short while later, as we shall see, other projects could not fail to corroborate this action. At the same time, the entire façade of the palace was completely redesigned through the construction of tre bellissimi poggioli, which began at the Rigobello Tower and extended as far as the monument to Borso d’Este (Figs. 8.3D, 8.6).36 The poggioli, each of which is marked by ten marble columns (except for the last one, which was overhanging and had twelve columns), were held up on the ground floor by ten large piers “di simil marmo”, with vegetal decorations, interspersed with the busts of Roman emperors (possibly replicas of the famous series of the twelve Caesars sculpted by Desiderio da Settignano for Giovanni de’ Medici: Fig. 8.737). Behind them a row of “nice and honourable shops” could be seen, which, as Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti observed, “provided the ducal piazza with an illustrious decoration”.38 As a result, the new façade of the courtyard was covered by a sort of great monumental loggia with four tiers which rose from the ground and almost reached the top of the roof, which thus “exalted it to the sky” (“la sublima[va] in aria”) – as a court panegyrist, full of admiration, would write a few years later – “with its variety of snow-white marble columns” (“varietà di candidissime colonne di marmo”).39 It was an utterly original solution, and very few parallels can be cited in the architecture of the time. The rear façade of the Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza comes to mind, or certain aspects of the Benedictions Loggia at Saint Peter’s; but with respect to his possible models, Ercole displayed exceptional syntactic freedom, mixing together some of the most refined elements of antiquarian taste (vegetal motifs, the busts of the Caesars, which are described in a register as “tratti 35

“Diario ferrarese”, 79; more generally, on the monument to Borso, see Giuseppe Agnelli, “I monumenti di Nicolò iii e Borso d’Este in Ferrara”, Atti e Memorie della Deputazione Ferrarese di Storia Patria 23 (1918), 1–32; Rosenberg, The Este Monuments, 88–109; and Marco Folin, “La committenza estense, l’Alberti e il palazzo di corte di Ferrara”, in Leon Battista Alberti: architetture e committenti, eds. Arturo Calzona, Joseph Connors and Francesco Paolo Fiore (Florence: Olschki, 2009), vol. 1, 257–277. 36 See Werner L. Gundersheimer, Art and Life at the Court of Ercole i d’Este: the “De triumphis religionis” of Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti (Geneva: Droz, 1972), 51. 37 See the relevant entry by Cetty Muscolino, “Gregorio di Lorenzo, Profili di imperatori romani”, in Una corte nel Rinascimento, ed. Bentini (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2004), 236–237. 38 “Boteche belle de varii exercitii honorevoli, cose che ala ducal piaza donano illustre ornamento”: Gundersheimer, Art and Life, 51. 39 Ariosto, De novi intra ducalem regiam Ferrariensi delubri, cc. 103v–104r.

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dale medaglie dei xii Imperatori”40) with other models of strictly medieval origin, such as the crowning merlons repainted for the occasion or the shops that occupied the ground-floor portico. Ercole i’s first steps as an “architect–prince” clearly reveal how, for the new duke of Ferrara, the adoption of an up-to-date architectural language, rich in citations from the classical world, did not in any way imply that he should renounce the language of his roots; rather, he revived it in keeping with the past, respecting its customs and practices. Clearly, his intention was not to wipe out the vernacular traits of the local dialect but, on the contrary, to update them. The idea was to legitimize them as distinctive stylistic features of a ‘national’ idiom, capable of rivalling, without any inferiority complex, any other tradition of the peninsula, however noble. The same principles, some time later, inspired the radical restructuring works of the northern wing of the palace. Its original disparate and heterogeneous use was not in the slightest contradicted by Ercole’s interventions, but merely reorganized and reordered; some aspects were even emphasized by the monumental cornice into which it was inserted. Thus, on the ground floor, the wine cellar and some of the offices (the chancellery and the bursary which were later permanently transferred to the courtyard, next to the Rigobello Tower) were restructured, while on the first floor the Sala Grande was extended and refurbished with rich decoration and a new system of windows (Fig.  8.3E).41 The latter, approximately 50  ×  16  m, was adjacent to another reception space (known as the Sala dei Paladini), which measured 28 × 8 m (Fig.  8.3F).42 The two rooms continued to represent the throbbing heart of court life until 1532, when a fire irreparably destroyed the Sala Grande (further enlarged by Ercole in 1493), which was never rebuilt. A new reception apartment was built next to it, in the northern end of the palace, originally intended for the duchess but often used as a guest apartment for passing visitors. In October 1473, for instance, the cardinal Pietro Riario was a guest there, as was the King of Naples in December of the same year, in whose honour the whole space was sumptuously decorated with golden tapestries and a splendid cabinet filled with silverware (Fig. 8.3G).43 40

Adolfo Venturi, “L’arte ferrarese nel periodo di Ercole i”, Memorie della R. Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Romagne s. 3, 6 (1888–1889), 113. 41 Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 69–70. 42 Caleffini, Croniche, 82 (20 September 1474); and more generally, see Rosenberg, The Este Monuments, 244; and Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 69–70. 43 See Caleffini, Croniche, 88–89 (4 December 1474); as for Pietro Riario’s visit, see ibid., 56 (13 October 1473).

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All the foul-smelling and indecent spaces cluttering up the area behind, passed over by Borso’s old “via coperta”, were demolished to make way for a new courtyard which was to become one of the ceremonial hubs of the palace: the stables were moved to another location, and the areas reserved for domestic services – and, in particular, the kitchens (previously placed in different locations in the palace) – were concentrated into one single space on the ground floor (Fig. 8.3H).44 The various courtyards the area was divided into were unified and perhaps levelled by paving the whole area, and access was limited by the construction of a portal facing the Volto del Cavallo and visibly circumscribing the space with a crown of merlons running all along the internal (as well as external) perimeter of the courtyard.45 The entrance system was also streamlined: in April 1472 works began in the courtyard on a new monumental marble staircase to provide more direct access to the Sala Grande (two bronze statues of Hercules were placed on each side of it some years later46). A vast archway was opened up at ground level, intended for the service entrance for provisions and other daily supplies required by the court.47 This was obviously an attempt to distinguish and separate the different functions that the palace served by redistributing the spaces reserved for each of them on the basis of a strictly hierarchical arrangement: the reception areas and living quarters of the prince and his retinue were on the higher floors, whereas the lower court and areas for different domestic services were on the ground floor. In the courtyard, in place of Borso’s stables, a new court chapel was constructed preserving a miraculous image of the Virgin which had begun to perform remarkable miracles at the same time as Ercole’s accession to the throne (Fig. 8.3T). The chapel was inaugurated on 7 August 1474 with a solemn procession in which all the town’s clergy participated. The whole edifying occasion was celebrated in a work written both in the vernacular and in Latin by Francesco Ariosto, who was by then an acclaimed court writer.48 The architectural renovation of the area deemed the most “abject and unworthy” of the court was thus placed under the protection of the Madonna and both the miracles of the merciful Mother of God and the worthy architectural 44 45

“Diario ferrarese”, 87 (27 March 1473). We know of a first archway built at the back of the palace over the pathway leading to San Domenico as early as 1443: see Franceschini, Artisti a Ferrara, vol. 1, docs. 493 cc, 493ff and 493hh, 231–232 (July–October 1443). 46 Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 69. 47 Ariosto, De novi intra ducalem regiam Ferrariensi delubri, cc. 53r–v. 48 Ibid., c.2r. On the construction of the chapel, see also Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 90–95; and Rosenberg, The Este Monuments, 112–113.

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frame built in her honour helped to establish the magnificence of the city’s prince.49 Located on the other sides of the courtyard were the main offices of government, which had previously been scattered around the palace and in the town square – the Fattoria and its offices, the Council of Justice, the Secret Council, and the Officio dei Dodici Savi (Communal Council), each with its own archive.50 It was almost as if the ongoing process by which the duke’s supremacy absorbed the state functions was being translated into an architecturally coherent picture. Thus, the law courts, which had been the expression and guarantee of civil liberty, became the visible reflection of the supreme power of the sovereign. What is more, the ideological charge of the whole process was completely explicit, and reported as such in the contemporary chronicles, which, also for this very reason, did not refrain from criticizing Giacomo Trotti, the most hateful Giudice dei Savi, accused of being the dark soul of the prince.51 The ousting of the municipal institutions was made all the more evident by another measure with a strong ideological resonance: the covering up of the southern flank of the Duomo with a long portico of shops (known as the Loggia degli Strazzaroli: Fig. 8.3L). The portico eventually completely concealed the ancient epigraphic inscription of the first municipal statutes of Ferrara, which had been on display since the end of the 12th century on the city’s most prestigious building.52 When they began digging the foundations, a chronicler reported, highlighting the sense of sacrilege probably shared by many at the sight of the works, that “many skeletons were found and many ancient tombs, since that place had once been consecrated and there had never been a single shop there”.53 49 Ariosto, De novi intra ducalem regiam Ferrariensi delubri, c. 2r (“un sacello nel magno e superbo pallazo hora vostro ducale e nel più humile et abiecto luoco d’epso”). On Ercole i’s unscrupulous use of religion in order to build up his own charisma as a leader, see Marco Folin, “Finte stigmate, monache e ossa di morti. Sul “buon uso della religione” in alcune lettere di Ercole d’Este e Felino Sandei”, Archivio Italiano per la Storia della Pietà 11 (1998): 181–244; as well as Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 164–185. 50 Caleffini, Croniche, 82 (19 September 1474); for the transferal of the Council of Justice and the Secret Council, see Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 411. 51 On Giacomo Trotti and the more general political context in which these events took place, see Folin, Rinascimento estense, 160–170. On the “courtyard of the offices”, see Rosenberg, The Este Monuments, 112–114; and Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 72–75. 52 See Adriano Franceschini, I frammenti epigrafici degli statuti di Ferrara del 1173 venuti in luce nella cattedrale (Ferrara: Deputazione Prov. Ferrarese di Storia Patria, 1969). 53 “Furono trovati molti scheletri e diverse sepolture antiche, poiché un tempo quel luogo era consacrato e non c’era mai stato alcun negozio” Hondedio di Vitale, Cronaca, Ferrara,

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The renovation of the palace was part of a broader programme to transform the central areas of the city generally: we have already mentioned how the jagged and “sickening” space between the palace and the Castello was paved and levelled to unify the surface and transform it into a proper “piazza”, as it was referred to shortly after (Fig.  8.3M).54 The northern view of the courtyard was also realigned by the construction of a row of shops running all along the perimeter of the palace as far as the Castello’s moat under the “via coperta”. The most polluting activities were removed from the palace, such as the butcher’s shop (moved north towards the small church of San Giuliano, near Borso’s mule stables: Fig. 8.3N); a few years later the wood and straw markets were transferred to the southern edge of the city, close to the Castelnuovo.55 Subsequently, measures were taken on several occasions to prevent itinerant stalls from setting up in the area, though, judging by the complaints of the city officials, the measures were largely disregarded.56 The wheat and fodder market was transferred to the new piazza (previously held near the cathedral bell tower57). Meanwhile, some of the duke’s offices were set up in place of the old butcher’s shop: specifically, the tax office, or Officio della Gabella Grande, the ammunitions office (headed at the time by Pietro Benvenuti, and later Biagio Rossetti) and the office for the supply of grain (Officio delle Biave), which – as was polemically noted by Caleffini – “had been located near the cathedral’s Porta dei Mesi for over three hundred years” (Fig. 8.3O).58 At the back of the renovated palace, on the west side, Ercole i built a new commercial road with a row of sixteen shops on each side (Fig. 8.3P), which connected the market area close to the Castelvecchio with the old road that used to cross the court. This opened up a new urban pathway, making it possible to go round the palace, which was no longer accessible once the passageway through the courtyard had been blocked off, or in any case access was restricted.59 Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea, Ms. Antonelli, no. 257, c. 5v (1 April 1473: “funo trovate molte teste e ossa de corpi humani e sepulture asai, che antichamente erano stati sepelliti in quello luogo che era sagrato inanti che mai li fusse botege algune”). 54 Ibid., c. 20r. 55 Caleffini, Croniche, 82 and 262 (September 1474–October 1477); see also Rosenberg, The Este Monuments, 111–112. 56 See Modena, Archivio di Stato, Cancelleria, Carteggio dei rettori, b. 5455 (letters from the judges to the suppliers of fodder from 3 September 1491; and from the judge to the provisions’ suppliers from 25 June and 13 August 1491). 57 Hondedio di Vitale, Cronaca, c. 20r; and Bernardino Zambotti, “Diario ferrarese dall’anno 1476 sino al 1504”, ed. Giuseppe Pardi, in appendix to “Diario ferrarese”, 91 (April 1481). 58 Caleffini, Croniche, 88 and 103 (November 1474 and 5 March 1475). 59 On the road with its shops opened by Ercole i to the west of the palace, see Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 68–69.

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The main roads connecting the palace and the city entrances were paved: thus the Via Grande and the Borgo del Leone were paved from their respective entrances up to the piazza, as was the road leading from the piazza to the Porta San Pietro. In order to speed up the works, Ercole did not hesitate to reuse stones from other peripheral roads, removing them from their original location.60 In other words, far from being indiscriminate interventions for urban embellishment, the paving of specific central roads was intended to establish a strong hierarchy in the urban space: roads surrounding the palace and the piazza system encircling it were exalted, while the peripheral areas of the city were either ignored or even damaged by the duke. This same disparity, thirty years later, clearly seems to have inspired the famous woodcut bird’s-eye view of Ferrara vecchia, probably produced in circles very close to the duke (Fig. 8.6).61 Here the central spaces of the city and the cornerstones of dynastic power are represented clearly out of scale compared with the peripheral areas of the city, pushed to the margins of the image. As for the old municipal piazza, barely a single building was spared from the attentions of the prince: we have already mentioned the Portico degli Strazzaroli, built in March 1473 to one side of the Duomo, erasing the memory of the ancient civic statutes (Fig. 8.3L).62 Around the same time works on the adjacent bell tower began again and the Loggia dei Calegari (the old shoemakers’ loggia) was re-plastered and painted with scenes of tournaments, becoming home to a school for the humanities shortly afterwards (Fig.  8.3Q).63 Another string of shops, with stone walls instead of the previous wooden constructions, was built in front of the church of San Romano and rented out 60

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63

“Diario ferrarese”, 86 (18 March 1473). See also Caleffini, Croniche, 35 (19 March 1473). On the possibility of paving the Borgo dei Leoni by reusing material taken from the Vie di San Paolo, San Romano and dei Sabbioni (replaced by baked stoneware), there had already been some inconclusive discussions a few years earlier: see Franceschini, Artisti a Ferrara, vol. 1, doc. 1134b, 718–719 (18 February 1468). On the woodcut, see the relevant entry by Marco Folin, in Una corte nel Rinascimento, ed. Bentini, 206–207. See “Diario ferrarese”, 87 (19 March 1473); and Pier Candido Decembrio, De laude et commendatione vitae clarissimi principis Herculis Estensium ducis liber, Ferrara, Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea, Ms. Antonelli, n. 495, cc. n.n. In fact, there had been a debate in the city  for  some years on the possibility of building a loggia “cum colonis marmoreis”: see Franceschini, Artisti a Ferrara, vol. 1, docs. 1132 and 1134a, 718–720 (11 January – 18 February 1468). “Diario ferrarese”, 88 (April–May 1473). On the bell tower of the Duomo, see Francesco Ceccarelli, “La fabbrica del campanile della cattedrale. Maestri e committenti a Ferrara nell’età di Borso d’Este”, in Leon Battista Alberti, eds. Calzona, Connors and Fiore, vol. 1, 305–347.

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at a high price to spice and silk merchants (Fig. 8.3R).64 Finally, the Palazzo della Ragione was given a new façade, which faithfully emulated that of the court palace (Fig.  8.3S). This enabled the duke, as noted by an informed observer such as Pier Candido Decembrio, to harmonize the sides of the piazza and achieve an overall effect of exceptional breadth and dignity.65 Thus, twenty years before Vigevano, the piazza of Ferrara came to be completely surrounded by porticoes with a prevailing commercial purpose, standing out as one of the first attempts at organically renewing the entire order of a large Italian piazza on the basis of Renaissance canons (if not more precisely Albertian principles, from the eighth book of the De re aedificatoria).66 When the new duchess, Eleanor of Aragon, made her triumphal entrance to Ferrara on 3 July 1473, she found a palace, and around it a city, which could vie in magnificence with any other in Italy.

Subsequent Operations (1477–1505)

The extraordinary renovation campaign instigated by Ercole i on the morrow of his accession to power was essentially finished by 1474, barely three years after it had begun. It is not possible here to give a detailed account of the projects initiated by the duke in subsequent years: at times they were in line with the trends vigorously adopted in the first months of his reign, but in some cases he retraced his steps and did not hesitate to take up very different, if not diametrically opposed, strategies to those previously adopted. He sometimes went as far as to knock down what he himself had laboriously built only a few years earlier, with a surge of creative activity which culminated in the so-called ‘Addizione Erculea’ project. Very briefly, and in broad terms, in February 1477 a new project was launched which was intended to modify radically the palatial structure described above – a project which would change the course of the city’s history: namely the transferal of the duchess’s apartments from the court palace to the Castelvecchio, together with her retinue, the hereditary princes, and their

64 Hondedio di Vitale, Cronaca, cc. 19v–20r. 65 Decembrio, De laude et commendatione vitae, cc. n.n. 66 On Italian piazzas of the Renaissance, see Wolfgang Lotz, “Italienisce Plätze des 16. Jahrhunderts”, Jahrbuch der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften 5 (1968), 41–60; and more recently Fabbriche, piazze, mercati. La città italiana nel Rinascimento, ed. Donatella Calabi (Rome: Officina, 1997).

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respective courtiers.67 Vast works were set in motion in order to turn what had been up until then an inhospitable fortress into a place fit to be lived in: the elevated passage which led from the court to the castle was given a new roof; rooms, oratories, kitchens and wardrobes took the place of armouries and gatehouses; all the openings in the curtain walls were sealed off to prevent the children from falling through by accident (Alfonso was just two years old at the time); the eastern wing between the Marchesana and the Leoni towers was elevated by one floor for Eleanor’s apartments; above these an enormous hanging garden was designed, undoubtedly one of the largest built up until then (Fig.  8.8A). At the same time, beyond the moat, in the Borgo di San Guglielmo, works began on another garden intended as a delightful retreat for the duchess, adorned with a stunning pavilion crowned with fountains and loggias, springs and pergolas, not to mention flowerbeds, bushes of fragrant herbs, and fruit trees of all sorts, set up with such expertise as to seem the work of a painter (“alevati con egregia arte e similitudine che con penello da optimo picture se se potesse pore”): a small earthly paradise, luogo celeste, as the humanist Sabadino degli Arienti described it, comparing it to the “beautiful garden of Gioacchino di Babilonia” (Fig. 8.8B).68 As a result of these steps, the focal point of the whole court gradually shifted northwards, and this tendency was further accentuated over the following generations. In August 1479 – while encamped at Poggio Imperiale with the Florentine army, of which he was the lieutenant-general, having been appointed a year earlier – an idea was born in the duke’s mind for a new and ambitious project: the dismantling of most of the court palace (and notably the entire section which had just been completed looking towards Castelvecchio) in order to reconstruct it completely, this time according to a unified plan.69 Thus, after having commissioned a complete survey of the existing buildings, Ercole, with his habitual energy, began demolishing the courtyard built only five years earlier, as well as the commercial street leading to San Domenico, in order to make way for a new courtyard, larger and more regularly shaped than the previous one, and a garden which in our sources is described as “secret” – in other words, strictly reserved for the duke’s private use. 67

On the transformation of the Castelvecchio into a court residence, see Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 95–104; and Marco Folin, “Studioli, vie coperte, gallerie: genealogia di uno spazio del potere”, in Il regno e l’arte. I camerini di Alfonso i d’Este, terzo duca di Ferrara, ed. Charles Hope (Florence: Olsckhi, 2012), 235–258. 68 Gundersheimer, Art and Life, 51–52. On the garden, see also Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 104–117; and Rosenberg, The Este Monuments, 117–119. 69 See Caleffini, Croniche, 309 (6 August 1479); more generally on Ercole’s project, see Rosenberg, The Este Monuments, 119–122; and Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 71–87.

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In the courtyard (Fig.  8.8C), given more prestige by a loggia built on two orders under which a lioness was chained, the court chapel and honorific staircase were rebuilt, grander and more magnificent than before, with an all’antica vault described by an admiring observer as “worthy of being descended by all the princes and sovereigns of the world” (“degna essere scesa da tutti li principi e sovrani del mondo”) (Figs. 8.5D–E, 8.9). On the other sides of the courtyard were the Fattoria and the ducal councils (later joined by the chancellery and the treasury, the Spenderia).70 After the works were completed, the duke used this space of high political and religious standing for several years afterwards to put on comedies by Plautus and Terence, or other theatrical shows for the townspeople, in the manner of a Roman emperor.71 The garden, on the other hand, was closed to courtiers, and only occasional information exists on the festivities and receptions held there. Two rather large loggias overlooked the garden (one of which had twenty-eight columns), from where it was possible to admire the trees and hedges pruned “artificially and in different ways”, as well as a “beautiful fountain” from which, in summertime, water splashed out refreshing the air and surrounding greenery around (Fig.  8.8F).72 To separate the garden from the courtyard, a new wing was built in the palace reserved for guests. The mullioned windows that can still be seen on the northern side of the present-day Piazza Municipale probably date back to that period (Fig. 8.8G).73 Finally, between 1479 and 1484, the whole area to the north of the court chapel was completely restructured: the apartment constructed a few years earlier was renovated with such splendour as had never been seen before (the five rooms looking towards the Castelvecchio were called “golden rooms”, camere dorate, and we know that around 320 square metres of walls and ceilings were gilded). Thereafter a new building was constructed to accommodate an additional architectural complex reserved for the duke’s personal use (Fig. 8.8H).74 70 71

For the passages quoted in the text, see Gundersheimer, Art and Life, 51–52. On the vogue for theatre under Ercole i, see Elena Povoledo, “La sala teatrale a Ferrara: da Pellegrino Prisciani a Ludovico Ariosto”, Bollettino del Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio 16 (1974), 105–138; and Francesco Ruffini, “Linee rette e intrichi: il Vitruvio di Cesariano e la Ferrara teatrale di Ercole i”, in La corte e lo spazio: Ferrara estense, eds. Giuseppe Papagno and Amedeo Quondam (Rome: Bulzoni, 1982), vol. 2, 365–430. 72 Gundersheimer, Art and Life, 52 (“arborselli de bussi intorno, alevati artificiosamente in diverse maniere, che non fia poca leticia agl’occhii con la vaghecia del bel fonte scatu­ rien­te in alto aqua chiara”). 73 Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 75. 74 Caleffini, Croniche, 634 (17 August 1484).

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The spatial structure of this second series of rooms is not easy to retrace: it certainly contained an oratory, a studiolo, a bathroom (“perché speso [il duca] se bagnava”), and other rooms and reception areas, including a goldsmith’s workshop (orevexaria) and a music room (with an organ). On one side the whole complex overlooked the secret garden through a loggia, while the other was directly connected, through the “via coperta”, to the duchess’s quarters in the castle.75 As is well known, in the last years of the century Ercole directed his energy to other projects, but a further two works should be mentioned: the great marble loggia built by Biagio Rossetti from 1491 to 1493, which brought new prestige to the northern wing of the palace, located to the right of the Volto del Cavallo (Fig. 8.8I), and the “room of the comedies” (sala delle comedie), begun in 1503 (Fig. 8.8L).76 The loggia, hailed by Sabadino degli Arienti for having “almost raised to the skies the old palace”, contained, according to the latter, such an outstanding array of shops and boutiques that it was always full of noble citizens busy with their trading affairs.77 In this way, once more, the twofold function of the Este palace was restated: the first floor was reserved for the court, while the ground floor was always open to commerce. From this point of view, Ercole’s palace became an ostentatious exception on the Italian scene, where any patron with status, even not princely but merely noble, endorsed the principles Lorenzo de’ Medici would shortly thereafter enunciate in prescriptive form to Filippo Strozzi: it is inappropriate for aristocratic abodes to have shops on their ground floor, for they create an improper mix unfit for the decorum of the town.78 As for the sala delle commedie, it had been designed as a proper theatre hall, in stone, of remarkable proportions (it measured around 25 × 49 m, and its 75

See Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 79–84 and, on the various bathrooms built by Ercole i in the court palace, 84–87. 76 On the loggia and related fontegi, see ibid., 87–89. A first loggia had already been built in 1489, on the side of the palace overlooking the Castelvecchio, where the Officio della Gabella Grande was located: see Caleffini, Croniche, 740 (28 November 1489). 77 Gundersheimer, Art and Life, 51. See also Caleffini, Croniche, 813 (18 August 1491). 78 See Francis W. Kent, “Più superba de quella de Lorenzo: Courtly and Family Interest in the Building of Filippo Strozzi’s Palace”, Renaissance Quarterly 30 (1977), 316–317; on the main architectural directions taken in Florence for noble and princely palaces, see Dale Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florentine Renaissance (London: Yale UniversityPress, 2000), 283–307; an now also Nati sotto Mercurio. Le architetture del mercante nel Rinascimento fiorentino, eds. Donata Battilotti, Gianluca Belli and Amedeo Belluzzi (Florence: Polistampa, 2011), 55–61 and 106–118.

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external walls must have been 17 m high), intended particularly and exclusively for staging plays for the duke and his courtiers.79 The year, as mentioned, was 1503: twenty years before Alvise Cornaro built his own teatro and another sixty years before the Vasarian experiments in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Florence. The duke’s death left the works half finished, and two and a half centuries later, in the view drawn by Bolzoni, at the back of the Este palace it is still possible to note a great empty space where the first modern theatre would have stood (Fig. 8.10). A ‘forum’ almost entirely surrounded by porticoes and shops, as was the palace, open to the townspeople though also closely connected to an impregnable fortress built over the city walls signifying the two faces of power; the notion of the courtyard as the “heart of the house”, around which all the elements of the building gravitate “as around a public piazza”; the clear-cut separation of the apartments of the prince and princess, divided into two distinct structural masses but connected by an elevated passageway (galleria, as it would later be called under Alfonso d’Este, looking to France); the ever more marked distinction between the reception areas and those reserved for the private, secret, life of the prince, which also contained vast gardens conceived as loci amoeni: all these elements – not to mention others – are features easily referenced in the works of Alberti.80 Moreover, it is well known and well documented that Ercole greatly appreciated Alberti, knew of his works, and would often discuss them with his advisers, initially with Pellegrino Prisciani, who not by chance dedicated to Ercole a very early rendering in the vernacular of a large part of the De re aedificatoria, which has been compared to its Vitruvian model.81 On the other hand, however, just as many elements can be mentioned which clearly contrast with Albertian precepts, from the commercial appearance of the whole courtly complex to the irregular aspect that characterized 79 80

81

See Tuohy, Herculean Ferrara, 117–120. More generally, on theatre in Ferrara in the time of Ercole d’Este, see the bibliography quoted supra, n. 71. See in particular, Alberti, L’architettura, 713–717 on the forums; 347 on the relations between the fortress and the palace; 417–419 on the courtyard as a sinum of the house, also consecrated by the presence of a chapel; 343–345 and 427 on the separation of the marital apartments; 339–341, 345 and 415 on the usages that can be made of the different spaces of the palace (“aedium partes aliae universorum aliae plurimorum aliae singulorum sint”); 433 on the possible stratification of a building according to different functions; and 433 and 807–809 on the “orti plantarumque delitiae” connected to residences. See Pellegrino Prisciani, Spectacula, ed. Danilo Aguzzi Barbagli (Modena: Panini, 1992); on Pellegrino Prisciani’s role as an ‘interpreter’ of the works of Alberti in Ferrara, see Marco Folin, “Leon Battista Alberti e Pellegrino Prisciani”, in Leon Battista Alberti, eds. Francesco Furlan and Gianni Venturi (Paris: silba, 2010), vol. 1, 295–316.

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the buildings from every standpoint, and from the almost provocative eclecticism with which different styles mixed together (all’antica loggias and Gothic mullioned windows, busts of Roman emperors and merlon-topped towers) to the very design method, characterized by brazen empiricism, open, if not inclined, to any kind of afterthought during the works.82 In other words, this quick overview seems to reveal Ercole i d’Este’s strongly selective approach with regard to his livre de chevet: some of Alberti’s suggestions were welcomed while others were discarded without hesitation. In some cases, the duke was clearly inspired by experiments attempted elsewhere in slightly earlier years; in other cases, he would ignore contemporary practices without hesitation, anticipating solutions which would become customary only in the following century. One factor stands out in particular: in Ferrara, the ‘Renaissance’ canons of aesthetics, with all their authority, were not accepted or rejected in toto according to black-and-white logic, which does not exist in real life. Rather, on the contrary, the canons were revised with extraordinary fluidity, adapted case by case to the language of local tradition, ‘used’ according to necessity with a far greater degree of expressive unscrupulousness than Ercole is usually given credit for in the open competition for magnificence against the other Italian courts, the outcome of which was anything but certain. It was only the subsequent destruction of almost the entire architectural heritage of Ferrara that led historiography to ignore the Este projects for so long, though today they benefit from a posthumous advantage, being among the best-documented of the Renaissance and given the remarkable quantity of source documents attesting to their importance, which, in fact, are still waiting to be studied in full. 82

For one example among many against the use of merlons, see Alberti, L’architettura, 809; but see also ibid., 341 on the appropriateness (clearly unknown to Ercole i) of relocating the service entrance to the back of the palace.

The Renewal of Ferrara’s Court Palace

Figure 8.1 Ferrara, aerial view of the central spaces of the town. On the right the cathedral and the market square, on the left the court palace linked to the Castelvecchio through the ‘Via Coperta’.

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Figure 8.2 The court of Nicolò iii, Leonello and Borso d’Este. A Corte Vecchia; B Rigobello Tower; C Guesthouse; D Castelvecchio; E Eastern wing (Sala grande); F Kitchens and Borso’s stables; G Butcher; H Meat and fish markets; I Borso’s mule stables; L The connecting road from the Piazza del Duomo to the Piazza di San Domenico.

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Figure 8.3 The court of Ercole i d’Este after the works of 1471–1474. A Via Coperta; B Shops; C Monuments to Borso and Nicolò iii; D ‘Poggioli’; E Sala grande; F Sala dei Paladini; G New ducal apartment; H Cortile degli Offici; I Court chapel; L Loggia degli Strazzaroli; M Fishmonger; N Butcher; O Offici della Gabella, delle Biave e delle Munizioni; P Via di Botteghe; Q Loggia dei Calegari; R Monastery of San Romano; S Palazzo della Ragione; T The bell tower of the Duomo.

Figure 8.4 Ferrara, the ‘Via Coperta’ between the court palace and the Castelvecchio.

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Figure 8.5 Ferrara, the two monuments to Nicolò iii and Borso at the entrance of the court palace.

The Renewal of Ferrara’s Court Palace

Figure 8.6 Il dissegno di Ferrara vecchia del 1490. Modena, Biblioteca Estense, ms it 429 [alpha H.5.3], c. 18.

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Figure 8.7 Gregorio di Lorenzo, Busts of Antoninus Pius, Marcus Agrippa, Hadrian and Sulpicius Galba (originally on the façade of the court palace of Ercole i d’Este, now scattered between Ferrara [Casa Romei], Rovigo [Seminario Vescovile] and Paris [Louvre]).

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Figure 8.8 The court of Ercole i d’Este in 1477–1505. A Eleanor’s hanging courtyard; B Cortile del Padiglione; C New courtyard; D Court chapel; E Staircase; F Ercole’s secret garden; G Guesthouse; H Golden rooms, duke’s new apartments; I Loggia under the Sala Grande; L Site of the Sala delle Commedie.

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Figure 8.9 Ferrara, the staircase in the courtyard of the court palace, 1481.

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The Renewal of Ferrara’s Court Palace

Figure 8.10

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The court palace and the Castelvecchio around the middle of the 18th century. Andrea Bolzoni, Plan and view of the city of Ferrara, 1747 (detail).

chapter 9

Architecture of Power: Imola during the Signoria of Girolamo Riario (1473–1488) Stefano Zaggia In September 1473 the duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, and Cardinal Pietro Riario, nephew of Pope Sixtus iv, signed a marriage contract between the duke’s natural daughter Caterina and the cardinal’s brother Girolamo Riario. The duke of Milan thus agreed to hand over to the pope’s nephew the governance of the city of Imola in Emilia-Romagna (under Milanese protectorate since the 1420s), in exchange for the sum of 40,000 ducats.1 It was the first step towards the creation of a dynastic princedom in the hands of the Riario family. The pact arranged by the young cardinal, Pietro, paved the way for the career of his brother, who a few years later was to become one of the protagonists of the Italian political scene, as recounted by Ian Robertson: “the premature death of Pietro in January 1474 left Girolamo in his stead as the dominant figure at the Papal court”.2 “He who has count Girolamo on his side has the pope on his side”: this is how a Venetian ambassador around 1478 described the powerful position Girolamo Riario came to have.3 He was not the only one to use such words. Giovan Pietro Arrivabene’s comparison made in 1477 was more expressive still: “Count Girolamo has so much authority that he can dispose at leisure of the will of the Pope, just as I can use this pen”.4 The key role Sixtus iv’s nephew played in the affairs of the pontifical state, at a time when the temporal authority of the pope had become critical in all political events, was known throughout Italy. Count Girolamo, for better or worse, was one of the most powerful men on the political and military scene in Europe for almost a decade, from 1474 until the death of Pope Sixtus iv in 1484. 1 Ian Robertson, “The Signoria of Girolamo Riario in Imola”, Historical Studies 15 (1971): 88–117 (91–92). 2 Ibid., p. 91. 3 “Qui habent comitem Hieronymum habent pontificem”: Acta in Consilio secreto in Castello portae Jovis Mediolani, ed. Alfio Rosario Natale (Milan: Giuffrè, 1963–1969), vol. 3, 99. 4 “L’è tanta la autorictate del conte [Girolamo Riario], che tanto può rivoltare a suo modo tuta la voluntate del papa, quanto io condurre questo calamo per questa carta”: letter quoted in David S. Chambers, “Giovanni Pietro Arrivabene (1439–1504): Humanistic Secretary and Bishop”, Aevum 58 (1984): 397–438 (409).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_010

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When Girolamo Riario received the apostolic vicariate, the city of Imola underwent rapid transformation in just a few years, which deeply altered its image and the urban structure inherited from the past. The fortification and construction works carried out by the prince were constantly at the forefront, but private citizens promoted to high-salaried posts by their prince also built new palaces.5 Starting with the cathedral, churches and the main convents were also renovated. As part of this radical transformation and exaltation of the city’s magnificence, a new piazza was to be built; though only partially completed, it was supposed to play a central role in transforming the prince’s residence into a palace. It should be noted that an analysis of this case is particularly difficult, given the extreme scarcity of documents and the substantial transformations undergone by the buildings.

The Medieval Piazza and the Public Buildings

The backbone of the urban system in Imola had always consisted of the main road system established at the time of the foundation of the castrum, known as Forum Cornelii. During the Middle Ages the presence of official buildings and areas intended for commerce is attested in the area of what was almost certainly the site of the ancient forum.6 At first, the space inside the church of San Lorenzo was used as a meeting place for civic assemblies – it had always served this purpose, being separated, since the second half of the 12th century, from the episcopal jurisdiction.7 The open space on the east side of the church, described in medieval documents as the campus or platea of San Lorenzo, gradually acquired a central role in the community and was often used for municipal purposes.8 It was a space of assembly which appeared disorganized and irregular (and so it remained for centuries): the church of San Lorenzo, 5 Fausto Mancini, Urbanistica rinascimentale a Imola. Da Girolamo Riario a Leonardo da Vinci (Imola: Cassa di Risparmio di Imola, 1979), vol. i, 61–63; vol. ii, 190–191; Stefano Zaggia, Una piazza per la città del Principe. Strategie urbane e architettura a Imola durante la Signoria di Girolamo Riario (Rome: Officina edizioni, 1999), 60–70; Richard Schofield, “Girolamo Riario a Imola. Ipotesi di Ricerca”, in Francesco di Giorgio alla corte di Federico da Montefeltro, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore (Florence: Olschki, 2004), 595–642 (629–635). 6 Jacopo Ortalli, “L’impronta romana sul territorio”, in La storia di Imola, dai primi insedia­ menti all’ancient régime, ed. Massimo Montanari (Imola: La Mandragora, 2001), 71–88. 7 Andrea Padovani, “La pieve di S. Lorenzo e le origini dell’identità comunale”, in Imola, il comune, le piazze, eds. Massimo Montanari and Tiziana Lazzari (Imola: La Mandragora, 2003), 27–43. 8 Ibid., 59–62.

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the adjacent buildings intended for the church canons, and the cemetery (the documents mention a cloister, an atrium, a porticus, and a tribuna) were extended and encroached on the area, thereby closing up the southern side of the piazza. At the same time, the presence of what were known as casamenta (apartment buildings) were attested along the Via Emilia. Non-aligned houses stood on the eastern side, while only the northern side, traced out by the Via Emilia, was straight and partially covered by porticoes.9 In many documents, this vaulted building was called the Portico degli Speziali, because it harboured many herb and spice shops. Finally, on the same side but to the west, still looking onto Via Emilia but beyond the juridical limit of the piazza as established by the statutes, stood the old hospital of Santa Maria della Scaletta (Fig. 9.1).10 The final acquisition of the Campo di San Lorenzo by public jurisdiction occurred in the first decades of the 13th century, when the construction of the communal palace began. The municipality gradually came to own property and land bought from private citizens and church canons situated alongside the church, near the intersection of the two main routes (Via Emilia and Via Appia-Mazzini). Thus, the portico domus communis is mentioned in a notarial deed as early as 1214 – a sign of the existence of a public structure identified in particular through its external architectural features. Subsequently, the whole architectural complex was completed with the construction of a new building, situated beyond the Via Emilia (the Palazzo Nuovo) and connected by an overground passageway across an arch.11 From the last decades of the 14th century the municipal palace underwent profound transformation, adapting to the changed political situation. With the establishment of a princely regime, first under the Alidosi and then under the Manfredi, the architectural complex was extended to accommodate also the prince’s residence. It is described in our sources with the title Palatium illustrissimi Domini.12 To free up the spaces of the old building, a vault was built facing west in order to link together a series of spaces situated on the other side of the road. Although the offices were moved, spaces were rearranged, and new constructions were built, the internal organization of the palace retained a mix of different functions, with some documents from the second half of the 15th 9 10 11 12

Tiziana Lazzari, Massimo Montanari, “La città dei portici”, in Imola, il comune, le piazze, eds. Montanari and Lazzari, 161–177 (165–166). Ibid., 166–169. Tiziana Lazzari, “Il palazzo comunale nel Medioevo”, in Imola, il comune, le piazze, eds. Montanari and Lazzari, 45–77. Ibid., 75–77.

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century reporting the presence of richly decorated rooms, such as the “room of the emperors” (camera de li imperaduri). It was thus a palace which, according to a contemporary chronicler, had “an infinite number of rooms and halls”.13 This was the configuration of the central square and the public buildings of Imola when Girolamo Riario took possession of the town.

Politics and the City during the Period of Riario Rule

Girolamo Riario’s urban renovation programme was launched only when the pope’s nephew had acquired control over the city. The reorganization of Imola was the consequence of a change in the political and diplomatic role of Girolamo Riario, which occurred once he had finally disengaged himself from the control of Milan.14 His first years of rule over the city were mainly devoted to configuring the fortification system, continuing the works begun in previous years, which had been commissioned by the duke of Milan, and in particular bringing the military stronghold up to date.15 In political terms, Riario retained the existing system of local power, favouring the town oligarchy with offices remunerated under the Papal State. Only the city governors were chosen from outside the town’s elite.16 The turning point came in August 1480, when the pope also conferred on his nephew the apostolic vicariate of Forlì.17 This gave greater political weight to the princedom and to Girolamo Riario himself.18 A few matters still remained unresolved: on the one hand, from a territorial point of view, the new institutional axis was based on two non-contiguous centres, and therefore they could not properly be considered one state. On the other hand, the health of Sixtus iv was increasingly fragile, and all the count’s power as well as his income strictly depended on him. Riario was undoubtedly well aware of this situation: the possibility of holding onto an important political role in the future would be inextricably linked to the Emilia-Romagna territories. “He hangs onto them as to dear life”, 13

14 15

16 17 18

“Le camare et sale […] al vero sono numero infinito” (ibid.); in addition, cf: Alessandra Delogu, Sauro Gelichi, Claudio Negrelli, “Prima e dopo il palazzo. Fasi insediative e strutture edilizie”, in Imola, il comune, le piazze, eds. Montanari and Lazzari 79–111. Robertson, “The Signoria”, 95–97. Francesco Ceccarelli, “La rocca negli anni della signoria di Girolamo Riario”, in La rocca. 2 Architettura e storia dell’edificio, ed. Claudia Pedrini (Imola: Cassa di Risparmio di Imola, 2001), 66–103. Robertson, “The Signoria”, 104–108. Vatican, Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Arm. xxxv, 37, cc. 177v–184r (10 September 1480). Robertson, “The Signoria”, 98.

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reported a diplomat to the duke of Milan.19 He was well aware that, having accumulated such important offices and great power with such speed (governor of Rome, captain-general of the pontifical army, in addition to many honorific offices conferred to him by other Italian states), he would not be able to maintain his privileges without also possessing or controlling a state of his own and managing its financial resources.20 It was perhaps at this point that he became convinced of the need for lavish spending within the limits of his princedom, using up resources in order to establish the basis for a real princely court (Fig. 9.2). Thus, from being a foreign prince with interests elsewhere and whose role in the organization of the pontifical state required his presence in Rome, Girolamo Riario started to become a local prince. His role was no longer that of an abstract protector and guardian of the rights of a small community, but rather, he became far more concerned with the actual administration of the princedom.21 The renovatio of the city, in effect, was launched after a thorough transformation of the property ownership structure and the primary financial resources of the town – all increasingly concentrated in the hands of the Riario family. The deeds held in the Imolese notarial registers report, between 1481 and 1484, a successive series of property acquisitions in and around the city made by the prince’s agents.22 Control over the city’s assets was completed with the acquisition of the main mills, while the main church profits were assigned by the pope to Cardinal Raffaele Riario, nephew of Girolamo.23 The emergence of a new princely figure was, at the same time, introduced from a literary point of view. In this regard, Girolamo inherited in part from his brother Pietro, who died prematurely and who, in his two years as a cardinal, had set up a comprehensive self-promoting strategy creating a princely court and protecting intellectuals and poets.24 A trace of the attempt to legitimize Girolamo’s princely status can be identified in an unpublished treatise of political theory dated 1484. The work is by the Bolognese humanist Gabriele 19

“Fa conto conservarli quanto la vita”: letter from Sacramoro to the Duke of Milan (19 July 1481) quoted in: Lorenzo de’ Medici, Lettere, ed. Michael Mallet, vol. v (1480–1481), (Florence: Giunti Barbera, 1990), 274. 20 Zaggia, Una piazza per la città, 82–84. 21 Robertson, “The Signoria”, 108–110: “the foreigness of the regime was undoubtedly mitigated to some degree by the acquisition of ties with Imolese society on the part of its more long-serving foreign officials”. 22 A list of the deeds can be found in: ibid., 109–112. 23 Ibid., 96; Andrea Padovani, “Santa Maria in Regola nel medioevo”, in L’abbazia benedet­ tina di Santa Maria in Regola. Quindici secoli di storia imolese, eds. Andrea Ferri et al. (Imola: La Mandragora, 2010), tome i, 35–193, 185. 24 Paola Farenga, “Libri intorno a Girolamo Riario”, in Editori ed edizioni a Roma nel Rinascimento, ed. Ead. (Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2005), 45–63.

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Poeti and dedicated to the prince of Imola; it was written according to the prescriptions of the specula principum: that is to say, in the form of a debate on the question of the best form of government for a state.25 Although the work does not provide any indications on Girolamo Riario’s character, it nevertheless provides a clearer picture of the political context in which the prince of Imola and Forlì operated. The author clearly states the aim of his work, which was to identify the best form of government: the rule of one single monarch or a republican system.26 In the book, a council of “most distinguished men, from various honourable cities” (“huomini singular, da più dignissme cità”) is held in the presence of an “emperor”, and two opposing arguments are discussed on a specific question suggested by the latter. The meeting was held on account of “extremely urgent reasons” (“urgentissime rasoni”), namely the “bad state and conditions” (“malo stato e condizione”) of the Christian republic threatened by the Turks, who took advantage of the disputes between the Italian princedoms to expand their empire rapidly by invading the Italian territories. The book thus finds its raison d’être in the desire to contribute to the search for a solution to the continuous conflicts and the “unfair and pestiferous discords” (“inique et pestifere discordie”) which, for many years, wore out the Christian princedoms.27 The winning conclusions, in any case, are those which precisely fit the prince of Imola and Forlì: autocracy was the most legitimate and useful form of power, on the basis of the traditional principles of monarchical ideology reinvested with motifs derived from classical references. Girolamo Riario, to whom the book was dedicated, is obviously considered in this context as the perfect incarnation of the prince of a solid and prosperous state. This identification was made again in an elegy dedicated to him, also in the 1480s, by the humanist Roberto Orsi, who, having extolled the new constructions of Imola, concluded: “your virtue is that of true Prince” (“Principis est veri virtus tua”).28 25

Gabriele Poeti (De’ Poetis), Ad […] Hieronimum Vicecomitem de Riario Imolae ac Forlivii dominum et Sanctae Romanae Ecclesia Armorum generalem in figurationem ipsius inclyti comitis, Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, Ms. 1484, xiii A A 18, cc. 1–74; Fulvio Pezzarossa, “Y modi de governo in una libera citade. Il trattato politico di Gabriele Poeti tra Bentivoglio e Riario”, in La cultura umanistica a Forlì fra Biondo e Melozzo, eds. Luisa Avellini and Lara Michelacci (Bologna: Il Nove, 1997), 189-222. 26 Poeti, Ad [...] Hieronimum Viceomitem, c. 6r (“quale governo o quale dominio sia migliore e da preponere, sì per lo bene de’ populi e sì per conservatione et ampliamento di qualuncha regno overo stato: o quello di un principe solo, come lo imperio romano fu nei soi principi governato, o veramente quello de una repubblica o dominio populare, come dicto imperio expulso Tarquinio superbo fu poi retto e dominato”). 27 Ibid., c. 4r. 28 The elegy is kept in Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Ott. Lat. 2868, Robertus Ursi, Elegiarium Liber secundus, cc. 86v–88r; On Roberto Orsi (ca 1419–1496), a poet and ­politician

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Thus, when Girolamo decided to launch his urban renovation programme, his princely wishes naturally focused on the most important space of city life: the main square, where regularization works were to be carried out, decorating the piazza with new structures set up in a dialectical contrast to the communal buildings inherited from the past.

1481: The Triumphal Entrance as a Marker of the Turning Point

The first official stay of Girolamo Riario and his court in his state dates back to the summer of 1481.29 The visit was part of an important diplomatic journey which took the count first to the court of Urbino and then, after a long stay in his own territories, to Venice. On this occasion special celebrations were organized in both cities of the princedom: the staging of a triumphal entrance. This kind of ephemeral exercise, as has already been noted, had specific symbolic significance.30 Such triumphal entrances, celebrations, and related ceremonies acquired a programmatic value, anticipating future arrangements and the transformation of the urban space.31 For this occasion a coin was minted, to be distributed during the solemn entrance. The motto chosen was highly meaningful: one side showed the profile of Philip of Macedon, and the other bore the coat of arms of the Riario family held up by angels with the words Innata Liberalitas.32 The particular virtue of

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from Rimini, student in 1437 of Guarino Veronese and linked through friendship to Roberto Valturio, see also the biographical note in: Roberto Ursi, De obsidione Tiphernatum liber a. mcccclxxiv, ed. Giovanni Magherini Graziani, in Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, xxvii, part ii (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1922), in particular, see xxvi–xxxii; the elegy is transcribed in Zaggia, Una piazza per la città, 132–133. The crucial significance associated with the visit to the property is highlighted by the many documents which attest how far in advance preparations were made for the trip: as early as February, a diplomat wrote to the Duke of Milan: “si fa paramento a Forlì per la venuta del conte Hieronimo; et alcuni extimano etiam del papa”, quoted in Lorenzo de’ Medici, Lettere, 154. André Chastel, La grande officina. Arte italiana 1460–1500 (Milan: Rizzoli 19661, 1979), 14; Anna Maria Testaverde Matteini, “La decorazione festiva e l’itinerario di ‘rifondazione’ della città negli ingressi trionfali a Firenze tra xv e xvi secolo”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 32 3 (1988): 323–352. Maria Teresa Bonaccorso, “‘Sacra Romanitas’: dalle pompe per gli ingressi trionfali ai luoghi della festa come prototipo di città ideale”, in Scritti in onore di Alessandro Marabottini, eds. Gioacchino Barbera et al. (Rome: De Luca, 1997), 165–171. Guid’Antonio Zanetti, Delle monete forlivesi dissertazione (Bologna: Lelio Volpe impressore, 1778), 11–12; Antonio Burriel, Vita di Caterina Sforza Riario contessa d’Imola e signora di Forlì (Bologna: Stamperia T. D’Aquino, 1795), vol. iii, 622; Ernest Breisach, Caterina Sforza: a Renaissance virago (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1967), 53;

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liberalitas characteristic of the prince had precise connotations: the concept was taken from the ancients. As Martin Warnke has noted, the appeal to the virtue of liberalitas showed the prince as someone who was not accumulating power and riches for himself, like a tyrant: “a bad prince is one who does not make a display of his liberality through public architectural works”.33 The concept comes from Aristotle, in particular from the Nichomachean Ethics. It is significant that Filarete in his treatise was one of the first to reconstruct the original tie between architectural activity and the virtue of liberality, reinterpreting it as the prince’s commitment to make his own assets available to his subjects through architectural works.34 These concepts were taken up again by Francesco Patrizi in his De institu­ tione reipublicae, from 1471, which was dedicated to Sixtus iv and must surely have been known in the count’s entourage.35 The text was based on a compilation of ancient sources; in particular, books vii and viii addressed questions associated with the city and its buildings, and, most importantly, it contained indications about the prince’s role in architectural endeavours.36 Within the context described so far, namely the constitution of a new state, Imola must have been chosen as a stage for the display of seigneurial magnificence. It is no coincidence that work began in those same years on a large-scale building, later called the Albergo el Cappello.37 Even if we only have a few pieces of evidence about its functions, it has been suggested that, as the so-called Case nuove of Pienza, this building was intended to accommodate visitors of high rank.38 Fausto Mancini, “Delle monete dei Signori di Imola e Forlì”, Atti dell’associazione per Imola storico artistica 9 (1977): 93–111; Zaggia, Una piazza per la città, 51–53; Schofield, “Girolamo Riario a Imola”, 600–608. 33 Martin Warnke, “Liberalitas Principis”, in Arte, committenza ed economia a Roma e nelle corti del Rinascimento 1420–1530, eds. Arnold Esch and Christoph Luitpold Frommel (Turin: Einaudi, 1995), 83–92 (84). 34 Luisa Giordano, “Edificare per magnificenza. Testimonianze letterarie sulla teoria e la pratica della committenza di corte”, in Il principe architetto, eds. Arturo Calzona et al. (Florence: Olschki, 2002), 215–227; Andreas Tönnesmann, “Il dialogo di Filarete: l’architetto, il principe e il potere”, Arte lombarda n.s. 155 1 (2009): 7–11 (Architettura e umanesimo. Nuovi studi su Filarete, ed. Berthold Hub). 35 Zaggia, Una piazza per la città, 53; Schofield, “Girolamo Riario a Imola”, 601–607. 36 Maria Giulia Aurigemma, “Note sulla diffusione del vocabolario architettonico: Francesco Patrizi”, in Le due Rome del Quattrocento: Melozzo, Antoniazzo e la cultura artistica del ’400 romano, eds. Sergio Rossi and Stefano Valeri (Rome: Lithos Editrice, 1997), 364–379; Schofield, Girolamo Riario a Imola, 600–606. 37 For more references, see Zaggia, Una piazza per la città, 88–89. 38 Ibid.; Francesco Ceccarelli, “La riforma rinascimentale del centro urbano”, in Imola, il comune, le piazze, eds. Montanari and Lazzari, 179–217 (211–214); Maria Felicia Nicoletti,

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The count’s journey was the occasion to set in motion the building programme. The first step was to elect someone to oversee the works: on 2 September 1481, the role of acting in toto in the name of the prince for contracts concerning buying, selling, or renting was assigned by Riario to Giovan Francesco de’ Pallantieri (“factor et negotiorum gestor”).39 Born in Castel Bolognese, Pallantieri was described as a “vir gravis et optimus” by the humanist Giovanni Antonio Flaminio in two letters, undated, addressed to Raffaelle Riario.40 The following month, the role of supervisor over the import of straw, wood, and so on was assigned to Pietro Grattusa, on whom was also conferred the honour of overseeing transportation operations for sites under construction or those yet to be set up.41 The seigneurial “building boom” was immediately noted: in September 1481 the ambassador of the duke of Milan wrote that “count Girolamo has left a hundred men to work on his palace at Imola and most of them are good master builders and carpenters so that the works should have progressed well by the time he returns from Venice”.42

Places and Palaces

The transformation process began with a radical gesture with regard to deeprooted traditions and the historical identity of the city: namely the demolition of the church of San Lorenzo.43 The demolition was clearly intended to alter the western side of the square by aligning its front while creating more space for the piazza, which thus more or less doubled its previous dimensions. This enlargement and regularization project was carried out at the same time as the construction, along the opposite side – in front of the communal palace – of a Il Palazzo El Capello di Girolamo Riario ad Imola: genesi e trasformazione di un edificio del ʼ400 (degree thesis, iuav, a.y. 2004/05, supervisor Howard Burns). 39 Imola, Archivio di Stato, Archivio notarile, notary T. Mongardi, b. 1, c. 110v. 40 Joannis Antonii Flaminii, Epistolae Familiares, ed. Domenico Giuseppe Capponi (Bologna: Tipografia San Tommaso d’Aquino, 1744), letter ix–x, 19–20. 41 Imola, Biblioteca Comunale, Archivio Sassatelli, mazzo A (21 October 1481); transcribed in Mancini, Urbanistica rinascimentale, vol. ii, 147–148. 42 Milan, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Sforzesco, Potenze estere, Romagna, cart. 192 (7 September 1481). 43 Zaggia, Una piazza per la città, 86–87; a similar ‘cut’ also made to an ancient church site in order to make space for a piazza was repeated a few decades later in Carpi, see Elena Svalduz, Da castello a “città”: Carpi e Alberto Pio (1472–1530) (Rome: Officina Edizioni, 2001), 144–181.

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building with a portico extending the entire length of the piazza (Fig. 9.3).44 We know that the main property acquisitions in the area in which this new palace was to be built were made in two stages: between September and October 1481, and then in January and April of 1483.45 The works must have proceeded swiftly and had almost certainly reached the roofing stage before September of the following year.46 After that, the works were suddenly brought to a halt, owing to the abrupt end of the political career, and thus the financial resources, of Girolamo Riario, which coincided with the death of his uncle Sixtus iv (August 1484) and then with his own death by assassination (1488, in Forlì).47 The palace, though unfinished, was nevertheless appreciated by chroniclers, who described it as a “vast and superb palace” (“palazzo amplissimo et superbissimo”).48 However, the failure to complete its construction – especially the interiors – together with the later, incongruous, uses of its spaces, have very much restricted the interpretation of the building, making it difficult to identify, first and foremost, its original intended use. Some testimonies dating back to the following century have allowed us to identify with greater precision the functions for which the building was intended to cater. As it transpires from some interrogations carried out during a trial held in Imola in 1570 to settle certain questions concerning the inheritance of the Riario, the palace on the piazza would have been built by Girolamo to house the city’s magistracy.49 The people summoned belonged to the most important noble families of the city and, in some cases, were sons or nephews of people who had held important public offices in the Riario princedom. 44

Stefano Zaggia, “Il Palazzo Riario, ossia un palazzo per le magistrature imolesi”, in Imola, il comune, le piazze, eds. Montanari and Lazzari, 219–238. 45 Robertson, “The Signoria”, Zaggia, “Il Palazzo Riario”, 227. 46 Mancini, Urbanistica rinascimentale, vol. ii, 186. 47 Marco Pellegrini, Congiure di Romagna: Lorenzo de’ Medici e il duplice tirannicidio a Forlì e a Faenza nel 1488 (Florence: Olschki, 1999). 48 Jacopo Filippo (Foresti) da Bergamo, Supplementum Supplementi de le chronache (Venice: Rusconi, 1524), 316. 49 Imola, Biblioteca comunale, Archivio storico del comune, Cause e affari pubblici, b. 48, fasc. 1, cc. 18v–19r, deposition given by Giovan Battista quondam Benedetto de’ Broccardi (55 years old), for whom the count: “voleva farli dentro la residenza di tutti li magistrati, et levò via una ghiesa di San Lorenzo ch’era lì et s’è poi ridotta in una ghiesiola”; see also ibid., c. 41v, deposition by Annibale quondam Marco Tartagni (born 1494), who claimed that the palace was built “perché li magistrati dilla terra vi stessero tutti dentro”. For the use of those documents as sources to retrace the situation of 1480, see: Zaggia, Una piazza per la città, 105–107; Ceccarelli, “La riforma rinascimentale”, 193–194.

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The new building, therefore, would have been conceived as a seat for municipal officers and magistrates, rather than a court residence – as proposed by the preceding historiography.50 This information provides a better understanding of the intentions and purpose of the works carried out in the city by Girolamo Riario. If we compare the functions this structure was supposed to serve, it is immediately apparent that the building is rather analogous to complexes such as the contemporary Palazzo del Podestà in Bologna, or the later Procuratie in Venice.51 That is to say, it was a structure with porticoes intended for a variety of uses, with vast spaces for accommodation, shops on the ground floor (with mezzanine floors built for storage), and offices on higher floors.52 The building was thus closely linked to the open space of the piazza, of which it delimited one whole side. Thus, it was precisely the kind of public building that theorists envisaged around the forum, but which in actual fact were already customary in medieval cities. Christoph Frommel, likening the Imolese case to the model represented by the ducal palace of Mantua, speaks of a “synthesis between a municipal palace and the Vitruvian forum” as the inspiration for both.53 In its present configuration, the porticoed building displays innovative formal elements combined and intertwined with traditional motifs: for example, the whole decorative system in terracotta is typical of the Emilian tradition and more generally of the north, from the ledges of the arches to the lintels of the windows, and the reinforcements found on the whole façade. These are serial elements in terracotta, which echo an entire ancient repertoire of moulding ornamentation: the ovolo, laurel and acanthus leaves, cable mouldings, palms, and intertwined ribbons. This sculptural decoration refers back to well-known models of Bolognese construction works whose motifs had never completely broken with the classical tradition; but here it is combined with an innovative architectural structure. Girolamo Riario’s stay in Urbino and his connections with the court must have had a significant influence on these projects, suggesting many possible implications. The participation of artists who had spent time in Urbino, even as mere advisers, in the drafting of 50 Mancini, Urbanistica rinascimentale, vol. i, 93; Zaggia, “Il palazzo Riario”, 227–230. 51 Francesco Benelli, “Il palazzo del Podestà di Bologna nel Quattrocento. Storia e architettura”, in Nuovi antichi. Committenti, cantieri, architetti 1400–1600, ed. Richard Schofield (Milan: Electa, 2004), 67–119. 52 For a summary of these themes and morphological accounts see Elena Svalduz, “Palazzi Pubblici: i luoghi di governo e le sedi dell’amministrazione cittadina”, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, vol. vi “Luoghi, spazi, architetture”, eds. Donatella Calabi and Elena Svalduz (Treviso: Angelo Colla, 2010), 125–158. 53 Christoph L. Frommel, “Raffaele Riario, committente della Cancelleria”, in Arte, commit­ tenza ed economia a Roma e nelle corti del Rinascimento 1420–1530, 196–211 (201).

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a work plan for the Imola constructions would explain the presence of aspects in the building associating Emilian decorations with architectural concepts and syntactic modes of expression (for example, the pilasters without bases, the form of the capitals, or the presence of interior arches) which seem, as has been noticed by Zaggia and Schofield, to derive from Francesco di Giorgio (Fig. 9.4).54 Another important issue of Imola’s renovatio concerns the form of the piazza: after the works initiated by Girolamo Riario it assumed an almost regular shape (narrower towards the southern side); its average measurements seem to be regulated according to a ratio of about 2:3 (54 metres wide and 80 metres long in the centre line). The proportions of the space are thus very close to the ratios fixed by Virtruvius for the forum in the Italic style – although in Imola the perfect alignment of the façades does not follow the theoretical guidelines.55 There are many reasons for the failure to align the palace portico with the line of the façade of the municipal palace: following common practice, the need to save time and money may have convinced Riario to reuse the foundations of the demolished buildings. It seems equally valid to hypothesize that the alignment of the palace was fixed by the need to respect a juridical imperative: namely the statutory definition of the piazza, which established its physical limit precisely at the northern corner, in line with the beginning of the portico of the hospital of Santa Maria della Scaletta. In this case, a deeply ingrained custom would have represented a pole of resistance which was impossible to bend.56 The works carried out in the piazza in Imola between 1481 and 1484 thus seemed intent on carving out a new, regular space for public usage. Referring to an insightful definition given by Manfredo Tafuri for other cases of interventions on piazzas, a vast island was established at the very heart of communal life in which different “islands of rationality were tightly connected: that of an architectonic mass and its complementary void”.57 It is highly likely, though not explicit in the few surviving sources, that the programme of interventions referred to all’antica models. A trace of this can be found in the terms used in the aforementioned poetic encomium to Girolamo, composed by the humanist Roberto Orsi, where he sings the praises of the 54 Zaggia, “Il palazzo Riario”, 232–237; Schofield, “Girolamo Riario a Imola”, 619–628. 55 Zaggia, Una piazza per la città, 93–94; Ceccarelli, “La riforma rinascimentale”, 196–203. 56 Lazzari and Montanari, “La città dei portici”, 169–171; Ceccarelli, “La riforma rinascimentale”, 200. 57 Manfredo Tafuri, Ricerca del Rinascimento: principi, città, architetti (Turin: Einaudi, 1992), 125.

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renovatio of Arces, Fora, Templa.58 A further, definitive confirmation of the conscious desire to refer to models from antiquity is in the proven circulation of the work of Francesco Patrizi in the entourage of the Riario. Books vii and viii of the treatise by the Sienese humanist contain precise references to ancient sources and, in particular, a description of the Greek and Roman forums.59 It was undoubtedly the architect – prince’s desire to refer to the humanist model that gave substance to the planning proposals. It is likely that the count, owing to his political and diplomatic roles at the heart of the papal court, was fully aware of what other princes in the various Italian centres were doing as far as urban transformations were concerned. That Girolamo was a culturally prepared and conscious patron is attested by a well-known anecdote handed down by Luca Pacioli. The mathematician recalls an erudite witticism on the form of a capital made on the site of the Roman palace of the Riario family, in the presence of Melozzo da Forlì and other experts in different branches of the arts.60 Thus Riario’s aforementioned stay at the court of Urbino before his arrival in his territory (in 1481) must have played a fundamental role. There is no doubt that his stay was an occasion for visiting the palace and admiring the works designed by a prince – condottiere universally admired and recognized as an authority in architectural matters.61 This may have been the time when the prince’s plans and intention to make his town magnificent became concrete. In Imola, as previously mentioned, the works remained incomplete. What we see today is a mere fragment of what might have been built. We can only hypothesize about the overall urban renewal programme. The works described thus far were probably only the first stage of a programme which would almost certainly have ended with a thorough reorganization of the communal palace, which would have also housed the prince’s residence. The launching of this programme should be associated with the authorization given by Sixtus iv in 1484 to demolish also the convent of Santi Donato e Paolo in order to enable the reorganization of the spaces located to the west of the communal palace.62 58 Zaggia, Una piazza per la città, 132–133. 59 Cit. in Schofield, “Girolamo Riario a Imola”, 602. 60 Luca Pacioli, De divina proportione (Venice: Paganino dei Paganini, 1509), cc. 17v–18r; see also Stefano Tumidei, “Melozzo da Forlì: fortuna, vicende, incontri di un artista prospettico”, in Melozzo da Forlì. La sua città e il suo tempo, eds. Maria Foschi and Luciana Prati (Milan: Leonardo Arte, 1994), 19–81, 50. 61 Bernd Roeck, Andreas Tönnesmann, Federico da Montefeltro: arte, stato e mestiere delle armi, (Turin: Einaudi, 2009), 119–129; and the chapter by Elena Svalduz in this book. 62 Naples, Archivio di Stato, Fondo Riario Sforza, b. 3, parchment dated 29 January 1484; Mancini, Urbanistica rinascimentale, vol. i, 38; Ceccarelli, “La riforma rinascimentale”, 204–205.

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The demolition of the monastic structure would have made the arrangement of the spaces surrounding the communal palace more suited to the requirements of a princely court in the making. The construction of a new building on the piazza, intended, as we have seen, for the magistracy, was the premise for the transferral of most of the public offices, thereby freeing up space inside the palace. One part of this palace, in any case, had always been used as a princely residence. However, a further piece may be added to the puzzle which seems to emerge from the sources, scarce though they may be. After the demolitions carried out on the main piazza, and the subsequent adjustment of the eastern façade of the communal palace, the reconstruction of the church of San Lorenzo seems to have been planned following the façade line imposed by the presence of the latter. It is indeed unthinkable that a church would have been removed – a church which was not only historically and symbolically important for the city but also crucial for the income it assured the cardinal of San Giorgio, Raffaele Riario, who as early as 1477 held the church in commendam.63 This intention is indirectly confirmed by the words contained in the papal bull of the Borgia pope, who, after the end of the Riario rule, made plans for the reconstruction of San Lorenzo. The text indicates, in particular, that the building had been demolished by Girolamo Riario with the pretext of wanting to “reform and enhance the decorum of the square” (“in melius reformare et pro decore dicte platee”).64 The rebuilding of the new church in any case must be considered in relation to the public palace next to it. To summarize the arguments put forward, we may suppose that the plan was structured as follows: a piazza modelled on a Roman forum with the new palace and its portico on one side, which was to be the seat of the public offices, moved from the traditional location in the municipal palace; and the prince’s residence located on the other side, created through the reorganization (or reconstruction) of the public palace, with a new church beside it which presumably would have taken on the role of “palatine chapel”.65 The documentation currently available does not allow us to make further hypotheses. What is certain, however, is that the episode of the princedom of the Riario represented a “break” with the slow processes of transformation which until then had governed the urban evolution of Imola. At the same time, it brings to light some more general features relating to the urban 63 64 65

Robertson, “The Signoria”. Imola, Biblioteca comunale, Archivio storico del comune, Bolle e brevi, b. 1, n.23 (10 March 1500); transcribed in Mancini, Urbanistica rinascimentale, vol. ii, 175. See also Ceccarelli, “La riforma rinascimentale”, 194.

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strategies initiated at the time of the shift from medieval to modern times; in particular, it shows that the rift introduced by institutional change made it possible to carry out decisive operations involving radical change with regard to deep-rooted traditions.66 However, in the case of Girolamo Riario, this force for change depended on factors that were too transitory. As Machiavelli stated: a prince established only “with the aid of the great maintains himself with more difficulty than one who becomes prince with the aid of the people”.67 The political intentions and the urban renewal programme of Count Riario were destined for shipwreck. The square cut into the historical fabric of the city now appears as an unbridgeable void in comparison with the original intentions of its patron: in its incompleteness it is the manifestation of a peremptory and perhaps unrealistic desire for representation (Fig. 9.5). 66

67

The theme of the ‘timing’ in architecture is discussed in Marvin Trachtenberg, Buildingin-Time. From Giotto to Alberti and Modern Oblivion (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010). Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. and translated by Harvey C. Mansfield (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998, 2nd ed.), p. 39; “Colui che viene al principato con lo aiuto de’ grandi, si mantiene con più difficultà che quello che diventa con lo aiuto del populo”; Niccolò Machiavelli, Il principe, ix (De principatu civili).

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2 2 3

7

8 9

B

1

6

5

A

4 10

Figure 9.1 Imola, the central spaces of the town before the Riario’s Signoria, c.1473. A Piazza Maggiore, former Campo San Lorenzo; B Portico degli speziali; 1 Communal palace, then Palace of the Signore; 2 Palazzo Nuovo; 3 Comunal tower; 4 Church of San Lorenzo; 5 Building with front arcades; 6 Tower bell of San Lorenzo; 7 Church and convent of San Donato e Paolo; 8 – 9 Vaults upon the streets; 10 Private dwellings and houses.

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Figure 9.2 Melozzo da Forlì, Sixtus iv Appointing Platina as Prefect of the Vatican Library, fresco (detail), 1477. Girolamo Riario is the second man from the left.

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11

12

1

C 2 3

7 8

9

1

B

4 5

6 A 10

Figure 9.3 Imola, the central spaces of the town at the end of Riario’s Signoria, 1499. A Piazza Maggiore; B Portico degli speziali; C Piazzetta; 1 Public/Seigneurial palace; 2 Communal tower; 3 Vault upon the street; 4 Courtyard of the ­seigneurial palace (former cloister of the church of San Lorenzo); 5 Site of San Lorenzo church, then annexed to the seigneurial palace; 6 Loggia; 7 Church and convent of San Donato e Paolo; 8 Area of the slaughterhouse; 9 Vault upon the street; 10 The new porticoed building constructed by Riario; 11 Albergo el Capello; 12 Palazzina.

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Figure 9.4 Imola, the porticoed building erected in the square by Girolamo Riario.

Figure 9.5 B. Rosaspina, Piazza d’Imola, engraving, 1831–1836.

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chapter 10

“Small Mice, Large Palaces”: From Urbino to Carpi Elena Svalduz

City Palaces: Large Palaces for Small Towns

In the fragmented system of Italian politics,1 Urbino and Carpi stand out as two of the best-known princely courts of the Renaissance. The case of Urbino has been studied many times and, for a while, more intensely than Carpi. In effect, Urbino for this reason became an exemplary case of the Civilisation of the Renaissance to which Jacob Burckhardt gave such prominence in 1860.2 The chapter on “The State as a Work of Art”, although it had no immediate repercussions on the research trends of the time, contributed at least to the rediscovery of the cultural and artistic wealth of these two centres, as well as others, often considered “minor” in comparison with “major” cities such as Rome and Florence.3 Subsequently, Urbino and Carpi were taken to be the result of unified programmes: that is to say, the outcome of single projects intended to shape small territorial states into great capitals. They were thus included in the group of cities known as the ideal Renaissance cities characterized for the most part by their regularly shaped urban structures.4 As a consequence, the profusion of 1 For an up-to-date review of this question, see Francesco Somaini, “The Political Geography of Renaissance Italy”, in Courts and Courtly Arts in Renaissance Italy, ed. Marco Folin (Milan: Officina Libraria, 2010), 35–61. 2 Jacob Burckhardt, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien (Basel: Schweighauser’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1860). See Anna Elisabeth Werdehausen, “Hans Semper e la storiografia artistica tedesca dell’Ottocento”, in Hans Semper and Ferdinand O. Schulze and Wilhelm Barth, Carpi. Una sede principesca del Rinascimento, ed. Luisa Giordano (Pisa: ets, 1999), 13–22. The work was published in Dresden 1882. 3 As an example of this view, though it consists of an analysis relative to the 19th century, see the preface of Donald J. Olsen, The City as a Work of Art. London-Paris-Vienna (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 1986); see also Werner Oechslin, “Gottfried Semper et Jacob Burckhardt: deux approches différentes de l’architecture de la Renaissance”, in Le 19. siècle et l’architecture de la Renaissance, eds. Frédérique Lemerle, Yves Pauwels, and Alice ThomineBerrada (Paris: Picard, 2010). Some considerations on Italian historiography which, according to Marco Folin, paid little attention to the question of princely courts until the 19th century, can be found in Marco Folin, “Courts and Courtly Arts in Renaissance Italy”, in Courts and Courtly Arts, 8–31 (13). 4 Fundamental for a re-reading of this theme, see Werner Oechslin, “Il mito della città ideale”, in Principii e forme della città (Milan: Libri Scheiwiller, 1993), 419–456 as a response to La città ideale nel Rinascimento, ed. Gianni Carlo Sciolla (Turin: Utet, 1975). © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_011

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agents involved in the project, the dynamics, and altogether the difficulties encountered in the decision-making processes have long been neglected, rather focusing all the attention on some objects (the palace, the city, the state) taken as a whole and hypostatized as “works of art”. Since the 1980s, numerous contributions originating from a local historiographical tradition have emerged, especially in the case of Carpi. They have brought out the need to reveal the web of political, artistic, and urban relations contained within the architectural shell. The challenge of reading the palaces as “texts” interwoven with complex intrigues seems to have been taken up by, among others, a generation of young scholars who, in their recent works, have probed their object of inquiry through close comparative analyses and thus uncovered a wealth of new insightful interpretations.5 It has thus been possible to see how, in Urbino as in Carpi, the series of building projects carried out by the Pio and the Montefeltro between the second half of 15th century and the first decades of the 16th started off with the transformation of their princely residences into a single large palace. In both cases, this undertaking altered the very image of the city as well as its structure and became emblematic of it. Some analytic parameters (patronage, architects, and plans) seem to strengthen the case for the comparison of the two cities. Federico da Montefeltro and Alberto Pio both proved to be aware of the importance of the new humanist culture, and both were keen to highlight the aesthetic and political potential of architecture.6 Moreover, in their respective courts there were artists and intellectuals capable of expressing themselves in the most up-to-date language and architects capable of reinterpreting already existing buildings by producing original and innovative solutions (from Luciano Laurana to Baldassare Peruzzi). Most of all, the geometric clarity of the building and the strong urban quality of these two princely palaces established a connection between them. The concept of an “ideal city” has been reconsidered in recent years, and there have been a fair number of contributions intent on delving into specific questions regarding each city separately.7 In the wake of these new analyses, 5 Some contributions are found in this book. But see also, for example, Roberta Martinis, L’architettura contesa. Federico da Montefeltro, Lorenzo de’ Medici, gli Sforza e palazzo Salvatico a Milano (Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2008), vii–ix with particualr reference to the “school” of Manfredo Tafuri; and see my own considerations in: “Riflessioni a margine”, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, vol. vi, Luoghi, spazi, architetture, eds. Donatella Calabi and Elena Svalduz (Treviso: Angelo Colla, 2010), xiii–xxx. 6 Cesare Vasoli, Alberto iii Pio, in L’immagine del principe. I ritratti di Alberto iii nel palazzo dei Pio a Carpi, ed. Manuela Rossi (Carpi: Comune di Carpi, 2008), 13–54. 7 In both cases I refer to one of the most recent contributions containing a vast bibliography. For Urbino: Francesco Paolo Fiore, “Urbino: the Montefeltro and Della Rovere Families

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there has been a gradual tendency to consider princely palaces not only as residences but also as vast providers of services: they are thus immense palimpsests “designed to celebrate the triumphs of sovereignty”8 and clusters of different architectural structures. They are not the product of a single individual, but rather part and parcel of complex and long (if not enormously so) projects. In this context, the role of the single author loses its meaning, as Arnaldo Bruschi has shown with regard to Luciano Laurana – traditionally considered to be the architect of the ducal palace of Urbino.9 Through the identification of the different stages of the works and a close inspection of the walls and the decorative apparatus in the different parts of the buildings, in both Urbino and Carpi, it has been possible to establish a chronology of the works which no longer bears any relation to the ideal city/palace model. In both cases, architectural historians have gradually veered away from abstract or theoretical considerations, instead coming to analyse the building in physical terms and in relation to similar examples.10 There is no doubt that the chronologies of the two cases examined here do not coincide. For Urbino, the terminus post quem is the mid-15th century, whereas for Carpi it is the first decade of the 16th century. Nevertheless, correspondence can be established between the accelerated pace of the works and the actual coming to power of Federico and Alberto. They were both conscious of the insubstantiality of their respective entitlement to rule; they both therefore had to move in the shadows for a certain time in search of new ways to legitimize their power.11 One of the issues that arose in the most recent 8

9 10

11

(1444–1538)”, in Courts and Courtly Arts, 285–305. For Carpi: Il palazzo dei Pio a Carpi. Sette secoli di architettura e arte, eds. Manuela Rossi, Elena Svalduz (Venice: Marsilio, 2008). Folin, “Courts and Courtly Arts”, 11. The great interpretative tradition that favoured the palace of Urbino is based on the pioneering reading of Pasquale Rotondi, Il Palazzo Ducale di Urbino (Urbino: Istituto Statale d’arte per il libro, 1950–1951) 2 vols.; taken up and corroborated by important works and restorations on the building in Il Palazzo di Federico da Montefeltro: restauri e ricerche, ed. Maria Luisa Polichetti (Urbino: Quattro venti, 1985), informative contributions which are lacking in the case of Carpi. Arnaldo Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana. Chi era costui? Laurana, fra Carnevale, Alberti a Urbino: un tentativo di revisione”, Annali di architettura 20 (2008): 37–81. See the considerations of Nicholas Adams on Pienza regarding the need to define a “frayed” chronology capable of accounting for the various stages of the works: “The Acquisition of Pienza 1459–1464”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians xliv/ 2 (1985): 99–110; Nicholas Adams, “Pienza”, in Storia dell’architettura italiana. Il Quat­ trocento, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore (Milan: Electa, 1998), 314–329; see Francesco Paolo Fiore, “Siena e Urbino”, in Storia dell’architettura italiana. Il Quattrocento, 272–313. On these aspects, perceived by Burckhardt in his time, see Folin, “Courts and Courtly Arts”, 8–11 in particular and his previous contribution, “Il principe architetto e la ‘quasi-città’: spunti per un’indagine comparativa sulle strategie urbane nei piccoli stati italiani del

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analyses and on which we will focus here is that court palaces represent the results of political aspirations, consequently reflecting the progress of the political careers of their patrons. While the Pio Palace represents an intention (that of building a residence for an aristocrat who wished to become a duke), the palace of Urbino certainly and almost obsessively exhibits the ducal ensigns of its patron: with the inscription fedux replacing the initials fc (Federicus Comes) found before 1474. It was this very aspect which, in the long run, established the prominence of the Urbino experience over that of Carpi. The substantial difference between the two palaces can be measured on the basis of the following disparity: between what Federico’s palace actually was and what Alberto’s palace could have been. In this regard Giberto Pio made an explicit statement when he described his cousin and eternal rival Alberto Pio as a “mouse” spurred on by the ambition of emerging onto a larger scene. It was said in 1495, when Alberto – ­seeking new alliances – seemed to pay undue attention to the king of France, whose stemma he had had painted over the entrance to this palace.12 “Sometimes, mice can ruin great palaces” (“sogliono qualche fiate i toppi fare ruinare de grandi palazzi”) are the words Giberto wrote to Ludovico il Moro, thereby alerting him to Alberto’s ambiguous behaviour.13 We can take this indication of ambition as an unmistakable characteristic of the personality of the prince of Carpi. Marin Sanudo was just as explicit in his Diaries, where he said of Alberto that “he takes himself to be one of the greats of this world” (“fa molto il grande”).14 Tommasino de’ Bianchi was even more explicit: being a citizen of Modena he saw Alberto as a fierce enemy, claiming that he wished “to live as a duke” and that, had he been able to, he would have tried to “subdue the duke of Ferrara” (“voleva vivere da duca e sottometer il duca se lui havesse potuto”).15 Despite the many differences in both the chronology and the methods used to carry out the projects, it is still possible to note how the circulation of ­models played a decisive role for the small courts which at the time formed the

12 13 14 15

Rinascimento”, in L’ambizione di essere città. Piccoli, grandi centri nell’Italia rinascimentale, ed. Elena Svalduz (Venice: ivsla, 2004), 45–95. Marco Folin, “Nei palazzi quattrocenteschi dei Pio: apparati decorativi e organizzazione degli spazi di corte”, in Il palazzo dei Pio a Carpi, eds. Rossi and Svalduz, 51. Milan, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Sforzesco, Potenze estere, cart. 405, letter from Giberto Pio to Ludovico il Moro, Carpi, 17 August 1495. Marin Sanudo, Diaries, vol. xxx, col. 254, 15 May 1521. Tommasino de’ Bianchi detto de’ Lancellotti in his Cronaca modenese draws a compelling portrait of Alberto Pio, see in more detail, Elena Svalduz, Da castello a “città”: Carpi e Alberto Pio (Rome: Officina, 2001), 374–375.

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Italian political system. The network of cultural exchanges and the transmission of ideas and models is another aspect that has been intensely studied in recent years, suggesting the existence of a polycentric Renaissance as opposed to a process of gradual propagation moving from the centre to the periphery.16 As a large and monumental complex, the ducal palace of Urbino, the privileged space of one of the most refined courts of the early Renaissance, must for a long time have seemed to the little “mice” – i.e. the small-time princes of the Po Valley – like a model to imitate. Its fame was established in the Book of the Courtier, by Baldassare Castiglione, written during the years in which the works carried out in Carpi began to unite the different buildings (towers, houses, and loggias) into one great palace. It was in this very period that the Pio family of Carpi assiduously frequented the court of Urbino, as a series of testimonies suggests.17 In this specific case, there is no existing documentary evidence proving that drawings of the palace of Urbino were sent to the Emilian court, although similar requests made to the Montefeltro from other rulers are known. Nevertheless, Federico’s palace must have been known of and admired in Carpi.18 The Pio palace adopted its basic structure, with its two aligned courtyards (although only one was properly finished) and a main thoroughfare running parallel to the façade, which became secondary following the new orientation of the building: in the case of Urbino towards the Mercatale and Rome, and in the case of Carpi towards the external open space transformed into a grand piazza. The analogous sequence of spaces (corridor-colonnade-staircase-reception spaces, with the grand hall coming first, intended for solemn gatherings) reflects the ceremonial requirements of a route leading from public spaces, which are more representative and monumental, to more intimate and private 16

Giovanni Tocci, “Il Rinascimento in provincia”, Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa (Storia e storiografia), ed. Marcello Fantoni (Treviso-Costabissara: Angelo Colla, 2005), 387–413; Elena Svalduz and Dorothea Nolde and María José del Río Barredo, “City courts as places of cultural transfer”, in Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe, vol. ii, Cities and Cultural Exchange in Europe 1400–1700, eds. Donatella Calabi and Stephen Turk Christensen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 254–285; Elena Svalduz, “The Minor Courts of the Po Valley”, in Courts and Courtly Arts, 203–217; Rinaldo Rinaldi, “Princes and Culture in the Fifteenth-Century Italian Po Valley Courts”, in Princes and Princely Culture 1450–1650, eds. Martin Gosman and Alasdair Macdonald and Arjo Vanderjagt, vol. ii, (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2005), 23–42. 17 Svalduz, Da castello a “città”, 132–133, n.190. 18 As is well known, in 1481 Lorenzo de’ Medici had asked for a drawing of the palace of Urbino which perhaps Baccio Pontelli, then assistant to Francesco di Giorgio Martini, may have executed.

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areas.19 Considering the sequence of rooms in the Pio palace, Alessandra Sarchi has identified “a distributive logic, repeated in many princely palaces”.20 The palace of the ambitious prince of Carpi, despite its appearance as a monumental complex with a single façade almost 100 m long, never reached the formal qualities of Federico’s palace – nor did it ever come close to the refined aesthetic choices of the Montefeltro court. Here it will suffice to note the well-known solution for the corner of the courtyard of the Urbino palace (explained on the one hand by structural requirements to strengthen the corner, and on the other by the wish to conceal the geometrical irregularities of the whole structure) and the very simple sequence of arches set on columns repeated without interruption all around the peristyle of Carpi, thus creating, on the higher floors, an unharmonious staggering of the windows closest to the walls (Figs. 10.1–10.2). In both cases, however, the main focus of the whole reorganization process was the great empty space inside and outside the palace: the platea magna in Urbino and the great open space once encircled by a moat in Carpi.21 All the buildings commissioned by Federico, and especially his palace, were admired by Vespasiano da Bisticci for “the great dimensions and measurements of each thing” (“l’ordine grande et le misure d’ogni cosa”).22 Their dimensions were indeed astonishing: the walls of the palace could contain a court of over 500 people. In the small city of the Pio, the size of the main courtyard – though vaguely similar to that of Urbino, as were the sizes of the halls, rooms, and the whole complex – appears out of proportion, given the 19

20

21

22

On Urbino: Christoph Luitpold Frommel, “Il palazzo ducale di Urbino e la nascita della residenza principesca del Rinascimento”, in Francesco di Giorgio alla corte di Federico da Montefeltro, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore, vol. i, Florence 2004, 167–196, 172–174. On Carpi: Luisa Giordano, “Il cortile del palazzo dei Pio in Carpi”, in Baldassarre Peruzzi, pittura scena e architettura nel Cinquecento, eds. Marcello Fagiolo, Maria Luisa Madonna (Rome: Istituto della Encicplopedia italiana, 1987), 669–687; Marco Folin, “Nei palazzi quattrocenteschi dei Pio”, 51–59, 56. Alessandra Sarchi, “The studiolo of Alberto Pio da Carpi”, in Drawing Relationships in Northern Renaissance Art. Patronage and Theories of Invention, ed. Giancarla Periti (London: Ashgate, 2004), 129–151 (132). On these aspects, with a summary of the different construction phases on the basis of the most recent critical acquisitions, I refer to Luca Lamonaca, “Il palazzo di Federico da Montefeltro: ultime acquisizioni” (Master’s thesis in History of Art, University of Padua, Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, a.y. 2010–2011, supervisor Elena Svalduz). For Carpi: In mezzo a un dialogo. La piazza di Carpi dal Rinascimento a oggi, eds. Andrea Giordano and Manuela Rossi and Elena Svalduz (Carpi: apm, 2012). Vespasiano da Bisticci, Le Vite, critical edition with introduction and commentary by Aulo Greco, vol. i (Florence: Istituto italiano di studi sul Rinascimento, 1907), 382.

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actual needs of a court such as that of Carpi, which would gradually move down to Rome in support of Alberto’s political career.23 The impression still given today is not so much that of “a city in the shape of a palace” – as in the case of Urbino, where the vastness and amount of space created by Federico places the building among the great royal residences of Europe24 – but rather that of a “palace in the shape of a city” dominated by the enormous emptiness of the piazza “sufficient for any magnificent city” (“bastante per ogni magnifica città”).25

Non domus ista sed urbs, “A City in the Shape of a Palace”: Urbino

In celebration of the deeds of Federico, Baldassare Castiglione attributed great worth to the ducal residence: “Among his other commendable enterprises, Duke Federico built on the rugged site of Urbino a palace which many believe to be the most beautiful in all of Italy; and he furnished it so well and appropriately that it seemed more like a city than a mere palace”.26 Acknowledging the importance of the palace’s dimensions, which extended to incorporate open spaces and pre-existing buildings, Castiglione credited Federico with a particular ability to resolve the “harshness” of the geography. Indeed, the palace stands on a steep and irregular hill: the difference in height between the façade facing the valley (facciata dei torricini) and the façade where the ground levels off was about 30 m. Taking advantage of this disparity, the services were distributed vertically from the ground floor up: Federico’s bathroom, the first example of a Renaissance all’antica-style bathroom inside a princely home, was located in correspondence to the first-floor studiolo and the Tempietto delle Muse with the Cappella del Perdono beside it on the ground floor (Figs.  10.3–10.4).27 The different levels are connected by internal stairs 23 Svalduz, Da castello a “città”, 136–144. 24 Marco Folin, “La dimora del principe negli Stati italiani”, in Il rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, vol. vi, 345–365. 25 Emanuele Cicogna, Viaggio fatto da Andrea Morosini e da Benedetto Zorzi patrizii veneti del secolo decimosesto in alcuni luoghi dello stato veneto, del parmigiano, mantovano, modenese, etc. ora per la prima volta pubblicato (Venice: 1842), 16–17. 26 “Fra l’altre sue cose lodevoli sull’aspero sito ad Urbino edificò il palazzo secondo l’opinione di molti il più bello che in tutta Italia si ritrova. Ad ogni opportuna cosa lo fornì che non un palazzo, ma una città in forma di palazzo esso aveva”: Baldassarre Castiglione, Il Libro del Cortegiano (1528), ed. Amedeo Quondam (Milan: Garzanti, 2002), 18–19. 27 For the sake of brevity, I will not go into details of the internal organization of the rooms, but refer here to Janez Höfler, “Nuove indagini sulla storia edilizia del palazzo ducale di Urbino: il primo palazzo dei Montefeltro sulla piazza grande”, in Contributi e ricerche su

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contained within the turrets, called torricini, which characterize the façade facing the valley. Many of our literary sources seem to suggest that this very ability to resolve the problems of a difficult geographical situation gave the whole complex its functionality and beauty. As Arnaldo Bruschi reminds us, the overall result is “a mesmerizing hybrid”, flexible and suited to the requirements of both the private and representative residence of a prince such as Federico, capable of manifesting remarkable originality, maturity, and creative propensities.28 Federico’s palace assembles and incorporates a series of pre-existing buildings looking onto the road in front of the church of San Domenico, occupying an area extending towards the centre of town. The location of these medieval princely buildings and their relation to the Duomo, municipal palaces, roads, and public spaces are still subjects of debate.29 However, an analysis of the structure of the walls and an examination of the documented testimonies enable us to formulate some hypotheses, identifying the palaces of Antonio (1348–1404) and Guidantonio (1377–1443) of Montefeltro as two of the core elements of the present-day complex.30 What is certain and important to highlight, following Francesco Paolo Fiore, is that Federico’s palace arose from pre-existing princely buildings within a well-framed context: it is anything but a tabula rasa31 (Fig. 10.5). Guidantonio had already begun restructuring or reconstructing a part of the princely residence, which was probably the first to be incorporated into the new palace wing. Undoubtedly, though, the works started after 1450 by Federico were much Francesco di Giorgio nell’Italia centrale, Simposio di studi (Urbino, 22 March 2003), ed. Francesco Colocci (Urbania: Edizioni del Comune di Urbino, 2006), 299–309 who reconstructs a map of the different rooms on the basis of an exceptional source previously analysed by Piergiorgio Peruzzi, “Lavorare a corte: ‘ordini e officij’. Domestici, familiari e cortigiani e funzionari al servizio del duca d’Urbino”, in Federico di Montefeltro: lo Stato, le arti, la cultura, eds. Giorgio Cerboni Baiardi and Giorgio Chittolini and Piero Floriani (Rome: Bulzoni, 1986), 225–296 and now published as: Ordine et officij de casa de lo illustrissimo signor duca de Urbino, ed. Sabine Eiche (Urbino: Accademia Raffaello, 1999); Marco Folin, “Roma e Urbino: due corti rinascimentali a confronto”, in Atlante della letteratura italiana, eds. Sergio Luzzatto and Gabriele Pedullà, I, Dalle origini al Rinascimento, ed. Amedeo De Vincentiis (Turin: Einaudi, 2010), 757–773. 28 Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 46–47. 29 Lamonaca, Il palazzo di Federico, 13–21; see Höfler, “Nuove indagini”; Francesco Paolo Fiore, “Il palazzo Ducale di Urbino. Seconda metà del xv secolo e sgg”., in Francesco di Giorgio architetto, eds. idem and Manfredo Tafuri (Milan: Electa, 1993), 164–173 (164). 30 Fiore, “Urbino: the Montefeltro”, 288. 31 Ibid., 289.

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more important. A skilful condottiere “without a state”,32 Federico had come to power six years earlier upon the death of Oddantonio, the legitimate heir to Guidantonio, who had fallen victim to a conspiracy. Once Federico had confirmed his rule, he succeeded in streaming into Urbino considerable financial resources amassed during his military feats, which were invested in promoting the arts and letters.33 In 1474 he finally obtained the ducal title and that of gonfaloniere from Pope Sixtus iv; the king of Naples made him a knight of the Order of the Ermine, as can be seen in one of his most famous portraits, by Pedro Berruguete (1475), still preserved inside the Ducal Palace (Urbino, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche). It has already been observed that the palace represented the duke’s political masterpiece. A less-studied aspect concerns the development of the building in relation to the gradual strengthening of Federico’s position both in military and political spheres. Although the project-making phase of the enterprise has been studied in detail, and recently, we will briefly retrace the course of events here. A first phase, marked by the arrival of Florentine artists, coincided with the period when Federico was in the pay of the Republic of Florence (1444–50). His new functions were only indirectly reflected in the palace. The monumental portal of the church of San Domenico, on a corner and slightly behind the main piazza of Urbino, is considered to be the first all’antica work built in Urbino. Attributed to the Florentine sculptor Maso di Bartolomeo, the portal presents a series of elements taken from triumphal architecture: free-standing columns, raised on pedestals and protruding with respect to the pilasters at the back with an overhanging entablature (triumphatae, to quote Alberti) support a curved-panelled canopy itself framed by pilasters and crowned by a triangular pediment.34 The latter cuts through the oculus inserted above in the church’s façade. The entablature reduced to a frieze and cornice (with no architrave), which can be considered as an experiment on the ancient orders, 32 33

34

As Jacob Burckhardt describes him (quoted in n.2). A brief overview of the political career of Federico can be found in Fiore, “Urbino: the Montefeltro”, 286–288; see Michael Mallet, “Federico da Montefeltro: soldato, capitano e principe”, in Francesco di Giorgio alla corte, 3–13. On Urbino, summarily and with regard to these points, see Andreas Tönnesmann, “Il palazzo ducale di Urbino: economia e committenza”, in Arte, committenza ed economia a Roma e nelle corti del Rinascimento (1420–1530), eds. Arnold Esch and Christoph Luitpold Frommel (Turin: Einaudi, 1995), 399–411 (406– 407) in particular; see Andreas Tönnesmann, “Le palais ducal d’Urbino. Humanisme et réalité sociale”, Architecture et vie sociale, ed. Jean Guillaume (Paris: Picard, 1994), 137–153; Bernd Roeck and Andreas Tönnesmann, Federico da Montefeltro. Arte, stato e mestiere delle armi (Turin: Einaudi, 2009). Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 51–52.

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is repeated on the other side of the church in the capital/entablature which finishes off the corner pilaster of the palace. Only after the Peace of Lodi (1454) did Federico start transforming the wing built by his father, Guidantonio, later called the ala della Jole, which corresponds to the middle part of the present-day longitudinal mass overlooking Piazza Rinascimento (between the fourth and the eighth vertical row of windows from the north). Inside, in some of the chimneys and portals, it is possible to recognize the style of the same artists, sculptors in particular, who had previously worked on the church of San Domenico. As for the overall coordination of the works, Fra’ Carnevale may have been in charge; according to Vasari, he was Bramante’s master.35 What can be described as the intermediate stage corresponds to the period after Federico’s victory over Sigismondo Malatesta (1462), when he spent more time at home, extending his influence over the territory. In this period Leon Battista Alberti stayed in Urbino, in 1464 according to our sources, and Luciano Laurana also spent time in the city. Although still only a count, Federico was as intent as ever to make his mark on the political chessboard as a captain-­general and arbiter of the Italian league. He considerably increased his earnings and developed a design for a palace capable of rivalling the main princely residences of the time.36 Reading between the lines of the well-known document of 1468 (the patente, which will be discussed further below), we can see how the change of status imposed the need for further reflection on the design of the palace: “a home both beautiful and worthy of what befits the condition and admirable fame of our forefathers and also our position” (“una abitazione bella e degna quanto si conviene alla condizione e laudabil fama delli nostri progenitori, e anco alla condizion nostra”).37 In fact, there is no shortage of testimonies attesting that Alberti’s presence at the court of Urbino may have been more continuous and consequently more decisive for the design of the new palace.38 According to Fiore, this was

35 36 37

38

Ibid., 58–59. Frommel, “Il palazzo ducale di Urbino”, 171. Federico da Montefeltro, “Patente a Luciano Laurana”, eds. Arnaldo Bruschi and Domenico De Robertis, in Scritti rinascimentali di architettura, ed. Arnaldo Bruschi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1978), 19–22. The passage is commented on in Roeck and Tönnesmann, Federico da Montefeltro, 125. On the role of Leon Battista Alberti in the design of the palace, see Gabriele Morolli, “Nel cuore del palazzo, la città ideale. Alberti e la prospettiva architettonica di Urbino”, in Piero e le corti rinascimentali, ed. Paolo Dal Poggetto (Venice: Marsilio, 1992), 215–229; Arturo Calzona, “Leon Battista Alberti e Luciano Laurana: da Mantova a Urbino o da Urbino a Mantova?”, in Francesco di Giorgio alla corte, 433–492; Luciana Miotto, “L.B. Alberti e il

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particularly well demonstrated by the corner solution found for the courtyard, where the corner column typical of Florentine courtyards was substituted by an L-shaped pilaster with two semi-columns set on each side of a pair of larger pilasters detached at the corner and, on the first floor, a sequence of back-toback pilasters.39 In any case, taking each façade of the four sides of the portico separately – each one seemingly independent, thanks to the gap between the large pilasters – some strong similarities with the Florentine Loggia degli Innocenti can be identified: firstly, the join of the large order of pilasters with the running sequence of arches and columns through the tangential base line of the order’s architrave at the head of the arches40; but also, as far as the overall schema is concerned, in which the second level is punctuated by a minor order of pilasters, the famous pilastrelli mentioned by the biographer of Filippo Brunelleschi.41 The capitals of the columns derive from the composite capitals of the Domus Flavia (Fig. 10.6): a clear case in which an “authentically ancient model” was reproduced – a first indication of a new approach that distanced itself from the uniformity of the Brunelleschian colonnades and also from the varietas of Alberti.42 The possibility that one single architect, at one time thought to be Luciano Laurana, may have directed the whole project collapses once we consider the quality of the architectural elements and the “principles of essential coordination of the parts and framework” (“principi di coordinamento sintattico delle parti e delle membrature”).43 Inspired by the Pantheon and the Arch of Septimius Severus, for example, the triumphal loggias between the torricini seem so different from the colonnade in the courtyard that they cannot be attributed to the same author. Bruschi does not exclude the possibility that Alberti himself would have discussed the overall structure of the palace in the presence of Federico and his architects (Laurana and Fra’ Carnevale), suggesting certain changes44: even before the individual solutions were adopted, it is the architectural logic of the project that suggests Alberti’s involvement, as he was the only person capable of drawing up such architectural designs in the 1470s.45 Whichever formula was used to obtain a complex work, the product of continuous dialogue between the patron(s) (the role of Ottaviano Ubaldini and

39 40 41 42 43 44 45

palazzo di Federico da Montefletro”, Albertiana 7 (2004): 41–78; and Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 51 and 57. Fiore, “Siena e Urbino”, 292–294; see Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 49–50. Ibid., 49, 61–62. Ibid., 62. Fiore, “Siena e Urbino”, 294. For the capitals, see Frommel, “Il palazzo ducale di Urbino”, 186. Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 62. See for details: ibid., 60–61; Fiore, “Siena e Urbino”, 292–293. Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 64.

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Battista Sforza, alongside Federico, should not be overlooked) and architect(s), the palace reveals “a certain lack of continuity in the solutions, although the end result is effective”.46 The fact remains that, despite the studies of Arnaldo Bruschi, which have served to attenuate the extent of his contribution, the years when Luciano Laurana was working in Urbino (1466–72) had a decisive impact on the reconfiguration of the architectural complex. In 1466 he completed the model for the palace and presented it to Federico, who then gave him, in 1468, the famous patente: an extraordinary document which, among other things, confirmed Laurana’s role as the director of the works, being considered an “engineer and head of all the master workers who will be working there” (“ingegnero e capo di tutti li maestri che lavoreranno”).47 For this reason, Laurana is thought to have been in charge of the construction of the courtyard and the two-floored transversal mass which makes up the façade facing the piazza, compact and crowned in certain stretches with merlons, extending towards the torricini façade. The composition, with triumphal loggias on free-standing columns flanked on each side by towers, has led scholars to see similarities with the arch of Castel Nuovo in Naples, rather than the arch at Fano, where it seems that Laurana was employed by Federico for the first time in 1464.48 One piece of evidence appears to be highly significant: namely that the most important spaces are located inside the buildings attributed to Laurana, such as the grand staircase (set in line with the portico of the courtyard and the landing), the main hall, and the rooms, which become increasingly smaller, ending with the bedroom and the studiolo overlooking the torricini loggia. Based on a close analysis of the documentation, Janez Höfler has, however, presented a different sequence of the works, altering their traditional division into three stages suggested by Pasquale Rotondi and reducing Laurana’s influence on the configuration of the overall structure.49 According to this reading, Laurana would have worked on the torricini façade and the colonnades of the courtyard, whereas the wing overlooking the piazza and the mass facing the valley would have already been in place. Christoph Frommel, in turn, attributed the project to Francesco di Giorgio, including the design of the courtyard,50 46 47 48 49 50

Fiore, “Urbino: the Montefeltro”, 291. On the patrons, beside Federico, see Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 51. Ibid., 39 and passim. Ibid., 41. Höfler, “Nuove indagini”, passim. Frommel, “Il palazzo ducale di Urbino”, 173. See also Giacomo De Zoppi, “La cappella del Perdono e il tempietto delle Muse nel Palazzo Ducale di Urbino. Analisi e proposta d’attribuzione a Francesco di Giorgio Martini”, Annali di architettura 16 (2004): 9–24.

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where the contribution of the Sienese architect seems to be limited to the upper part of the building above the loggias. What is certain is that on the death of Battista Sforza in 1472 Laurana left Urbino with the works yet unfinished.51 Two years later Federico became a duke, and the cultural and artistic scene in Urbino underwent transformation. This can be seen in the ducal apartment, in particular in his studiolo and the adjacent Room of the Angels (sala degli angeli). Francesco di Giorgio Martini arrived at Federico’s court from Siena around 1476 and no earlier, as Fiore has shown, at the same time as a number of Flemish and Spanish artists. Francesco di Giorgio has been named, from time to time, as the author of the upper part of the building above the loggias of the courtyard, the façade with aisles supporting hanging gardens (with services below), and the stables ending in the big Torrione della Data. Beyond the questions of attribution which are yet to be clarified (in the court’s register of ordine et officii of 1479 Baccio Pontelli is named as the third architect, after Laurana and Martini),52 the works carried out after 1474 appear to be decisive as they give the palace a completely different form from that of the Florentine models, which consisted of solid blocks enveloping a central courtyard. The structure of the palace’s perimeter in Urbino, with its facciata ad ali overlooking the Piazza Grande, shows this very clearly. According to Fiore, in this case Francesco di Giorgio expressed “his reference to antiquity, with an interest in large wall surfaces […] and a more dynamic taste for the crisp juxtaposition of parts, even espousing surprising asymmetry […]”.53 For the winged façade, he used, on a monumental scale, the niches with entablatures which Laurana had already designed for the torricini façade. He placed them on a flat bugnato stone base with a pseudo-isodomum schema, playing on the variations of the concave and convex moulding, thus solving the problem of the juncture with the façade looking onto the Duomo as well as the arrangement of the pre-existing openings.54 The combination of brick wall and stone, as in the courtyard, was taken up here for the first time from an ancient model.55 51 52 53 54

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Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 44. Marco Folin, “Roma e Urbino: due corti rinascimentali a confronto”. Fiore, “Urbino: the Montefeltro”, 298. In more detail, see Francesco Paolo Fiore, “L’architettura civile di Francesco di Giorgio”, in Francesco di Giorgio architetto, 74–125, 82. Bruschi (“Luciano di Laurana”, 61) seems to lessen the role of Francesco di Giorgio in comparison with that of Leon Battista Alberti who might have suggested the use of bricks well suited for the walling of palaces, made more dignified by the insertion of stone elements. Roberto Gargiani, Princìpi e costruzione nell’architettura italiana del Quattrocento (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2003).

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In Carpi, the lessons learned from Francesco di Giorgio were interpreted by his most brilliant student, Baldassare Peruzzi: the great windows in the wall and the taste for playful asymmetry in the structure seemed to be the Sienese architect’s way of taking in the lessons his master learned in Urbino, with particular attention paid to the facciata ad ali, making it more monumental still. This is a further indication of a certain continuity between the architectural choices made in Urbino and those implemented in Carpi, where we see more than a mere need to create a uniform external appearance in an attempt to make the different buildings inherited from the late Middle Ages appear as a more organic and coherent whole, as is the case in many princely palaces.56 Leaving aside the various hypotheses concerning attribution and dates, which are sometimes contradictory, it seems fitting to return to the general importance of the work. The goal that Count, subsequently Duke, Federico had set himself was ultimately to build an exemplary palace, adapted to his own rank, which would contain residential spaces as well as spaces for all the services required for exercising governmental functions.57 In Urbino, as in Carpi, the various rooms were organized around a peristyle which constituted “the distributional core of the entire residential complex”,58 the juncture point for all access routes leading to the internal spaces of the palace. This corresponded to the pars primaria of the domus according to Leon Battista Alberti: that is, a space also known as cava aedium or atrium, defined as a sinus in the De re aedificatoria, “where all the other minor members, as happens in a public square, converge in the house” (“in quam cetera omnia minora membra veluti in publicum aedis forum confluent”).59 Many times associated with Urbino, this image of the courtyard as “a public cross-roads to otherwise segregated spaces” seemed, moreover, to strengthen the palace/city metonymy which was often evoked in literary sources connected to Urbino.60 Furthermore, there is no doubt that the ducal palace of Urbino is an exemplary case for its capacity to make a profound impact on the urban form, as suggested by Donatella Calabi.61 The canonical image of a single complex which becomes a part of the city can be reassessed in light of certain considerations more relative to the city’s history than to the history of architecture. 56 57 58 59 60 61

Folin, “Courts and Courtly Arts”, 26–27. For a comparison with the European situation see ibid., 20–30. Ibid., 24. Leon Battista Alberti, L’architettura [De re aedificatoria]. ed. Giovanni Orlandi, introduction and notes by Paolo Portoghesi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1966), 417. Tracy E. Cooper, Renaissance (New York: Abbeville Press, 1995), 48. Donatella Calabi, Storia della città. L’età moderna (Venezia: Marsilio, 2001), 50–52.

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We need only consider the influence that the new, complex building had on the organization of city spaces: on the one hand, the redirection of the main façade from east (towards the sea) to west (towards Rome) conferred on the palace the role of a real focal point of city life; on the other, by replacing the medieval platea, the Mercatale became a new commercial space accessed from the road from Rimini, along which a new district was created. A process was thus set in motion through which, starting from the palace, the surrounding grounds acquired importance and underwent subsequent urban expansion. It is not certain whether the feudal ruler himself influenced this process. What is clear, however, is that in Carpi the reorganization of the areas and commercial structures close to the palace, the preparation of new grounds for construction, the building of new churches, and the establishment of new cultural institutions (libraries and colleges)62 marked the programme of urban renewal coordinated by Alberto Pio, born in 1475, one year after Federico da Montefeltro acquired the ducal title. But in this case – in the midst of the profound turmoil of the Italian wars – the humanist dream of refounding one’s own native town, starting with the construction of an imposing palace, was destined to fail.

A Palace in the Shape of a City: Carpi

The ducal palace of Urbino, with its articulated perimeter and the development of its two courtyards (one of which remained incomplete), can be considered as the starting point for the palace of Carpi. The condition of the site, however, was completely different: the palace of Federico da Montefeltro was lower with respect to the city and high up with respect to the valley, whereas Alberto Pio’s palace was on entirely flat land, with the exception of a slight difference in height between the ancient citadel and the open space outside the moat. Despite this difference, both buildings display the capacity to engage with their urban surroundings. With respect to the sequence of façades with “conspicuous urban qualities” and the picturesque, fairytale style of the palace in Urbino, in Carpi the “unusual variety, of medieval origin”, was even more emphasized.63 Two of the four façades of the ducal palace of Urbino overlook the piazza and face onto the main road for a stretch of 90 m. The palace of the Pio, on the other hand, with its single long façade, extends almost 100 m along an 62 Svalduz, Da castello a “città”, passim. 63 Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 48.

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exceptional stage: the grand piazza. There is no doubt, however, that another ducal palace came to be exemplary in the eyes of the Pio: the palace of Mantua, which expressed a particularly successful “synthesis between the palace and the Vitruvian forum”.64 In Carpi, as in Urbino and Mantua, the first element of discontinuity with respect to the living habits of the late medieval rulers was the relationship with the pre-existing buildings. The contrast with the 15th-century arrangement of the palace site is especially compelling for the sake of comparison with Urbino, as it brings to light the presence of separate houses which were subsequently incorporated into the complex. Again we are faced with contributions and inputs from different figures, characterized by different periods and procedures. There are countless indications of the “syntactic disconnection and free or autonomous insertion of elements” (“sconnessione sintattica e di libera o autonoma inserzione degli elementi”65) which Bruschi had observed in the ducal palace of Urbino and had attributed to the overlapping of different artists. In Carpi too, however, the predominance of features such as the fragmentary nature of the works and the joint presence of different styles suggests a non-unitary project, and thus it cannot be interpreted as “the fruit, on a relatively restricted timescale, of the creativity of a single author”.66 The complexity and flexibility characteristic of the design of Federico’s palace, according to the analytic parameters indicated by Bruschi and which are, moreover, typical of the great Renaissance constructions, are thus reconfirmed in the case of the Pio palace. It is not possible here to entirely account for the complex construction stages of the Pio palace. Nevertheless recent studies have demonstrated that Alberto Pio’s role was that of supervisor of the works, however limited in comparison to Federico da Montefeltro’s involvement with his palace, which involved controlling the whole design process down to the last detail, from the arrangement of the site itself to the choice of referential models.67 We will also focus on the phase, in the early 1520s, in which new protagonists arrived at the court of Carpi with innovative solutions imported from Rome.68 In this phase, as occurred in the phase traditionally attributed to Laurana in Urbino, Alberto 64

Christoph L. Frommel, “Raffaele Riario, committente della Cancelleria”, in Arte, committenza ed economia, 197–211, 201; Paolo Carpeggiani, “Un palazzo in forma di città. Guglielmo Gonzaga e il microcosmo del potere: gli spazi e le immagini”, Arte lombarda 105–107 (1993): 128–137. 65 Bruschi, “Luciano di Laurana”, 49. 66 Ibid., 49. 67 Ibid., 50. It is no coincidence that the ducal palace of Urbino is often mentioned as Federico’s palace, whilst the palace at Carpi is referred to as the palace of the Pio, or Pio family. 68 Svalduz, Da castello a “città”, 281–303.

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Pio da Carpi implemented changes in terms of both political choices and architectural decisions. Federico’s palace had been transformed into a residence about four times larger and magnificent than the great Italian palaces existing at the time,69 inspired by the Palazzo Venezia, which Pope Paul ii had begun building in Rome in 1455 at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. Fifty years later this Roman building became a model to imitate for Alberto Pio, with respect to not only the gradually decreasing size of the rooms but also the decoration of the main reception areas.70 A series of studies, collected in the most recent publication on the Pio palace,71 enable us to establish the nature of some of the medieval structures which are not always easy to interpret on account of the numerous restoration works and the lack of new excavation works and investigations into the wall stratifications.72 In this disjointed and inconsistent framework, characterized by a series of separate residences whose arrangement is described in the property register of 1472,73 two nuclei can be identified: the first facing north, around the Passerino tower, and the second facing south-west, around the Galasso tower, where, according to our sources, there had been decorated rooms and a loggia (1465) since the first half of the 15th century (Figs. 10.7–10.8). These two nuclei were then connected by a kind of corridor defined as a palazolo in the notarial deed; it is the first construction that attempted to create some continuity in an irregular sequence of buildings. The covered route was aligned with the western front of the walls of the citadel, thus serving a similar function to that of the famous Ferrarese “via coperta”,74 renovated in 1471 and already used as a passageway between the Corte Vecchia and the castle. During this phase, the residential spaces of the Pio palace were slowly defined and the role of what became known as the Rocca Nuova was gradually strengthened – the latter was actually the oldest part of the whole complex, recorded since 1375, and structured around the Passerino tower. The need to 69 70

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Frommel, “Il palazzo ducale di Urbino”, 172. Elena Svalduz, “Non finte, ma ‘verissime’: le prospettive della sala grande nel palazzo dei Pio a Carpi”, in “Some degree of happiness”. Studi di storia dell’architettura per Howard Burns, eds. Maria Beltramini and Caroline Elam (Pisa: Edizioni della Normale, 2009), 147–167. Il palazzo dei Pio a Carpi, eds. Rossi and Svalduz. Carlo Tosco, “Memoria e architettura. Dalla pieve al castello di Carpi”, in Il palazzo dei Pio a Carpi, eds. Rossi and Svalduz, 17–33 (17). Manuela Ghizzoni and Elena Svalduz, “Le residenze dei Pio e il catasto del 1472”, in Il palazzo dei Pio a Carpi, eds. Rossi and Svalduz, 61–69 (61). Marco Folin, “Studioli, vie coperte, gallerie: genealogia di uno spazio del potere”, in Il regno e l’arte. I camerini di Alfonso I, terzo duca di Ferrara, ed. Charles Hope (Florence, Olschki, 2012), 235–257.

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obtain more space for residential usage drove the Pio family, settled in the northern sector (the Rocca Nuova), to add an additional L-shaped construction by making use of pre-existing underlying structures. The eastern part of this construct contained the two superimposed rooms called the sala dei Cervi and the sala dei Mori (previously sala magna). It is not known for certain when this addition was made, but in 1474, when Carpi was in the hands of Lionello, the father of Alberto Pio and brother-in-law of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, a notarial deed was drawn up “in the upper room called the new hall” (“in camera superior vocata la sala nova”).75 The two vast superimposed rooms, the first on the mezzanine floor and the second on the first floor measuring almost 200 m2, already existed in 1463. In the 1480s, the sala magna on the top floor was used on a regular basis. The dimensions of the room and its role in the arrangement of the court rooms are comparable to the sala delle Jole in Urbino (measuring c.8.80 x 15.60 m), which had been the centre of the first, relatively modest, palace of Federico da Montefeltro, as noted by Frommel.76 The Rocca, already described as “Nuova”, was thus characterized by the superposition of two apartments, perhaps intended for two brothers from the same branch of the family.77 The extension of the Rocca Nuova, begun in the mid-15th century and completed in the 1470s, coinciding with the death of Lionello (1477), was the structure referred to in the documents as a palatium (belonging to Lionello Pio).78 The entire residential complex was generally oriented towards the religious focal point within the citadel (the arx), namely the church of the Sagra. An entrance to the palace must have been positioned in precise correspondence with the eastern side, where traces of a portico are still visible today. Similarly to Urbino, where the entablatures of the windows attributed to Laurana were first placed on the façade overlooking the valley and then reproduced throughout the palace, in Carpi too the windows of the northern side, smaller than those made for the section overlooking the piazza, seem to establish the prototype for all the windows of the palace, including those placed at a later stage along the front which was to become the main façade. Their close coordination with the decorative apparatus of the room they provided light to 75

76 77 78

Manuela Rossi, “Dalla Sala dei Mori alla Sala grande di Palazzo dei Pio”, in Imperatori e dei. Roma e il gusto per l’antico nel Palazzo dei Pio a Carpi, ed. Manuela Rossi (Carpi: Comune di Carpi, 2006), 11–25 (11). Frommel, “Il palazzo ducale di Urbino”, 170. The question is addresed by Luisa Giordano, “La sala grande tra tardo Medioevo e primo Rinascimento”, in Imperatori e dei, 27–37 (28). Elena Svalduz, “Fabbriche infinite: il palazzo di Alberto Pio”, in Il palazzo dei Pio a Carpi, eds. Rossi and Svalduz, 71–115 (71–72).

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(called ornata) suggests they date back to the early 16th century. The high attic, which serves as the crowning element of the whole Rocca Nuova, is divided into semicircular niches and curved windows placed at the same level and framed by small pilasters, whose bases were fixed on plinths slightly jutting out over a high socle (Fig. 10.9). The motif was interrupted only on the eastern side in correspondence with the Mori chamber, but it was then further replicated and incorporated with a few variations (e.g. double pilasters, staggered niches and windows) as a unifying element for the façades of the buildings which were gradually constructed along the western side of the citadel. A similar treatment of the coping cornice has been observed in some Mantuan buildings in the past attributed to Luca Fancelli (the houses on Via Frattini and Via Franchetti, for instance)79: it presumably derives from the same all’antica motif (niche framed by an architectonic order) taken from the exedra of Trajan’s Market in Rome or the façade of the Roman Porta Borsari from nearby Verona. The end of the 15th century constituted a crucial phase in which a large part of the works intended to mitigate the military image of the palace were completed, using the Albertian concept of elegantia to produce a humanist princely residence.80 In a second, no less important, phase – coinciding with the joint rule of Carpi by the Pio and the Este (1500–1505) – traces of Ferrarese craftsmanship can be recognized.81 These Ferrarese masters must have been summoned in order to adapt the structure of the palace to its status as a peripheral seat of government. In this period, up until 1512, when Alberto obtained the full investiture of the fief of Carpi from Maximilian i, the Pio palace was no different to any other seigniorial building in the Po Valley. The geographical vicinity and intensity of the relations between the small courts had initially led the artistic choices to be modelled on the Gonzaga and Este courts. The biography of Alberto Pio, the “little mouse” in search of great palaces, also reflects this choice: at the beginning of his diplomatic career he was employed in the service of Francesco ii Gonzaga in a philo-French context which literally left traces on the palace walls (in the room of the lilies and in the Mori room, where a portrait of Louis xii was included within the painted frieze). When he entered the world of high diplomacy, having been made 79

Ludwig Heinrich Heydenreich, Architecture in Italy 1400–1500, revised by Paul Davies (London: Yale University Press 1996), 82. 80 Patrick Boucheron, Non domus ista sed urbs: Palais princiers et environnement urbain au Quattrocento (Milan, Mantoue, Urbino), in Les Palais dans la ville. Espaces urbains et lieux de la puissance publique dans la Méditerranée médiévale, eds. idem and Jacques Chiffoleau (Lyon: Presses universitaires de Lyon, 2004), 249–284. 81 Svalduz, Da castello a “città”, 82–87.

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ambassador to the papal court, he needed a palace more for representative rather than residential purposes. Indeed, he resided more and more frequently in Rome, near the house of Agostino Chigi,82 where he had the chance to get to know and to enlist in his artistic enterprises a group of innovative artists (at the forefront of which was Baldassare Peruzzi). After 1512 the palace underwent a new and intense phase of transformation. Moreover, between 1512 and 1523 other buildings in Carpi were constructed, some of which are expressly mentioned by Vasari.83 The architectural initiatives, however, became more intense around time of the election of Pope Leo x, a great friend of Alberto Pio.84 From 1514 a change in direction can be perceived in the latter’s building strategy: the abandonment of an architectural language typical of the Po Valley for the sake of an all’antica style in line with the new Bramantian and Raphaelian architecture as interpreted by Peruzzi. He thus succeeded in giving stylistic unity to his city, distinctly differentiating it from the other nearby centres. From 1514, the drawings that arrived in Carpi came from the capital, reflecting the patron’s conscious orientation towards the centre of the most avant-garde artistic production. Without wishing, or indeed being able, to give the name of a single artist responsible for the design of the Pio palace and its execution, it has been shown elsewhere that Baldassare Peruzzi, the favourite architect of Alberto after 1514, played a fundamental role. The construction process was particularly complex and extended over a long period of time. A postponement of one of the construction phases to some time between the first and second decade of the 16th century (as attested by the date of 1518 recorded on one of the walls now incorporated within the internal walling of the palace) would allow us to add a new element to the list of works the prince of Carpi commissioned from Baldassare Peruzzi, considering the latter as the author of the overall reorganization of the seigniorial residence. From this point of view some aspects of the decorative apparatus (from the salone dell’Episcopio in Ostia to the sala delle Prospettive in the villa of Agostino Chigi), similar to those in Carpi in their approach and treatment of the surfaces covered by the decorations, would validate a chronological shift of these works to a decade earlier than the traditional date (1506). Without eliminating the works of the Paduan masters and the teams involved 82

Christoph L. Frommel, “La villa Farnesina”, in La villa Farnesina Roma, ed. idem (Modena: Panini, 2003), 9–144, (15). 83 Elena Svalduz, “Bellissime investigazioni: su alcuni progetti di Baldassarre Peruzzi per Alberto Pio da Carpi”, in Baldassarre Peruzzi (1481–1536), eds. Christoph Luitpold Frommel et al. (Venice: Marsilio, 2005), 181–197. 84 Svalduz, Da castello a “città”, 136–144.

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in the decoration already present since 1505 (under the coordination of Giovanni Del Sega, a student of Melozzo da Forlì to whom many works have been attributed relating to this construction, and in particular its decoration), the Sienese architect gave a new dimension to the entire project. Luisa Giordano, who was the first to draw the attention of scholars to the originality of the Pio palace, considers the courtyard to be the “decisive element” in the reconversion of the old medieval fortress into a Renaissance palace.85 In addition to being developed out of proportion to the residential nucleus, it was also clearly moved to the south. The height of the first storey is completely independent from those of the adjacent buildings constructed earlier. However, its unusual present-day position is understandable if we consider the aggregative function of the courtyard with respect to the many spaces and buildings around it. Yet the impression of seeming uniformity one can get after entering the palace falls apart on closer examination of the construction. The courtyard has a square structure delimited by a portico with eight marble columns on each side, covered with double barrel vaults on the ground floor and a cloister vault on the first floor, where the loggias are lit by broad windows. The entablature, which runs tangentially along the lintels of the arches, contains the underlying reliefs of the pilaster strips, which are in turn supported by corbels, aligned with the columns and framed by the windows of the first floor. The bases and capitals of the pilaster strips are made of brick, as are all the other elements of the moulding, including the window ledges. The relief of the pilaster strips continues in the second entablature, while in the centre of each section of the frieze small oculus windows open up. On the top floor, the pilaster strips are projected in line with the two inferior orders: a sort of detached order is thus created, the role of which is to frame the rest, given that it runs along the rectangular windows opened during the 19th-­ century restorations. The general design (arches on columns on the first floor; pilasters framing the windows on the second) can clearly be traced back to the design of the courtyard of the ducal palace of Urbino, give or take a few differences already mentioned: in Carpi the corner solution, for instance, is taken up through the simple repetition of the columns on which, following the architectonic order, a pilaster strip is superimposed folded like a book, as is the underlying corbel, followed by the detached pilaster strip of the third level. In comparison with the courtyard of the ducal palace of Urbino, in Carpi it is not so much the 85 Giordano, Il cortile, 670.

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homogeneity as the variety of the forms that creates the prevailing impression. The detailed analysis of the capitals shows this particularly clearly.86 The works belonging to the more advanced construction phase (between the first and second decade of the 16th century) overall reveal a certain ability by the architects to reorganize the pre-existing buildings as a whole and give them a new dimension. This can be perceived in the discontinuity between the main staircase and the vast rectangular space before the loggia to which it leads, with Doric rather than Corinthian pilasters, which support three cloister vaults on a square base, thus anticipating the structure of the upper part of the building above the loggias. The latter are made up of a series of bays covered by cloister vaults framed by arches. This is a variation on the system of vaults which had been previously planned (with beams and coffered ceilings instead of vaults) and can be associated with the structure of Raphael’s Vatican loggias, completed in 1515. Along with the definition of the courtyard, the façade of the seigniorial residence was completed and overlooked the new piazza dominated by the collegiate church founded in 151587 at the instigation of Alberto Pio, which is now a cathedral. Much like a screen that unifies a cluster of heterogeneous buildings, emphasizing the external rear walls of the citadel, the external façade concludes the process of palace reorganization, setting itself in relation to the whole further development of the entire urban structure. Faced with a functional and operational programme with so many layers, and spanning the second half of the 15th century to the 1620s, the question of attribution seems secondary. From this point of view the situation is very similar to that in Urbino: there was no single person responsible for the creation of the palace. Rather, it seems as though craftsmen and architects who were not from Carpi were successively appealed to for solutions to specific problems. In this teamwork the patron’s role was crucial, especially with regard to the range of knowledge and contacts he could bring into play, well beyond the Po Valley. After 1513, once Alberto Pio was permanently residing in Rome and coming into contact with the artists of Leon x’s court, he saw Baldassare Peruzzi as the architect capable of giving form to his ambitious projects. We could suggest a direct relationship between the palace in Carpi and the description of the reorganization works on pre-existing buildings which Sebastiano Serlio included in his Libro settimo, providing graphic solutions that clearly show the influence of his master, Baldassare Peruzzi.88 Serlio also 86 Svalduz, “Fabbriche infinite”, 92–98. 87 Eadem, Da castello a “città”, 192–195. 88 Howard Burns, “Baldassarre Peruzzi and Sixteenth-Century Architectural Theory”, in Les traités d’architecture de la Renaissance, ed. Jean Guillaume (Paris: Picard, 1988), 207–226 (217).

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produced some drawings, although of other palaces (Ricci in Montepulciano, or for the Rocca Sinibalda), demonstrating his ability to overcome difficult situations and accommodate pre-existing structures; that is, his capacity to offer – in his own words – “many inventions for strange accidents” (“molte inventioni di strani accidenti”), transforming “different sites, from different angles, and strange shapes, all out of square” (“siti diversi, di diversi angoli, e strane forme, tutte fuori di squadro”) into “comfortable and beautiful residences” (“comoda e bella habitatione”).89 In the second, fuller edition of his Lives, in a discussion of the projects developed by Peruzzi for the façade of the basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, Vasari claims in any case that “it would be impossible to praise enough the wonderful inventions found not to destroy the old parts already built and to join them to the new parts”90 (“non si potrebbono mai bastevolmente lodare le bellissime investigazioni trovate per non ruinare il vecchio, che era murato e fatto, e congiungerlo col nuovo”). To conclude, the transformation of the castle into a palace was a way for Alberto Pio to achieve three fundamental objectives: to house some of the state offices, such as the chancellery; to endow the residence with new reception rooms and routes; and to connect the new piazza with the area where the church of the Sagra underwent renovation from 1514. The relations between the castle (arx) and the new piazza (forum) were not broken but rather stabilized and channelled into the new, imposing “hub”: the palace of Alberto Pio. Two centuries after the end of his dominion it was still considered “worthy of a crown prince”, endowed as it was “in its courtyard with many marble columns with porticoes, and corridors overhead, luxurious apartments, a church, a theatre, halls, and everything that can decorate a royal palace”.91 In 1599, in view of the size of its internal spaces and the plethora of possible uses, the dukes of Ferrara even seriously considered the possibility of turning it into a court palace.92 The grand residence of the ruler of a state, however small, would have become one of the many palaces spread out over the composite territory of the Este estates. 89

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Sebastiano Serlio, Architettura civile. Libri Sesto Settimo e Ottavo nei manoscritti di Monaco e Vienna, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1994) in particular xxvi (Francesco Paolo Fiore, Introduzione), 271, 357 and 371–372. Giorgio Vasari, Le Vite de’ più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani, da Cimabue insino a’ tempi nostri [Florence 1550], eds. Luciano Bellosi and Aldo Rossi, 2 vols. (Turin: Einaudi, 1991), ii, 686. Natale Marri, Memorie storico critico-toppograffiche della città di Carpi, eds. Marzia Dezzi Bardeschi and Cinzia Rossi (Carpi: Fondazione cassa di Risparmio di Carpi, 2002), 106–107 (“nella corte di moltissime collone di marmo con portici reali, di sopra corridori, nobilissimi appartamenti, chiesa, teatro, sale e di tutto ciò che può condecorare un palaggio reale”). The episode is discussed in Marco Folin, Rinascimento estense. Politica, cultura, istituzioni di un antico Stato italiano (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2001), 356.

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Figure 10.1

Urbino, Ducal Palace, courtyard.

Figure 10.2

Carpi, Pio Palace, courtyard.

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Urbino, Ducal Palace, plan of the ground floor. 1 Entrance; 2 Courtyard; 3 Staircase; 4 Hanging garden; 5 Cortile del Gallo; 6 Cortile del Pasquino.

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Figure 10.4

Urbino, Ducal Palace, plan of the first floor. 1 Throne hall; 2 Room of the Angels; 3 Duke’s bedroom; 4 Audience hall; 5 Studiolo; 6 Chapel of Guidobaldo.

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Reconstruction of the pre-existing sections in the area of the Ducal Palace and the old cathedral of Urbino according to Höfler 2006. 1 Cathedral; 1a Bell tower of the cathedral; 2 House of the canons; 3 Palace of the bishop; 4 Palace of the podestà; 5 New house of the priors; 6 Massaria of the Montefeltro; 7 House of the Aldovrandi notaries; 8 Jewish Isais house; 9 House of the heirs of Lante Lorni; 10 Dominican church; 11 Houses demolished during the 16th century; 12 Castellare; 13 Montefeltro’s Palace; 14 Old Palace of Count Antonio; 15 Porta nuova.



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Figure 10.6

Carpi, Pio Palace, plan of the ground floor. 1 Clock Tower; 2 Cortile d’Onore; 3 Vano del Guerriero/Palace entrance; 4 North courtyard; 5 Estense Hall; 6 Uccelliera e Ninfeo Tower; 7 Rocca vecchia; 8 Passerino Tower; 9 Rocca nuova; 10 Lionello extension; 11 Grand staircase; 12 Galasso or degli Spagnoli Turret; 13 Rocca Vecchia.

“Small Mice, Large Palaces”

Figure 10.7

Urbino, Ducal Palace, courtyard, detail of a capital.

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1 2

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Figure 10.8

Carpi, Pio Palace, plan of the first floor. 1 The upper part of the building above the loggias; 2 Reception rooms; 3 Sala Grande (called dei Mori); 4 Chapel; 5 Sala dell’Amore; 6 Sala dei Trionfi; 7 Sala Ornata; 8 Vertical connection/upper Studiolo; 9 Sala della Dama; 10 Este addition; 11 Clock Tower; 12 Galasso or degli Spagnoli Turret; 13 Rocca vecchia.

Figure 10.9

Carpi, Pio Palace, detail of the main façade.

chapter 11

The Medici Palace, Cosimo the Elder, and Michelozzo: A Historiographical Survey Emanuela Ferretti* The Medici Palace has long been recognized as an architectural icon of the Florentine Quattrocento. This imposing building, commissioned by Cosimo di Giovanni de’ Medici (1389–1464), is a palimpsest that reveals complex layers rooted in the city’s architectural, urban, economic, and social history. A symbol – just like its patron – of a formidable era of Italian art, the palace on the Via Larga represents a key moment in the development of the palace type and and influenced every other Italian centre. Indeed, it is this building that scholars have identified as the prototype for the urban residence of the nobility.1 The aim of this chapter, based on a great wealth of secondary literature, including articles, essays, and monographs, is to touch upon several themes and problems of relevance to the Medici Palace, some of which remain unresolved or are still debated in the current scholarship. After delineating the basic construction chronology, this chapter will turn to questions such as the patron’s role in the building of his family palace, the architecture itself with regards to its spatial, morphological, and linguistic characteristics, and finally the issue of authorship. We can try to draw the state of the literature: this preliminary historiographical survey comes more than twenty years after the monograph edited by Cherubini and Fanelli (1990)2 and follows an extensive period of innovative study of the Florentine early Quattrocento,3 as well as the fundamental works * I would like to thank Nadja Naksamija who checked the English translation, showing many kindnesses. 1 For a discussion of the importance of Cosimo’s palace as a prototype within the Italian context, see Marco Folin, “La dimora del Principe”, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa: luoghi, spazi, architettura, eds. Donatella Calabi and Elena Svalduz (Vicenza: Angelo Colla, 2010), 345–365. 2 Palazzo Medici Riccardi di Firenze, eds. Giovanni Cherubini and Giovanni Fanelli (Florence: Giunti, 1990). 3 This bibliography is vast; worthy of mention are the following studies: Staale SindingLarsen, “A tale of two cities. Florentine and Roman visual context for fifteenth-century ­palaces”, Acta ad Arcaeologiam et Artium Historiam Pertinentia vi (1975): 163–212; Francis W. Kent, “The Making of a Renaissance Patron of Arts”, in A Florentine Patrician and his Palace. Giovanni Rucellai ed il suo Zibaldone, ii (London: The Warburg Institute-University

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_012

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by Dale Kent on Cosimo the Elder4 and Francesco Caglioti on the commissioning of Donatello’s David and Judith.5 The latter study has tackled these two sculptural masterpieces – both illustrious residents of the Medici Palace until 1495 – within a vast network of interwoven plotlines, some of which also relate to architecture (Fig. 11.1).

Construction Chronology

Cosimo the Elder launched his building campaign in the early months of 1445.6 In a letter addressed to Giovanni di Cosimo de’ Medici (1421–1463) dating from March of that year there is a description of the demolition of the existing houses on the corner of Via Larga and Via Gori – described as the “dismantling of the corner” (il disfacimento del canto) – in view of the construction of the new palace.7 “The demolition is a marvel to see” (È tutto sgombro che è una magnificentia a vedere), went on the letter with regards to the clearing of the area earmarked for the new palace, which was also described in the tax declaration of 1446 as being under construction.8 In actuality, despite the importance of the project,

4 5 6

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of London, 1981), 9–65; Brenda Preyer, “The Rucellai Palace”, ibid., 155–225; Richard A. Goldthwaite, The Building of Renaissance Florence. An Economic and Social History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980); Brenda Preyer, “The ‘Chasa over Palagio’ of Alberto di Zanobi: a Florentine Palace of about 1400 and its Later Remodelling”, The Art Bulletin 65 (1983): 387–401; Francis Francis W. Kent, “Palaces, Politics and Society in fifteenth-century Florence”, I Tatti Studies: Essays in the Renaissance 2 (1987): 41–70; Francis W. Kent, “Il palazzo, la famiglia, il contesto politico”, Annali di Architettura 2 (1990): 59–72. The post-1990 bibliography pertaining to issues regarding fifteenth-century Florentine architecture and relevant to the study of the Medici Palace will be cited in subsequent pages of this paper. See Dale W. Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florentine Renaissance (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000). Francesco Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, 2 vols. (Florence: Olschki, 2000). See Dale V. Kent, Francis W. Kent, “Two Comments of March 1445 on the Medici Palace”, The Burlington Magazine cxxi (1979): 795–796. This paper gives more details about the date of circa 1444, first suggested by Aby Warburg, “Der Baubeginn des Palazzo Medici”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz ii (1908–1911): 87; concering the date of 1446 proposed later on, see Isabelle Hyman, “Notes and Speculations on S. Lorenzo, Palazzo Medici, and an Urban Project by Brunelleschi”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (1975): 100–102. Ser Alessio Galluzzi to Giovanni de’ Medici, 13 March 1445 (stile corrente) in Florence, Archivio di Stato, Mediceo avanti il principato, vii, 253, quoted in Kent and Kent, “Two Comments”, 795. See Hyman, “Notes and Speculations”, 102, n. 24.

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documentation regarding its construction is rather scarce and can be found primarily in an account book pertaining to the basilica of San Lorenzo.9 In addition to the accountancy relative to the construction of the new basilica, this source also contains explicit references to the Medici Palace, weaving together, among other things, a lost “book of the palace of Cosimo” (libro di palagio di Cosimo) – that is, the “libro della muraglia” dedicated entirely to the accounts concering the construction of the palace. This missing source, otherwise available for numerous other Florentine palaces from the Renaissance,10 would have put to rest a great many doubts still surrounding the Medici Palace. Nevertheless, some indirect documentation is still available, and has yet to be properly identified. Significantly, 1447 was the year in which Cosimo de’ Medici reintroduced the Feast of the Magi (depicted in the pictorial cycle by Benozzo Gozzoli in the chapel of the palace) after a long period of suspension. Michelozzo, a member of the Company of the Magi, in charge of organizing the festivities, was called in to take part in these preparations, which involved a lavish procession from the church of San Marco to the city centre along the Via Larga,11 where the construction of Cosimo’s residence was under way. The date of Cosimo’s move to the new palace – which can thus be considered the moment when the building works were drawing to an end – is also uncertain, proposed by some to be 1456 and by others 1458, the year in which the patron’s tax declaration, the portata al catasto, was drawn up at the new residence.12 Already by 1457, however, the palace could accommodate important works of art, such as the two busts of Piero and Giovanni de’ Medici intended for their respective chambers. In the same year, the commissioning of Donatello’s Judith was under way; the statue and its columnar 9

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This ledger is the point of departure for the work of Isabelle Hyman, Fifteenth Century Florentine Studies: The Palazzo Medici and Ledger for the Church of San Lorenzo (New York and London: Garland, 1977, submitted as a Ph.D. dissertation in 1968). See Vanna Arrighi, “Il libro dei conti ‘Libro di debitori e creditori’ tenuto per Bartolomeo Scala da Francesco di Luca Seralbizzi”, in La casa del cancelliere: documenti e studi sul palazzo di Bartolomeo Scala a Firenze, ed. Anna Bellinazzi (Florence: Edifir, 1998), 13–58; Vanna Arrighi, Elisabetta Insabato, “I ‘libri di muraglia’ negli archivi familiari fiorentini: un primo censimento”, in Architettura e identità. I, eds. Lucia Corrain and Francesco Paolo Di Teodoro (Florence: Olschki, 2013), 341–354, with an exhaustive bibliography. Rab Hatfield, “The Compagnia de’ Magi”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 33 (1970): 113. Preyer, “The Rucellai Palace”, 183, n. 4, suggests the date of 1456. In disagreement with this date are Howard Saalman and Philip Mattox, “The First Medici Palace”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 44 (1985): 329, who propose 1458 as the post quem date on the basis of the tax declaration (portata al Catasto) cited by Hyman, Fifteenth Century, 78.

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base were intended to adorn the garden of Cosimo’s new palace, starting in the late 1460s.13

The Urban Context

The Medici Palace is situated at the heart of the Gonfalone del Leon d’Oro in the Florentine district (quartiere) of San Giovanni, between the fifth and the sixth circle of walls;14 the Medici, originally from the Mugello, the hilly region north of Florence, settled in this area in the first half of the 14th century.15 It is here that the most important properties of the family could be found, transformed between the 1430s and 1440s into a single large palagio complete with a hortus conclusus.16 The Via Larga was an urban axis of unprecedented size designed during the 1330s. Its dimensions were all the more extraordinary when compared with the surrounding network of narrow streets, and especially the continuation of the Via Larga itself towards the cathedral (then called Via degli Spadai, today Via Martelli), which used to be significantly narrower than its present shape, acquired only at the beginning of the 19th century.17 In his “Life of Brunelleschi” Giorgio Vasari – influenced by the Libro di Antonio Billi and by Anonimo Magliabechiano – linked the construction of the Medici Palace to a greater urban project devised by the architect, which would have included a grandiose residence in a location different from the present one.18 In fact, rejected because of its excessive size and thus its political and economic connotations, Brunelleschi’s project, according to Vasari, envisioned the construction of a magniloquent building free on three of its sides. Situated at the present site of the church of San Giovannino, opposite San Lorenzo, the palace would have served as a physical and conceptual juncture point between two squares: the piazza in front of San Lorenzo and another new empty area near San Marco, where the palace that was actually built stands today. The 13

About the two busts: Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 55ff; he has shown conclusively that the Judith was not part of a fountain, in contrast to what had often been previously suggested: 87 ff. 14 Giovanni Fanelli, Firenze: Architettura e città, vol. i (Florence: Sansoni, 1972), 26–36. 15 Hyman, Fifteenth Century, 44–47. 16 Doris Carl, “La casa vecchia dei Medici e il suo giardino”, in Palazzo Medici, eds. Cherubini and Fanelli, 39. 17 Caroline Elam, “Il palazzo nel contesto della città: strategie urbanistiche dei Medici nel Gonfalone del Leon d’Oro, 1415–1430”, in Palazzo Medici, eds. Cherubini and Fanelli, 44. 18 Ibid.

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solution thus conceived would have given rise to a palace type hitherto reserved exclusively for public buildings, be it secular or religious, which would have, therefore, come dangerously close to inciting envy.19 The story of Brunelleschi’s project being rejected by the patron immortalized in the words of Vasari must have taken shape during the Medici papacy of Leo x (1513–1521). At that time, the Florentine urban context into which Cosimo’s palace was inserted must have seemed quite modest in comparison with that of papal Rome, marked by the great transformations carried out under Julius ii (1503–1513) and his Medici successor.20 Although Brunelleschi’s project for the Medici should probably be relegated to the realm of myth, one should nevertheless keep in mind the spatial relations between the residence of Cosimo the Elder and the Via Larga, the San Lorenzo complex, and other religious poles of Medicean authority (first and foremost, the convents of San Marco and Santissima Annunziata). Equally important was the choice of the corner location for the new building, clearly preferred to the alternative idea of remodelling the adjacent old house of the Medici. As Caroline Elam has argued, the modern viewer – who considers the square to have been the ideal form of Renaissance urban planning – may have lost the sense of the importance of the street corner, which was in fact deeply rooted in the mind of the 14th- and 15th-century viewer, especially in Florence.21 Indeed, the corner section of the Medici Palace was highlighted on the first floor by a monumental coat of arms of the family, while on the ground floor – through a contrasting play of volumes and voids – the powerfully rusticated walls dematerialized in the grand arches of the built-in loggia.22 Moreover, as one approached from the Via degli Spadai – that is, from the direction of the cathedral – this angle was brought into relief even further because of the widening of the area in front of the small medieval church of San Giovannino.23 19 20 21

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Hyman, “Notes and Speculations”, 108. This issue is meticulously reconstructed in Elam, “Il palazzo nel contesto della città”, 44–47. Ibid., 47: “[…] poiché ormai siamo abituati […] a considerare ideale urbanistico la piazza costruita in modo coerente su un asse che fa da punto focale con gli edifici collocati al centro, abbiamo forse perduto il senso dell’angolo, così radicato nella coscienza dell’osservatore nel Trecento e Quattrocento, soprattutto a Firenze”. For the function of the loggia in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and in the Medici Palace in particular, see Richard A. Goldthwaite, “The Florentine Palace as Domestic Architecture”, The American Historical Review 77 (1972): 981–985. For the closing off of the loggia, see in this paper n. 96. The church (built in 1351) and the square in front of it were transformed respectively starting in 1579 (by Bartolomeo Ammannati) and 1655 (regularizing of the area with regards to

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One may add that when Cosimo began the construction of his palace, the opposite street corner was already occupied by the palagio of the Della Casa, under construction from around 1411 and subsequently incorporated into the 17th-century Panciatichi Palace.24 Giovanni Cavalcanti, who witnessed the start of the works for the palace of the Della Casa, wrote that he saw one of its corners built atop a pillar of a bridge “over the Mugnone”; when Cosimo began work on his palace, he too encountered very thick walls under the foundations.25 In addition to establishing the importance of the palace corners (canti) for the definition of the urban fabric, Cavalcanti’s account thus also highlighted the presence of a bridge that probably spanned the moat surrounding the city walls (this was the first circle of walls built in the communal period, but the fifth in all).26 His mention of “enormous walls” (grossissime mura) in the foundations of Cosimo’s palace may be a reference to the remnants of this medieval protective enclosure, but it may have also been a symbolically resonant reference to the palace as a “bastion along a wide and straight street with a military character”.27 Coinciding with the period in which the construction of the Medici Palace began, Dietisalvi Neroni (a member of a family with close ties to the Medici until the conspiracy of 1466) was starting work on his own palace on a parallel street, called Via dei Ginori, adjacent to Cosimo’s garden. Neroni’s property efforts included the remaking and improvement (including in a social sense) of a wide area of the medieval city, which was peppered with hovels, dark and narrow alleyways, and a public (and morally ambiguous) bath house for women, the so-called stufa delle donne.28

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the front of the church): see Giuseppe Richa, Notizie Istoriche delle Chiese Fiorentine, vol. 5 (Florence: Stamperia di Pietro Gaeatano Vivani, 1757), 144–145. Anna Floridia, Palazzo Panciatichi in Firenze (Rome: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Treccani, 1993), 18–19. “Viddi fondare un canto del palagio di Agnolo di Ghezzo [Della Casa] in sulla coscia d’un ponte che attraversava la Via dal detto canto a San Giovannino de Gori, sotto il quale intesi che correva Mugnone. E di poi quando si fondò il palagio bello di Cosimo, nel cupo delle fondamenta si trovò grossissime mura”. The ‘Trattato politico-morale’ of Giovanni Cavalcanti, (1381–c. 1451). A Critical Edition and Interpretation, ed. Marcella T. Grendler (Geneva: Droz, 1973), 99, quoted in Floridia, Palazzo Panciatichi, 15. For the fifth circle of walls of Florence, see Fanelli, Firenze, vol. i, 24–25. Roberto Gargiani, Princìpi e costruzione nell’architettura italiana del Quattrocento (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2003), 75: “Decisiva è la modifica delle dimensioni delle singole pietre che divengono ciclopiche, montate in modo che le facce di alcune di loro sporgano sino a 30 centrimetri configurando il baluardo di una strada larga e rettilinea a carattere militare”. Pietro Ruschi, “Le ‘case’ dei Neroni nella Via del borgo San Lorenzo. Un’importante vicenda urbana e architettonica nella Firenze di metà Quattrocento”, in Palazzo Neroni a Firenze. Storia, architettura, restauro, ed. Paola Benigni (Florence: Edifir, 1996), 47–74.

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Moreover, the Cambini and the Ginori families (both close friends of the Medici) transferred to Cosimo some of their property on via Ginori in order to facilitate the building of his palace towards San Lorenzo.29

The Patron

The great era of construction that transformed Florence into a “city of palaces”, in the words of Benedetto Dei,30 was anchored around three precise chronological moments: from 1414 to 1423, after 1427, and from 1454 onwards.31 This tripartite chronology was dictated by specific events: 1423 marked the end of a long period of peace for Florence and the beginning of its conflict with Milan. The year 1427 saw the establishment of the catasto,32 the new instrument of taxation, which had direct consequences for the construction of new patrician palaces (which were exempt from tax if they were a family’s principal residence) but also for the use of these buildings, given the permanent removal of shops from their ground floors.33 Finally, the Peace of Lodi, signed in 1454, inaugurated a new period of stability and brought about a drastic diminution of onerous loans for wealthier citizens. Within this temporal frame there was yet another highly significant occurrence: in 1444 Cosimo de’ Medici and his faction managed to impose the creation of a balìa – a type of authority endowed with extraordinary powers – which was intended for emergency situations, but which the Medici used as an instrument of control over the city’s 29

30 31

32 33

Dale Kent, The Rise of the Medici. Faction in Florence 1426–1434 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1978): 70; Sergio Tognetti, Affari e mercati di una compagnia mercantile-bancaria nella Firenze del xv secolo (Florence: Olschki 1999), 78–79. Benedetto Dei, La Cronica dall’anno 1400 all’anno 1500, ed. Roberto Barducci, preface by Anthony Molho (Florence: Francesco Papafava, 1985): 78. Nicolai Rubinstein, “Palazzi pubblici e palazzi privati al tempo del Brunelleschi, problemi di storia politica e sociale”, in Filippo Brunelleschi: la sua opera e il suo tempo (Florence: Centro Di, 1980), vol. i, 28–29. Emilio Conti, L’imposta diretta a Firenze nel Quattrocento (1427–1494) (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 1984). The spaces that did not produce income were not taxed, which may have been one of the motivations for the elimination of shops from the ground floors of Florentine palaces. Brenda Preyer, “The ‘Chasa over Palagio’ of Alberto di Zanobi: A Florentine Palace of About 1400 and its Late Remodelling”, The Art Bulletin 65 (1983): 393. As argued by Belli, the lack of shops on the ground floor was a distinct marker of the palace owner’s social status. Gianluca Belli, “Gli spazi del mercante e dell’artefice nella Firenze del Quattrocento”, in Nati sotto Mercurio. Le architetture del mercante nel Rinascimento fiorentino, eds. Donata Battilotti, Amedeo Belluzzi and Gianluca Belli (Florence: Polistampa, 2011), 60–61.

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political life for many years, displacing the traditional governing bodies of the Florentine Republic.34 The qualitative leap made by Cosimo on the political stage was immediately echoed in the launching of the most important of a series of architectural commissions for which he was responsible:35 his own palace. As the head of a great banking enterprise of pan-European relevance, Cosimo – after more than twenty years of war and heavy financial contributions paid into the state coffers – was the only man in Florence capable of undertaking a project of this magnitude. His exceptional architectural patronage in the context of early Quattrocento Italy has by now become a well-established topos in the history of Renaissance art;36 in particular, emphasis has been placed on the close relationship between the promotion of architectural works and the idea of magnificence, which was articulated and developed in theoretical writings and treatises in this period.37 The extent to which these aspects characterized a complex and nuanced figure such as Cosimo has been a topic of a vast and elaborate debate, analysed in depth in the rich bibliography38 that has traced down precise references to the theories of Alberti and others.39 Biographies of Cosimo have underlined abundantly, and in apologetic tones, his role as a promoter of the arts, as further emphasized in the poetic writings celebrating the most important fruits of his patronage.40 Moreover, considerations found in the twentieth book of Filarete’s treatise have also been of great importance: here, the author provided a list of 34

Nicolai Rubinstein, The Government of Florence Under the Medici, 1434 to 1494 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966), 21–22, 124–127. 35 Up until then, Cosimo had devoted himself to the construction of religious buildings in and out of the city, whilst, for his private use, he had invested in the ancestral lands of the Mugello, north of Florence, from which the family originated (with the restructuring of the Trebbio and Cafaggiolo residences), and in the villa at Careggi on the edge of the city. See Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici, with bibliography for each site. 36 Alison Brown, “The Humanist Portrait of Cosimo de’ Medici, Pater Patriae”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 24 (1961): 186–221; Anthony David Fraser Jenkins, “Cosimo de’ Medici’s Patronage of Architecture and Theory of Magnificence”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 33 (1970): 162–170; Goldthwaite, “The Florentine Palace”, 991–992; Kent, “Palaces, Politics”, 43–44, 62–64; Nicolai Rubinstein, “Cosimo optimus civis”, in: Cosimo “il Vecchio” de’ Medici, 1389–1464, ed. Francis Ames-Lewis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 5–20; Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici, 117–121. 37 Fraser Jenkins, “Cosimo de’ Medici’s Patronage”, 162–170; Gene Brucker, Renaissance Florence (New York: Wiley, 1969), 103, 107–108. 38 Brown, “The Humanist Portrait of Cosimo”; Antonio Natali, L’umanesimo di Michelozzo (Florence: Studio Per Edizioni Scelte 1980; Florence-Siena: Maschietto & Musolino, 1996), 22–28; Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici, 107–115. 39 Fraser Jenkins, “Cosimo de’ Medici’s Patronage”, 163; Rubinstein, “Palazzi pubblici”, 30. 40 Caglioti, Donatelo e i Medici, vol. i, 12–21.

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buildings commissioned by Cosimo and, while mentioning the names of many workers, emphasized above all Cosimo’s role as the originator of these projects, presented almost as having an authorial role.41 Scholars have long wondered about the significance of the palace in Via Larga in the context of Cosimo’s considerable architectural activity. This question has been part of a broader investigation into the motivations behind the construction of a great number of palaces in 15th-century Florence, with an emphasis on the social and economic role they played in the Renaissance city. Richard Goldthwaite saw the construction of these palaces as a consequence of a new structure of the Florentine family, which moved from the extended family group, typical of the medieval consorterie, to the establishement of the “conjugal family”, in which personal property was kept separate from that of close relatives.42 According to this interpretation, the palace would have constituted the clearest confirmation of the patron’s wish to represent himself in the urban context not as a member of an extended clan but rather as a single individual, tied to a circumscribed family nucleus. This interpretation has been revisited by Rubinstein and especially by F.W. Kent, who has demonstrated that there was actually no radical fissure between medieval corporatism, on the one hand, and Renaissance individualism, on the other. According to Kent, the palace was the expression of the power and wealth of the family, and the family’s insertion into its respective gonfalone was even more important than its presence in a more prestigious or convenient location inside the city.43 The motives that induced people to “turn into stone” enormous amounts of money were thus the expression of the gradual “aristocratization” of the economically dominant classes, which subsequently led to something of a homogenization between the old and the new families within the city’s oligarchy.44 Seen from this perspective, the construction of a palace was a way to distinguish oneself from the lower classes and give concrete form to one’s social status; it was a “manifesto” of nobility45 in an urban context characterized by a close connection between the aristocracy and the city.46 In this sense, Cosimo’s palace assumed a special role, becoming a secondary, if not alternative, seat for the government of Florence.47 It was this circumstance that, in an extraordinary game of mirrors, 41 42 43 44

45 46 47

Fraser Jenkins, “Cosimo de’ Medici’s Patronage”, 169. Goldthwaite, “The Florentine Palace”, 991. Kent, “Palaces, Politics”, 48. On these issues, see Gene A. Brucker, Renaissance Florence, 89–91; Philip Jones, “Economia e società nell’Italia Medievale”, in Storia d’Italia. Annali, vol. i (Turin: Einaudi, 1978), 245–247. Kent”,Palaces, Politics”, 54. Jones, “Economia e società”, 249. Kent, “Palaces, Politics”, 62–63.

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eventually gave the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio a look closely linked to that of the Medici residence.48 Caglioti’s studies on the commissioning of Donatello’s David and Judith have shown how Cosimo and Piero de’ Medici entered into an open competition with the great public commissions, emulating their characteristics in the decoration of their interiors.49 In addition, the Medici used images, as well as architecture, in both a political and personal sense, making direct references to Augustan and Imperial Rome.50 Indeed, the palace in Via Larga, designed to appear heroic and celebrated in literary works composed specifically to eulogize it, was covered in classicizing references in its façades and ornamentation.51 Cosimo, and later his son Piero, wove a dense web of references to ancient Rome into the architecture and the precious and varied decorations – from the heavy rustication of the exterior,52 to the columns of the courtyard, to the smallest of ornaments – which inspired the chronicler Giovanni Calvacanti to compare the Medici Palace to the Roman Colosseum.53 This conceptual framework seems also to have informed the principal plan of the palace in terms of its sequence from the hallway to the porticoed courtyard to the garden, anticipating the attempts at rehearsing the configuration of the ancient domus, which would come to characterize the architecture of the second half of the 15th century,54 resulting in projects such as the palace of the “Medicean” Bartolomeo Scala.55 48

Nicolai Rubinstein, The Palazzo Vecchio 1298–1532 (London: Clarendon Press, 1995), 28, 131, 134, 144–145. 49 Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 216. 50 Ibid., vol. i, 242. 51 See infra n. 102 52 Rab Hatfiled, “Some Unknow Descriptions of the Medici Palace in 1459”, Journal of Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 33 (1970): 107–161. 53 “Ed ora che non c’è più da murare fratescamente, [Cosimo] ha cominciato un palagio, al quale sarebbe a lato il Culiseo di Roma disutile”, Giovanni Cavalcanti, Istorie fiorentine (Florence: Tipografia all’Insegna di Dante, 1839) vol. ii, 210. The quotation is discussed in Kent, “Cosimo de’ Medici’s Patronage”, 223 and by Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 217; see also, Massimo Bulgarelli, Leon Battista Alberti. 1404–1472. Architettura e storia (Milan: Electa, 2008), 102. 54 Cristoph L. Frommel, “Abitare all’antica. Il Palazzo e la Villa da Brunelleschi a Palladio”, in Rinascimento da Brunelleschi a Michelangelo. La rappresentazione dell’architettura, eds. Henry Millon and Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani (Milan: Bompiani, 1994), 183–204; Georgia Clarke, Roman House-Renaissance Palaces: Inventing Antiquity in FifteenthCentury Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 255–273. 55 Linda Pellecchia, “Architects read Vitruvius: Renaissance Interpretations of the Atrium of the Ancient House”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 51 (1992): 377–416; Arnaldo Bruschi, “Brunelleschi e la nuova architettura fiorentina”, in Storia dell’architettura

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The Building and Its Architect

The Medici Palace can be understood as a real “point of accumulation”, in which elements of the Florentine tradition, both distant and close, come together with a range of original compositional and spatial elaborations. The building, therefore, establishes a rich dialogue with the themes developed in previous decades (which were themselves informed by medieval examples),56 combining them with original solutions. A new standard was thus established in terms of spatial rationalization, circulation, and functions, as celebrated (in anticipation of the building’s completion) in Filarete’s treatise, which provides a detailed description of the palace.57 Thanks to the richness of its interior decoration, Cosimo’s residence could be defined today as a “veiled royal palace”,58 or what in the 15th century was known as a palace “rege dignum”, worthy of a king, for Pope Pius ii Piccolomini.59 The regularity and the rationality of the floor plan are qualities that have been recognized in the existing scholarship, which has identified them as principal distinctive characteristics, much more innovative than the articulation of the façades. As to the shape of the courtyard, its four sides do not have the same dimensions: the side opposite the entrance (the western section) is expanded in width and covered by a barrel vault ceiling, creating a space for feasts and celebrations. Of particular interest is the sequence of empty and built spaces organized along visual axes studded with sculptural moments of great relevance: the main longitudinal axis is structured by a sequence composed of the hallway, the courtyard – at whose centre stands Donatello’s David – the loggia and the garden; the latter was also marked by a transversal axis, and defined on the south side by the central arch of the external loggia and on the north side by Antonio Rossellino’s fountain and Donatello’s Judith. Under Piero de’ Medici the internal decoration of the hortus was completed by the addition of two ancient sculptures of Marsyas (restored by Mino da Fiesole and Verrocchio) placed to the sides of the passageway through the protective wall towards Via dei Ginori, as well as an ancient Priapus above the door leading from the garden to the loggiato.60 italiana. Il Quattrocento, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore (Milan: Electa, 1998), 105; Francesca Bordoni, “Il palazzo di Bartolomeo Scala”, Bollettino del Centro di Studi per la Storia dell’Architettura 42–44 (2005/07 [2009]): 263–266. 56 Preyer, “The ‘casa o ver palagio’”, 391–392. 57 Antonio Averlino known as il Filarete, Trattato di architettura, eds. Anna Maria Finoli and Liliana Grassi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1972), vol. 2, 695–698. 58 Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, xvi. 59 Enea Silvio Piccolomini, I commentarii, ed. Luigi Totaro (Milan: Adelphi, 1984), vol. i, 352. 60 Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 359–360, 372–380; vol. ii, fig. 18.

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The theme of the regularly porticoed courtyard as the truly grandiose heart of the house had already been tried out in the Busini palace and the palace of Niccolò da Uzzano,61 a continuation of the 14th-century tradition, key examples of which were the courtyard of the Bargello and the pre-Michelozzean courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio.62 The refined architectural and sculptural decoration that adorned the courtyard of the Medici Palace, however, had an added value: from the aforementioned David by Donatello to the eight roundels in the frieze above the arches,63 to a series of ancient portrait busts (including one of the Emperor Hadrian) placed in niches and crowned by large Medicean rings with pointed diamonds and feathered wings, which were located above the doors leading to the ground floor and the garden and in situ from at least the 1470s.64 The ground floor, moreover, was defined by a clear system of connections, constituted by the hallway-courtyard-stairs sequence, around which were the spaces for work and living, public and private. On the first floor, this ‘spinal cord’ was repeated in the stairs-vestibule-hall sequence: in other words, the second flight of stairs leads on to a large space (the vestibule, or ricetto) from which one enters the great hall with three windows overlooking the courtyard, whilst on the opposite side the stairs lead to the chapel. Such innovative horizontal and vertical articulation was extremely clear and functional, and it was thus unsurprisingly taken up in the Florentine palaces of the second half of the 15th century, ultimately spreading to Rome with Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and the “setta sangallesca”.65 The individual components in this type 61

Dating the Busini Palace is still an open problem. After a first date of before 1427 proposed by Saalman (who thus brought it close to Brunelleschi), the same scholar subsequently placed its construction in the 1440s, cautiously suggesting a connection with Michelozzo. Saalman and Mattox, “The first Medici palace”, 340, n. 44. Brenda Preyer suggests a probable starting date of around 1411. Preyer, “The ‘casa o ver palagio’”, 387, n. 4. 62 Hyman, Fifteenth Century, 148–164. 63 Nicole Dacos, “La fortuna delle gemme medicee nel Rinascimento”, in Il tesoro di Lorenzo il Magnifico, eds. Nicole Dacos, Antonio Giuliano and Ulrico Pannuti (Florence: Sansoni, 1972), 131–156: 147. For a discussion of the considerable bibliography concerning the significance of these roundels, see Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 394 n. 53. 64 For the columns of the courtyard, see Arnaldo Bruschi, “L’Antico e la riscoperta degli ordini architettonici nella prima metà del Quattrocento”, in Roma, centro ideale della cultura dell’Antico nei secoli xv e xvi, ed. Silvia Danesi Squarzina (Milan: Electa, 1989), 410– 434; Clarke, Roman House, 176–178. With regards to the David in the courtyard, see Caglioti Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 101–104; and for the busts, ibid., 215. 65 Gustavo Giovannoni, “Giovanni Mangone architetto”, Palladio 3 (1939): 104; Arnaldo Bruschi, “L’architettura dei palazzi romani della prima metà del Cinquecento”, in Palazzo Mattei Paganica e l’Enciclopedia italiana (Rome: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, 1996), 3–122.

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of spatial organization did not constitute a novelty in themselves;66 rather, the novelty came from their overall composition, their insertion into a geometrically structured grid. The staircase with its double parallel flights of stairs, in particular, was vaulted67 and, though still of modest dimensions, represents a significant step in the direction of ostentation and monumentality typical of the staircases of the later Renaissance and beyond.68 While the uses of the different spaces in the Medici Palace have been studied by Wolfger Bulst,69 Brenda Preyer has demonstrated the exemplary value of some of the arrangements of the rooms and their location within the palace70 (Fig. 11.2). The ground floor included an apartment in the southern wing, consisting of a large hall and a bedroom, as well as an additional smaller space through which one could reach the scrittoio (a business office or a study), located between the stairs and the corner loggia. This apartment was probably used in summer, given its proximity to the garden in the back and the adjacent loggia, to which it was directly connected by a door. The space to the north of the palace, contiguous with the garden and, again, with the porticoed wing of the courtyard, is known as the “camera grande terrena di Lorenzo”, the large ground-floor room belonging to Lorenzo.71 The camera terrena is a type of space frequently mentioned in the inventories of 15th-century Florentine palaces.72 Its function was not codified, and there are still uncertainties

66

67

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70 71 72

The type of hallway that goes through the ground floor and connects the street with the courtyard was already in place in late medieval palaces, as was also the courtyard with a loggia which looks on to it. See Saalman and Mattox, “The first Medici Palace”, 338. Ibid., 340. Howard Saalman, “The Palazzo Comunale in Montepulciano: an unknown work by Michelozzo”, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 28 1/2 (1965): 9, notes that the vaulted stairs were a novelty introduced in Tuscany around 1420, but recalls that, at the same time, the stairs of the palazzo of Uzzano-Capponi were not vaulted. Alice Jarrad, “The escalation of ceremony and ducal staircases in Italy, 1560–1680”, Annali di architettura 8 (1996 [1997]): 159–178; Linda Pellecchia, “Stepping up. Observations on the Renaissance staircase in Florence”, Opus Incertum ii (2008), 4: 42–49. Wolfger A. Bulst, “Die ursprüngliche innere Aufteilung des Palazzo Medici in Florenz”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 14 (1969–1970 [1970]), 4: 369–392; idem, “Uso e trasformazione del palazzo mediceo fino ai Riccardi”, in Palazzo Medici, eds. Cherubini and Fanelli, 98–129. Brenda Preyer, “Non solo facciate: dentro i palazzi Pazzi, Lenzi e Ridolfi Guidi”, Opus Incertum ii (2008), 4: 6–17. Libro d’inventario dei beni di Lorenzo il Magnifico, eds. Marco Spallanzani and Giovanna Gaeta Bertelà (Florence: s.p.e.s., 1992). James R. Lindow, The Renaissance Palace in Florence. Magnificence and Splendour in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Burlington: Ashgate, 2007), 123, provides an analysis of many

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as to its use in the Florentine palaces in general,73 and in the Medici Palace in particular: its location close to the loggia and the courtyard suggests uses that were not only private but also public, in addition to its possibly being meant as a summer residence or as a guest room.74 Moreover, it is as yet unclear why Lorenzo the Magnificent ended up adorning this room with the precious Battle of San Romano cycle by Paolo Uccello, which he had bought in the 1480s, as has been recently established with precision.75 On the first floor (Fig. 11.3) the residence was made up of three apartments. On the Via Larga and on Via dei Gori there were, respectively, the main apartment for Piero de’ Medici and another similar one of equal importance for Giovanni di Cosimo, and subsequently for Giuliano di Piero. Each was organized ­according to a comparable sequence of hall (sala), room (camera), anti-­ chamber (anti-camera), and study (scrittoio). Cosimo’s chambers (camera and anti-camera) were located along the south wing, overlooking the garden.76 The family chapel, the oldest surviving sacellum within the walls of a private palace in Florence,77 completed the arrangement: in this quiet space, as Leon Battista Alberti suggested, Cosimo the Elder received Galeazzo Maria Sforza in 1459.78 Once again, the distribution of rooms that can be observed in Cosimo’s palace was not an utter novelty, rehearsing, for example the sequence of rooms found in the old Medici Palace on Via Larga, with which it also shared the fact inventories from the archives of the “Magistrato dei Pupilli” preserved in the Archivio di Stato in Florence. 73 See the considerations regarding this space in Pazzi Palace: Preyer, “Non solo facciate”, 7. 74 Lindow, The Renaissance Palace, 121–122. 75 See Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 256–281, whose discoveries correct the whole of the vast preceding bibliography on this extremely important commission and the manner of its display within the palace. A reconstruction of the furniture of the room is ­provided by Anna Maria Amonaci and Andrea Baldinotti, “La camera grande terrena di Lorenzo”, in L’architettura di Lorenzo il Magnifico, eds. Gabriele Morolli, Cristina Acidini Luchinat and Luciano Marchetti (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 1992), 126–128; Andrea Baldinotti, “La giostra crudele di San Romano. Storia e immagine di una battaglia”, in Bagliori dorati. Il Gotico internazionale a Firenze 1375–1440, eds. by Antonio Natali, Enrica Neri Lusanna, Angelo Tartuferi (Florence: Giunti, 2012) 329–338: 333–337. 76 Bulst, “Uso e trasformazione”, 108–119, based on “inventory” of 1492 and on Filarete’s Treatise: see also Libro d’inventario dei beni di Lorenzo il Magnifico, eds. Spallanzani and Gaeta Bertelà. 77 Cristina Acidini Luchinat, “La Cappella medicea attraverso cinque secoli”, in Palazzo Medici, eds. Cherubini and Fanelli, 82–97; Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 298–299; Riccardo Pacciani, “Spazi e forme del culto in palazzi d’area fiorentina, 1370–1470”, Opus Incertum ii (2008), 4: 30–42. 78 Bulst, “Uso e trasformazione”, 112.

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that the most important apartment was assigned not to the head of the family, but rather to the eldest son.79 Its size and furnishings, however, were radically new. The corner hall on the piano nobile of the Medici Palace (Fig. 11.3, no. 1) – the “sala grande” – was originally of extraordinary dimensions (20 m by 9.8 m, with a height of 7  m); five windows on one side and two more on the other provided light for this vast space. The grandeur of the hall was enhanced by the presence of three paintings depicting the Labours of Hercules by Antonio Pollaiolo, as well as two other important works, namely the St John the Baptist by Andrea del Castagno and a Group of Florentine Lions by Francesco Pesellino.80 In the house of a banker as famous as Cosimo, the scrittoio – the physical and symbolic place for the family’s business – was of great importance.81 Identified as the principal seat of the Medici Bank, it was located in rooms on the ground floor, to the right of the entrance hallway. The proposals put forward by Bulst concerning the functions of these ground-floor rooms, however attentive and well thought out, can only be regarded as hypotheses; as such, they have recently been revised.82 The inventory of 1492 mentions another scrittoio in correspondence with the first landing of the principal staircase (which no longer exists), and another on the first floor, near the anti-camera of the main apartment overlooking Via Larga. This room, a precious treasure chest whose ceiling and floor were decorated by Luca della Robbia,83 held in Piero de’ Medici’s time a collection of books and precious objects that have been identified for the most part, such as the famous Farnese Cup.84 The most precious ancient gems kept in the scrittoio 79 80

81 82 83

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Saalman and Mattox, “The casa vecchia”, 341. Wolfgfer A. Bulst, “Die Sala grande des Palazzo Medici in Florenz. Rekonstruktion und Bedeutung”, in Piero de’ Medici “il Gottoso”, eds. Andreas Beyer and Bruce Boucher (Berlin: Artefakt, 1993), 89–127; Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 181. For the transformations of the hall at the end of the seventeenth century, see most recently Francesca Funis, “The floor and the ceiling of the Sala di Carlo viii in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence. 2. Craftsmen, installation and materials in the reconstruction of the hall”, in Conservation of historic wooden structures, ed. by Gennaro Tampone, vol. 2 (Florence: Collegio degli Ingegneri, 2005), 81–82; Preyer, “Non solo facciate”, 14, n. 24 where it is hypothesized that the hall of the Pazzi Palace was slightly bigger (21 m). De Roover, Il Banco dei Medici, 28. Amedeo Belluzzi, “Le architetture mercantili a Firenze nel Cinquecento”, in Nati sotto mercurio, eds. Belluzzi, Battilotti and Belli, 114–115. Giancarlo Gentilini, I Della Robbia: la scultura invetriata nel Rinascimento (Florence: Cantini, 1992), vol. i, 85; Luke Syson, “The Medici Study”, in At home in Renaissance Italy, eds. Marta Ajmar-Wollheim and Flora Dennis (London: V & A Publications, 2006), 288–293. Libro d’inventario dei beni di Lorenzo il Magnifico, 17–18; and Belli, “Gli spazi del mercante e dell’artefice nella Firenze del Quattrocento”, 57–58, 71, n. 265.

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were replicated in the marble tondi decorating the courtyard.85 Piero’s scrittoio became a true prototype, as attested by Diomedes Carafa’s request to have a reproduction of it painted in 1468.86 Of great importance, as far as decoration and furniture are concerned, was also the scrittoio of Giovanni de’ Medici, which was left unfinished at his death in 1463.87 New and important studies have been devoted to the façade of the Medici Palace as an autonomous architectural subject, with particular attention paid to the Florentine palaces of the Renaissance. Scholars have examined its semantic characteristics, its stylistic, compositional, and material qualities, as well as its iconological value.88 The subject of the façade of the patrician residence as a unified and organic palimpsest, influenced by notions of homogeneity, rationality, and geometry, was born in the communal city of the late Middle Ages. This concept of the façade was closely related to the squares and the network of public streets planned and organized by the municipal authorities,89 for whom the management of the architectural and public works became the mirror of the wealth and power of the civitas and its governing bodies. In the Florentine context of the 15th century, the façades of the palaces, with their monumentality and ubiquity within the urban fabric, created a space of great importance in the context of European urban history, which provided the grounding for the subsequent development of great Renaissance palaces.90 In this sense, the Medici Palace was representative of the definitive modern concept of the façade, which has been studied according to two main 85 86

For the tondi in the courtyard, see supra n. 63. Eve Borsook, “A Florentine Scrittoio for Diomede Carafa”, in Art, the Ape of Nature: Studies in honour of H.W. Janson (New York: Abrams, 1981), 91–96, where the influence this room had on the studiolo of Federico da Montefeltro in Urbino and in Gubbio is also recalled. 87 Amanda Lillie, “Giovanni di Cosimo and the Villa Medici at Fiesole”, in Piero de’ Medici “il Gottoso”, 191–192; Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i, 48 and n. 89. 88 David Friedman, “Il palazzo e la città: facciate fiorentine tra xiv e xv secolo”, in Il palazzo dal Rinascimento a oggi, ed. Simonetta Valtieri (Rome: Gangemi, 1989), 101–112; Gianluca Belli, “Ex quadratis lapidibus: i parametri bugnati nell’architettura del Quattrocento a Firenze” (Phd. diss., University of Florence, 1995); Gianluca Belli, “Forma e naturalità nel bugnato fiorentino del Quattrocento”, Quaderni di Palazzo Te 4 (1996): 9–35; Charles Burroughs, The Italian Renaissance Palace façade. Structures of Authority, Surfaces of Sense (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Gianluca Belli, “Il disegno delle facciate nei palazzi fiorentini del Quattrocento”, Opus Incertum ii (2008) 4: 19–30; Matteo Burioni, “Begründungen des Gemeinwesens. Performative Aspekte frühneuzeitlicher Palastfassaden”, in Das Auge der Architektur. Zur Frage der Bildlichkeit in der Baukunst, eds. Andreas Beyer, Matteo Burioni and Johannes Grave (Paderborn: Fink, 2011), 289–320. 89 Friedman, “Il palazzo e la città”, 101. 90 Ibid.

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types of observations: on the one hand, reflections on the importance of the compositional and stylistic choices, and on the other, the morphology of the rusticated surface. One piece of evidence that the historians agree on is the reference to the Palazzo della Signoria, a prototype referenced in the handling of the stone walls as well as in the absence of bays for the shops on the ground floor.91 As with their artistic patronage,92 the choice of the Palazzo della Signoria as a model confirms the aforementioned approach of Cosimo the Elder and his son Piero, competing with the great public commissions in the city. There are, however, substantial differences with regards to regularity and geometry of the façade, especially given its role as a prototype. The façade on the Via Larga is articulated through ten windowed sections (and nine on Via dei Gori), which became seventeen in Riccardi’s imitative late 17th-century extension.93 The front façade is vertically organized in three registers, differentiated with all’antica cornices at the level of the window sills (Fig. 11.4). The bold expressivity of the rough rustication on the lower level – distinctive in its naturalistic treatment and its depth of relief – stands in contrast to the two upper floors, where the pietraforte wall gradually diminishes in ruggedness towards a pseudo-isodomum solution of smooth stones on the piano nobile, and a compact and unified wall of smooth collinear stones on the top floor.94 The façade is crowned with an imposing cornice, the result of a combination of antiquarian elements assembled together with a certain degree of freedom, as on the pulpit in the cathedral of Prato,95 following a tendency that subsequently marked a particular trend in Florentine architecture in the following century. This cornice, in any case, is the first example of an all’antica cornice in the 15th century96 (Fig. 11.5). At the corner, the unified appearance of the base was interrupted by the loggia, closed off in 1517 by Michelangelo with his famous “kneeling windows”.97 91

Belli, “Forma e naturalità”, 26–27; Clarke, Roman House, 167, with previous bibliography. On the issue of the shops within the palaces constructed between the 14th and 15th ­centuries, see Preyer, “The ‘chasa o ver palagio’”, 283–284. 92 Caglioti, Donatello e i Medici, vol. i 209. 93 Frank Büttner, “‘All’usanza moderna ridotto’: gli interventi dei Riccardi”, in Palazzo Medici, eds. Cherubini and Fanelli, 156–158. 94 Some interesting observations about the facies of the rustication of the first floor of the Medici Palace can be found in Preyer, “The Rucellai Palace”, 188. 95 Gargiani, Princìpi e costruzione, 75. 96 Bruschi, “Brunelleschi”, 105. 97 Amedeo Belluzzi, “Il tema delle finestre inginocchiate nell’architettura di Bartolomeo Ammannati”, in Arti a confronto. Studi in onore di Anna Maria Matteucci, ed. Deanna Lenzi (Bologna: Editrice Compositori, 2004), 137–144; Howard Burns, Scheda n. 9 “Studio in pros-

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The regularity and the geometry of this façade have been well observed.98 However, as already noted by Francesco Milizia and more recently by Forster,99 the arrangement of the openings on the first and second floors does not strictly cohere with the great bays of the ground floor as far as the alignment of the vertical axes goes. As a result, the autonomy of the ground floor from the upper floors was emphasized, following a solution which was already used for some buildings constructed in the previous decades.100 We should indeed recall that a total homogeneity in the composition of Florentine palace façades was achieved only in the second half of the 15th century, and it was one of the most sumptuous results of the evolution of façades in that century.101 An analysis of the material character of the rustication has also enabled scholars to formulate an interesting hypothesis: the sculptural effects of the stones were verified in situ, a fact seemingly borne out by the different morphology of the blocks on the ground floor of the Via dei Gori section – which are more refined and more regular – in comparison with those on the Via Larga, which are less regular and characterized by a more rugged finish102 (Fig. 11.6). The very size of the stones of the Medici Palace is also striking, anticipating the cyclopean blocks used for the Pitti Palace. Even if the main reference point for the walls of Cosimo’s palace was the Palazzo Vecchio, the use of rustication there was enriched by additional references traceable to ancient Roman sources, of which the contemporaries were duly aware while seeking to revive its magnificence.103 This type of petto frontale e sezione, di una finestra inginocchiata per palazzo Medici di Firenze”, in Michelangelo e il disegno di architettura, ed. Caroline Elam (Venice: Marsilio, 2006): 178–181. 98 Charles R. Mack, “The Rucellai Palace: Some New Proposals”, The Art Bulletin 56 (1974): 517–529. 99 Natali, L’umanesimo, 45; Kurt W. Forster, “The Palazzo Rucellai and Questions of Typology in the Development of Renaissance Buildings”, The Art Bulletin 58 (1976): 109. 100 For the palaces constructed between the end of the fourteenth and the first decades of the fifteenth century, see Preyer, “The ‘chasa over palagio’”. 101 Belli, “Il disegno delle facciate”, 19. 102 Gargiani, Princìpi e costruzione, 75. 103 Kent, “Palaces, Politics”, 51–52. Hyman, Fifteenth Century, 87–89, 110 n. 78, recalls that Paolo Cortesi in the De Cardinalatu praised Cosimo for referencing the “forum of Trajan” in the decoration of the façades of the Medici Palace; see also Howard Burns, “Quattrocento Architecture and the Antique: Some Problems”, in Ralph Robert Bolgar, Classical Infliuence on European Culture, 500–1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 273–274. This topic becomes even more significant in Biondo Flavio (first edition 1474; the edition consulted here is: Italia Illustrata, Taurinorum [Turin: Bernardinus Sylva, 1527], 304–305): “Quid quod privatae aedes suae recens in via Lata extructae Romanorum olim principum et quidem primariorum operibus comparandae sunt: quin ego ipse qui Romam meis instauravi

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stone cutting also recalled the walls built by the distant inhabitants of Etruria, as mentioned by Leon Battista Alberti, who commented on the large, irregular stones used on their fortresses.104 This connection was later emphasized by Serlio in his reflections on the Tuscan and the “rustic” orders in reference to his wish to “join the language of the ancient Etruscans to that of modern Tuscans”.105 The transformation of traditional stylistic elements of a medieval derivation can also be recognized in the design of the mullioned windows,106 which, in an arrangement derived from those present in public palaces or religious structures from the 13th and 14th centuries, appear for the first time on a private residence, adorned with heraldic emblems celebrating the family. The attempts to determine with precision the start date for the construction have reopened the current debate concerning the author of the design, which has been polarized around the names of Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1446) and Michelozzo (1396–1472) ever since Giorgio Vasari’s account, which itself was based on previous 16th-century sources.107

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scriptis, affirmare non dubito nullius extare privati aedificij principum in urbe Romana reliquias, quae maiorem illis aedibus prae se ferant operis magnificentiam”. A similar idea can be found in Giovanni Pontano’s De Magnificentia, Libro xii [first edition, 1498]: “Ad Cosmi auctoritatem addidere plurimum tum villae diversis in locis ab ipso aedificatae singulari cum magnificentia, tum domus, in qua condenda pervetustum atque obliteratum iam structurae morem modumque revocavit, qui mihi id videtur egisse, ut dicerent posteri qua via aedificarent”. (The edition consulted here is Giovanni Pontani, I trattati delle virtù sociali, ed. Francesco Tateo (Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo, 1965), 103); Roberto Pane, “Le Effemeridi di Joanpiero Leostello”, Napoli Nobilissima 7 (1968), 3–4: 77–85 (83). “Visuntur et vetusta oppida cum Etruria tum et Vilumbriae tum et apud Hernicos lapide astructa praegrandi incerto et vasto, quod mihi quid opus vehementer probatur: quondam enim prae se fert rigiditatem severissimae vetustatis, quae urbibus ornamento est. Ac velim quidem eiusdmodi esse urbis murum, ut eo spectato horreat hostis et mox diffidens abscedat”: Leon Battista Alberti, L’Architettura, ed. Giovanni Orlandi, introduction and notes by Paolo Portoghesi. (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1966), vii Libro, ii, 538; Gargiani, Princìpi e costruzione, 76. James Ackerman, “The Tuscan/Rustic Order: A Study in the Metaphorical Language of Architecture”, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 42 (1983) 15–34. Brenda Preyer, “L’architettura del palazzo mediceo”, in Palazzo Medici, eds. Cherubini and Fanelli, 62; Pietro Ruschi, “Conferme michelozziane per il palazzo di Dietsialvi Neroni a Firenze”, in Michelozzo scultore e architetto (1396–1472), ed. Gabriele Morolli (Florence: Centro Di, 1998), 223; Bulgarelli, Leon Battista Alberti, 95–97. Brenda Preyer, “L’architettura del palazzo mediceo”, in Palazzo Medici, eds. Cherubini and Fanelli, 68–69.

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Although there are no surviving documents, such as receipts or letters, that would definitely prove that Michelozzo was the architect of the Medici residence, after more than twenty years since Brenda Preyer’s essay – which had argued for a possible attribution to Brunelleschi – the majority of scholars believe that Michelozzo was indeed the architect. Arnaldo Bruschi has emphasized that his Brunelleschean inspiration, which can be seen, for example, in the capitals in the courtyard that are topped with impost stone blocks (pulvini), just like the columns of the Ospedale degli Innocenti, actually harked back to tradition,108 the more congenial framework for Michelozzo, as he worked on his original designs in terms of both the general plan and specific construction details. The previously mentioned register preserved at the Archivio del Capitolo at San Lorenzo, studied by Hyman, is a precious source that contains important information for the history of the construction works and not only with regards to chronology. It provides, for instance, an account of the work on the capitals, the sgraffito decoration of the courtyard, and the exchanges of materials and skilled workers between the two construction sites of the Medici Palace and San Lorenzo.109 The latter was a common practice, which we find again in the Ginori palace, adjacent to that of the Medici.110 For the skilled work, in particular, this document names some master workers renowned in Florence, such as Nanni di Miniato, known as il Fora,111 or the more famous Pagno di Lapo Portigiani and Maso di Bartolomeo, both linked to Michelozzo.112 On this point we should recall that Michelozzo, as previously mentioned, never appears in 108 Bruschi, “Brunelleschi”, 105. A similar observation is made by Marvin Trachtenberg, “Archaeology, Merriment, and Murder: The First Cortile of the Palazzo Vecchio and its Transformations in the late Florentine Republic”, The Art Bulletin 71 (1989): 568, n. 2. The relationship between the architectural elements (such as columns and capitals) on the Medici Palace and the Ospedale di San Paolo was pointed out in Richard A. Goldthwaite and William Rearick, “Michelozzo and the Ospedale di San Paolo in Florence”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 21 (1977) 3: 283. 109 Hyman, Fifteenth Century, 136–140. The information is not always univocal: for example, for the carving of the capitals, it is not specified which capitals were meant. 110 Giuseppina C. Romby, “Le ‘spese di murare’ e il rinnovamento delle dimore fiorentine nel Quattrocento. La casa di Francesco di Piero Ginori”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 53 (2009) 2–3: 234. 111 Hyman, Fifteenth Century, 138; concering Miniato, Francesco Caglioti, “Su Isaia da Pisa. Due ‘angeli reggicandelabro’ in Santa Sabina all’Aventino e l’altare eucaristico del Cardinal d’Estouteville per Santa Maria Maggiore”, Prospettiva, 89–90 (1998): 139, n. 132. 112 Hyman, Fifteenth Century, 138; Harriet McNeal Caplow, “La bottega di Michelozzo e i suoi assistenti”, in Michelozzo scultore e architetto, ed. Morolli, 231–236.

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the payments listed in the register; this is a circumstance encountered in the majority of the main Renaissance construction projects, and thus it does not invalidate Vasari’s claims. At the same time, we might accept, with Brenda Preyer,113 that it is not quite correct either to accept at face value the assumption that, given that the master workers linked to Michelozzo have been proved by the sources to have worked on the site, it should follow that he himself was “naturally” part of the project.114 In favour of an attribution to Michelozzo,115 there is the fact that all Cosimo’s other architectural activities had this artist as his trustworthy architect,116 prefiguring the exemplary relationship between patron and architect that was to take root between Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giuliano da Sangallo. The role Cosimo had in the government of the city was probably the reason why Michelozzo was put in charge of building the new custom house, the Dogana, and of the Palazzo Vecchio,117 a project which anticipated by ten years the most important general redevelopment of the first courtyard of the palace, designed by the same architect under the protection of Cosimo. We are thus witness to Michelozzo’s promotion to a public role, heightened two years later by his appointment to “capomaestro della lanterna e della cupola”, four months after Brunelleschi’s death.118 Between the appointment at Palazzo Vecchio and the nomination to the highest levels of technical administration of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, there was the construction of the Palazzo Medici, a commission whose prestige and requisite commitment were compatible with the role that the architect was assuming in Florence, in the shadow of his powerful patron Cosimo de’ Medici. An additional piece of the puzzle – one that still needs to be clarified – ­concerns a new document from the archives of the Opera del Duomo in Florence. The document indicates that Cosimo, through Michelozzo and Battista d’Antonio, gave several stones (which were at the “Piazza San Lorenzo” and perhaps earmarked for the Medici Palace) to the Opera del Duomo for 113 Preyer, “L’architettura del palazzo mediceo”, 69, n. 82. 114 Hyman, Fifteenth Century, 136–139, followed in historiography especially with regards to the San Lorenzo project. 115 Ruschi, “Le ‘case’ dei Neroni”, 72–73 n.48. 116 Howard Saalman, “Tommaso Spinelli, Michelozzo, Manetti and Rossellino”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 25 (1966) 3: 155–157; Miranda Ferrara, Francesco Quinterio, Michelozzo di Bartolomeo (Florence: Salimbeni, 1984); Natali, L’umanesimo. 117 Saalman, “The Palazzo Comunale”, 32. 118 Corinna Vasić Vatovec, “Michelozzo a Santa Maria del Fiore. La lanterna della cupola e il modello per la sistemazione del tamburo”, in Michelozzo scultore e architetto, ed. Morolli, 179–190.

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the interior frames of the marble niches in the “tribune morte”. A definite and unanimous evaluation of this source with regard to Michelozzo’s role in the building of the Medici Palace is complicated by the fact that he was also named the architect of the same institution.119 Research is always open to the challenge posed by the discovery of new sources, and in the case of the designer of Palazzo Medici, the issue should also take into account the actual role of the architect in the process of being recognized as an independent, intellectual figure: one of the achievements of the city’s culture of the 15th century still in need of further investigation. 119 This important testimony has emerged as this chapter goes to print: Florence, Archivio dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, viii. 4. 1, c. 32. We consider it useful to bring it to scholarly attention, as it might trigger new ideas regarding the attribution of the Medici Palace. As a preliminary consideration, we can note that in the acquisition of wood that Cosimo made from the Opera del Duomo (presumably for the palace), Michelozzo never appears: see ibid., cc. 19, 21v, 35, 43, 44, 45, 62, 64, 76.

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Figure 11.1 Medici Palace, the corner between Via Cavour (Via Larga) and Via dei Gori with the closed Loggia by Michelangelo’s windows.

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8

7

Via dei Ginaori

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6

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3 2

N Figure 11.2

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Via Larga Medici Palace, plan of ground floor, a. 1650. Drawing based on a 17th-century plan in Florence, Archivio di Stato: 1 Androne; 2 Loggia (closed c.1517); 3 Main starcaise; 4 Courtyard; 5 Wing of courtyard for banquet and feast; 6 Camera grande di Lorenzo; 7 Garden; 8 Loggia on the garden. From Bulst, “Uso e trasformazione”, 113–115.

The Medici Palace, Cosimo the Elder, and Michelozzo

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5 4 1

2.1

2.2

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Figure 11.3

Medici Palace, plan of first floor (piano nobile), a. 1650. Drawing based on a 17th century plan in Florence, Archivio di Stato: 1 Sala grande (great hall); 2 Main apartment (2.1 Camera; 2.2 Anti-camera; 2.3 Scrittoio); 3 Other apartment; 4 Cappella; 5 Main staircase; 6 Terrace. From Bulst, “Uso e trasformazione”, 113–115.

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Figure 11.4

Medici Palace, the façade on via Larga. The windows of first floor.

Figure 11.5

Medici Palace, the façade on via Larga. The upper floor.

The Medici Palace, Cosimo the Elder, and Michelozzo

Figure 11.6

Medici Palace, the façade on via Larga. The bugnato of the ground floor.

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The Palace of Nicholas v: Continuity and Innovation in the Vatican Palaces Flavia Cantatore The special status of its patrons together with the political and topographical importance of the site make the papal residence adjacent to Saint Peter’s basilica an extraordinarily interesting field of inquiry. Yet the continual transformations it underwent, conservative though they were, make it difficult to understand fully the original structure of the building and its historical significance. Today the Vatican Palace appears to be an intricate composition of volume and space, a magnificent palimpsest both in terms of its architecture and function, as well as its decoration (Fig. 12.1). Closely linked to the basilica of Saint Peter, the residence was intended to satisfy both the requirements of governance and those pertaining to the private life of the pope and his numerous attendants. The pursuit of self-celebration on which each pope was intent ensured the perpetual renewal of an exceptional princedom wielding temporal power in view of a universal mission. This constant revision had consequences for the city and in particular for the papal seat, a complex of palaces, each unit of which was identified by the name of the pope who built it. The Vatican residence could also be seen as the concrete image of the papacy, with each pope making his own distinctive contribution to a stratified sequence of distinct wall segments. Though heterogeneous in appearance, each segment was designed to pass on to posterity the idea of papal sovereignty and the magnificence of each individual pope, both legitimized by continual action. Papal patronage represented a unique case among the princely patrons of the Italian peninsula and determined the ongoing development of the palace: while new edifices were constructed, necessary adjustments were made, decorations were added, and finishing touches were put to already existing parts.1 These characteristics prevailed for a long time over the need to pursue a unified project. It was not until the reign of Julius ii Della Rovere (1503–1513) that the northern side facing the Villa del Belvedere of Innocent viii Cybo 1 Flavia Cantatore, “Decorazioni, arredi fissi e camini nel palazzo Vaticano da Niccolò v a Giulio ii”, Quaderni dell’Istituto di Storia dell’Architettura n.s. 44–50 (2004–2007): 129–136 (Saggi in onore di Gaetano Miarelli Mariani, eds. Maria Piera Sette, Maurizio Caperna, Marina Docci and Maria Grazia Turco).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_013

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(1484–1492) was reconfigured, while the southern side, overlooking the basi­ lica, had to wait until the reign of Alexander vii Chigi (1655–1667). Despite the differences between Bramante’s Belvedere corridors and Bernini’s colonnade, both artists began with pre-existing buildings but unified them through the addition of new monumental diaphragmatic structures. This extensive building programme as well as other great papal building works (for instance, additional works carried out in the Vatican, and those carried out in San Marco, Santa Maria Maggiore, and San Giovanni in Laterano), generated a huge demand for workers, both in number and variety. These requirements played a decisive role in the building activity of 15th-century Rome, and as a result it became a central area of development of the city, creating the active circulation of capital and people.2 Local and foreign craftsmen found work in the papal building sites: the different technical skills and work organization capacity of the men involved, together with the variety of the demands and the availability of the necessary materials, gave rise to an extraordinary learning environment that facilitated the acquisition of new experiences and knowledge, and which also became an important pool for the recruitment of craftsmen.3 Nicholas v’s goal to build a palace of exceptional size that could serve a multiplicity of functions was well known to his contemporaries: Giorgio Vasari, writing a century later, was uncertain as to whether he should call it palace, castle, or city and compared its multifunctional structure to that of a monastery.4 The reign of Nicholas v Parentucelli (1447–1455) was of pivotal importance for both the government of the city and state and the cultural framework.5 Although Rome became the papal seat once more with the return of Martin V Colonna (1417–1431) in 1420, his successor, Eugene iv Condulmer, absented 2 Anna Maria Corbo, Artisti e artigiani in Roma al tempo di Martino V e di Eugenio iv (Rome: De Luca, 1969); Maestranze e cantieri edili a Roma e nel Lazio. Lavoro, tecniche, materiali nei secoli xiii–xv, eds. Angela Lanconelli and Ivana Ait (Manziana: Vecchiarelli, 2002), 9–12. 3 Ivana Ait and Manuel Vaquero Piñeiro, “Costruire a Roma fra xv e xvii secolo”, in L’edilizia prima della Rivoluzione industriale. Secc. xiii–xviii, ed. Simonetta Cavaciocchi (Florence: Le Monnier, 2005), 229–284, in particular 232–249, 270–281; Manuel Vaquero Piñeiro, “Crescita economica e architettonica a Roma nel Quattrocento: questioni per un dibattito aperto”, in Enea Silvio Piccolomini. Arte, Storia e Cultura nell’Europa di Pio ii, eds. Roberto Di Paola, Arianna Antoniutti and Marco Gallo (Rome: Associazione culturale Shakespeare and Company2 and Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2006), 245–252. 4 Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori scultori ed architettori, edition 1568, ed. Gaetano Milanesi, vol. iii (Florence: Sansoni, 1878), 101. 5 Massimo Miglio, Niccolò v, in Enciclopedia dei papi, vol. ii (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 2000), 644–658.

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himself from the city for a long time. Nicholas v instigated a period of reinforcing Church policies and displayed its authority through a series of initiatives, his architectural interventions having particular significance. This aspect is of fundamental importance for the historical discussion on the possible role of Leon Battista Alberti as the papal architect after 1450, even though there are no direct supporting documents. Nicholas v’s programme for the city, both ancient and modern, is known from the pages of Vita Nicolai quinti, by the Florentine humanist Giannozzo Manetti. The programme is divided into five themes: the restoration of the city walls; the renovation of the forty station churches; the founding of a new urban quarter between Hadrian’s mausoleum, the Mole Adriana (Castel Sant’Angelo), and Saint Peter’s; the fortification and decoration of the papal palace; and the reconstruction of the basilica from its foundations.6 The first two objectives were achieved to a great extent, while the other three, which focused on the Vatican area, remained somewhat unfinished. The evidence for this is complex, as Anna Modigliani has perceptively demonstrated. After a careful examination of the texts, she was able to identify various stages in the drafting of the papal proposals as well as the different degrees to which they were implemented.7 While it is true that Parentucelli’s lofty ambitions for the city remained mostly unfulfilled, his papacy should be evaluated more on his capacity for large-scale planning than on his completed projects. Instead of focusing merely on individual units, Nicholas v was able to envisage the transformation of the entire urban landscape, combining the restoration of old buildings with the construction of new ones. This development is a clear indication of the spread of Renaissance ideas into the city of Rome itself. When Tommaso Parentucelli became pope, Rome was still a medieval city in poor physical condition, mostly made up of houses of one or two storeys, sometimes joined into complexes but in any case always of poor quality and

6 Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti summi pontificis, critical edition and translation by Anna Modigliani (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 2005), 73 (bk. ii, § 32). For an English translation of the passage concerning Nicholas v’s building programme, see also Christine Smith and Joseph F. O’Connors, Building the Kingdom: Giannozzo Manetti on the Material and Spiritual Edifice (Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in collaboration with Brepols, 2006). 7 Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, xxxvii–xlix; Anna Modigliani, “Ad urbana tandem edificia veniamus. La Vita Nicolai quinti di Giannozzo Manetti: una rilettura”, in Leon Battista Alberti. Architetture e committenti, eds. Arturo Calzona, Joseph Connors, Francesco Paolo Fiore and Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2009), 513–559.

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small dimensions.8 In this urban fabric, crisscrossed by narrow winding streets, three groups of buildings stood out for their importance: the remains of the ancient world, Christian buildings, and, naturally, the papal seat. In fifteenthcentury views of the city, increasing importance is given to the basilica of Saint Peter, the palace, and the papal Borgo, especially after the 1480s, when a new way of representing the city from the east became widespread9 (Fig. 12.3). The images show the central spatial and symbolic importance that the popes, since the 15th century, had assigned to Saint Peter’s basilica and the new official permanent residence adjacent to it. Previously located beside the basilica of San Giovanni, the Lateran Palace was given by the emperor to Pope Sylvester i according to the famous false Donation of Constantine, a document that sealed the transfer of temporal sovereignty over the western empire to the Church.10 The imperial claims of the papacy were also expressed in the Lateran Palace in a number of remarkable symbols of power, such as the she-wolf, fragments of the head and hand holding a globe from the colossal statue of Constantine, and the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (at the time thought to be of Con­s­tan­ tine). These were all transferred to the Campidoglio in a magnanimous symbolic gesture: the first two pieces were solemnly donated to the People of Rome in 1471 by Pope Sixtus iv Della Rovere (1471–1484),11 and the statue of Marcus Aurelius was given by Paul iii Farnese (1534–1549) in 1538. Finally, it is worth remembering that the Lateran Palace, seat of the bishop of Rome, staged processions and ceremonies emphasizing the sovereign role of the pope; it was 8

9

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Henri Broise and Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur, “Strutture famigliari, spazio domestico e architettura civile a Roma alla fine del Medioevo”, in Storia dell’arte italiana, parte iii, v: Momenti di architettura (Turin: Einaudi, 1983), 99–160; Giorgio Simoncini, Roma. Le trasformazioni urbane nel Quattrocento, I: Topografia e urbanistica da Bonifacio ix ad Alessandro vi (Florence: Olschki, 2004), 13–141; Anna Modigliani, Disegni sulla città nel primo Rinascimento romano: Paolo ii (Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2009), 1–25. Flavia Cantatore, “Piante e vedute di Roma”, in La Roma di Leon Battista Alberti. Umanisti, architetti e artisti alla scoperta dell’antico nella città del Quattrocento, eds. Francesco Paolo Fiore and Arnold Nesselrath (Milan: Skira, 2005), 166–175, and quoted bibliography. Richard Krautheimer, Tre capitali cristiane. Topografia e politica, trans. Renato Pedio (Turin: Einaudi, 1987), 9–59; Ingo Herklotz, “Sepulcra” e “monumenta” del Medioevo. Studi sull’arte sepolcrale in Italia (Rome: Rari Nantes, 1985), 91–95. On the justification of the grounds for papal power given by some popes since the 15th century, also reflected in the symbolical significance attributed to their residences, see Anna Modigliani, “Manifestazioni ideologiche e simboliche del potere papale in ambiente pontificio da Niccolò v a Paolo ii”, Reti Medievali Rivista, 10 (2009), 1–21 , accessed 10/08/2013. Massimo Miglio, Scrittura, scrittori e storia, 2, Città e Corte a Roma nel Quattrocento (Manziana: Vecchiarelli, 1993), 175.

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also a place devoted to the preservation of numerous relics. Furthermore, in the 12th century it was used as the papal necropolis, thus strengthening a tradition, however sporadic, that had existed since the 10th century.12 From the 11th century to the 13th there was a long period of alternation between the Lateran Palace and the Vatican, the two seats of papal power situated in two distinct and diverse parts of the city. Furthermore, from the beginning of the 13th century, popes had to regularly travel out of Rome both for political and religious as well as health reasons (contagious epidemics, summer heatwaves, thermal cures), thus necessitating the modification of existing palaces and the creation of new ones for both residential and public purposes. Construction took place within the Papal State in different cities in Lazio and Umbria, from Segni to Montefiascone, Viterbo to Rieti, and Anagni to Terni.13 This phenomenon, indicating an increase in papal power, was characterized by a new perception of space, greater efficiency in logistical and bureaucratic matters, not to mention greater financial resources. It was also a sign of the establishment, within the institutional structures, of a new model of courtly life in line with the status of a state ruler who was also the head of the Church, quite advanced in comparison with other Italian and European patrons. Around the middle of the 12th century, interest in the residential potential of the Vatican hill began to grow. This, together with the symbolic aura of the place, resulted in the gradual decline of the Lateran complex: it was isolated from the main routes of urban development, and no further expansion was permitted, on the grounds of its proximity to regions where malaria was rife. Thus began a process of transformation, which was to have considerable impact not only on the history of the papacy but also on the history of Rome and the evolution of the forma Urbis. Innocent iii Conti (1198–1216) undertook important works in the basilica, such as the restoration of the apse, including the Confession with Saint Peter’s tomb. Moreover he built a new seat for the pope and the curial offices (camera, cancellaria, capella), the latter situated on the Mons Saccorum. Nicholas iii Orsini (1277–1280) was the first pope to have a sepulchral chapel built within the basilica and to use the Vatican as a permanent residence. It was thus under his papacy that the Vatican was transformed

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Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, “I luoghi del potere dei papi (secoli xi–xiii)”, in Arti e storia nel Medioevo, I, Tempi Spazi Istituzioni, eds. Enrico Castelnuovo and Giuseppe Sergi (Turin: Einaudi, 2002), 435–472. Anna Maria Voci, “I palazzi papali del Lazio”, in Itineranza pontificia: la mobilità della Curia papale nel Lazio, ed. Sandro Carocci (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 2003), 211–249.

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into a princely palace. The transformation was enhanced by the construction of vast gardens, made possible by the acquisition of land and vineyards. Nicholas v’s Palace The development of the Vatican palace during the 15th century was closely linked to the strengthening of the fortifications, which must be seen in the context of papal concern for the defensive structures of Rome during this period (Fig. 12.2). Archival documentation confirms the production of works attributed to Nicholas v which Giannozzo Manetti described as the restoration of the city walls from the Porta del Popolo to the Porta San Paolo, which also extended to the Mole Adriana and the Ponte Sant’Angelo. At the same time, new fortifications were built to encircle the Vatican hill, from the top beyond the Porta Pertusa down to the hospital of Santo Spirito.14 The walls served both to unify and to separate, leaving such a strong mark on the city that all further developments (urban, environmental, and landscape) came under their influence. Nicholas v was the first pope to decide once and for all to establish his permanent residence in the Vatican: the walls highlighted the existence of a place founded and protected thanks to their construction. This choice had remarkable symbolic content15 and, at a time of political tensions and dangerous internal and external threats, seems to have been facilitated by the fact that the Vatican already had a first defensive circuit of walls since the Middle Ages, namely the Leonine walls, which Nicholas iii had added to with the construction of a long elevated corridor extending to Castel Sant’Angelo. The pope’s programme, marked by the recent experience of Eugene iv, who had been forced to flee the city after the rebellion of the Romans, was first and foremost focused on security. Nicholas v seemed to close himself within an  impregnable citadel, defended by Castel Sant’Angelo. Hovering above it was  the new statue of the archangel Michael with his sword unsheathed in metaphorical defence of both the sacred, curial Rome and secular Rome.16 14

Eugène Müntz, Les arts à la cour des papes pendant le xve et le xvie siècle, vol. i (Paris: Ernest Thorin, 1878), 139, 150–154, 158–160; Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, 73–75 (bk. ii, §33). 15 Carrol William Westfall, L’invenzione della città. La strategia urbana di Nicolò v e Alberti nella Roma del ‘400 (Rome: La Nuova Italia Scientifica, 1984), 52–56, 72–74; Manfredo Tafuri, “‘Cives esse non licere’. La Roma di Niccolò v e Leon Battista Alberti: elementi per una revisione storiografica”, ibid., 18. 16 Müntz, Les arts à la cour des papes, vol. i, 139, 153. On the statue of the archangel Michael see Westfall, L’invenzione della città, 190–193; Marica Mercalli, “L’Angelo di Castello: la sua icono-

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This unity of the sacred and the secular city under the patronage of the archangel was symbolized by the magnificent linking structure of the Ponte Sant’Angelo, fortified by Nicholas v and later by Alexander vi Borgia.17 In the Vatican, Pope Parentucelli built the first truly significant extension of the medieval complex, following the tradition of his predecessors on many counts. The varying heights of the land and the proportions between the various buildings are now quite different: the difference in levels between Saint Peter’s basilica and the papal palace is difficult to perceive because the grounds are completely built over, but at the time of Nicholas v the apostolic palace dominated the Borgo and the entire city.18 Although only partially built, it nevertheless represented the most complete building of his papacy. The palace, which was accessed through an entrance beside the basilica entrance, was built in continuity with the core constructed in the 13th century.19 It sealed off the Cortile del Pappagallo on the northern side and determined the limit of the future Cortile del Belvedere. The project envisaged the use of previously existing structures which also served as a connection to Saint Peter’s, overcoming the existing differences in ground levels. Thus, as a whole, the apostolic seat comprised pre-­existing spaces for ceremonies, those in the eastern wing (the pope’s private rooms, followed by vesting rooms for religious ceremonies and rooms for the daily consistories and private audiences) and those in the new wing (living rooms and reception halls), serving a variety of functions. If we compare the Vatican with

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grafia, il suo significato”, in L’angelo e la città, ed. Bruno Contardi (Rome: Palombi, 1987), 110–112; Charles Burroughs, “Alberti e Roma”, in Leon Battista Alberti, eds. Joseph Rykwert and Anne Engel (Milan-Ivrea: Electa-Olivetti, 1994), 148–149 and relevant bibliography. Flavia Cantatore, “Ponte Elio – Sant’Angelo. Note tra archeologia e storia dell’architettura”, Quaderni dell’Istituto di Storia dell’Architettura n.s. 55–56 (2010–2011): 49–58 (Giornate di studio in onore di Claudio Tiberi, eds. Flavia Cantatore, Annarosa Cerutti Fusco, Piero Cimbolli Spagnesi). In the Middle Ages, the difference in height between the piazza in front of the basilica and the Cortile di San Damaso, around which the oldest nucleus of the palace was built, was about 20 metres, see Torgil Magnuson, Studies in Roman Quattrocento Architecture (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1958), pl. ii; Anna Maria Voci, Nord o Sud? Note per la storia del medievale Palatium Apostolicum apud Sanctum Petrum e delle sue cappelle (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1992), 28 n. 24. Levelling works were also necessary for the construction of Constantine’s Saint Peter’s and their study is also important in relation to the subsequent construction phases, see Paolo Liverani, “La Basilica di S. Pietro e l’orografia del colle Vaticano”, in Frühes Christentum zwischen Rom und Konstantinopel, teil 1, eds. Reinhardt Harreither, Philippe Pergola, R. Pillinger and A. Pülz (Città del Vaticano: Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana, 2006), 501–508: 501. See mainly Alessio Monciatti, Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano nel Medioevo (Florence: Olschki, 2005), with a lengthy bibliography.

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other papal residences, such as the Lateran and the palace at Avignon, the similarities are rather general, such as the presence or absence of certain spaces and how they were used for papal ceremonies.20 The same applies to the later Palazzo Venezia, although it seems probable that it was inspired by the Vatican Palace (with a clearer design, however, given that in this case the project was unified), with a sequence of gradually smaller rooms starting with those that had a public function and moving on to the more private and intimate ones.21 Manetti’s biography makes no references to the works carried out on the pre-existing buildings, although Vasari mentions them a century later.22 These works would have been undertaken not only to accommodate new needs but also to facilitate linking the old with the new in an area affected by differences in ground levels. However, although providing only a general description, the Vita Nicolai quinti suggests that the pope had more ambitious projects in mind than those that were actually built, including living areas for members of the Curia with courtyards and gardens, a large library, kitchens, stables, and seasonal residences.23 20

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Alessio Monciatti, “Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano alla fine del medioevo: sul sistema delle cappelle prima e dopo il soggiorno della Curia ad Avignone”, in Art, Cérémonial et Liturgie au Moyen Âge, eds. Nicolas Bock, Peter Kurmann, Serena Romano and Jean-Michel Spieser (Rome: Viella, 2002), 565–584. On this point, see Arnaldo Bruschi, “Bramante e la funzionalità. Il palazzo dei Tribunali: ‘turres et loca fortissima pro commoditate et utilitate publica’”, in Palladio n.s. 7/14 (1994), 153; Christoph L. Frommel, “Roma”, in Storia dell’Architettura italiana. Il Quattrocento, ed. Francesco Paolo Fiore (Milan: Electa, 1998), 387. “Fece poi fare Innocenzio iii in sul monte Vaticano due palazzi, per quel che si è potuto vedere, di assai buona maniera: ma perché da altri papi furono rovinati, e particolarmente da Niccola v, che disfece e rifece la maggior parte del palazzo, non ne dirò altro [...]”, Vasari, Le vite, vol. i (Florence: Sansoni, 1878), 276. Manetti describes three residences with a similar distribution of rooms which differs for each floor (the ground floor for summertime, the middle floor for winter, the top floor for spring and autumn): “Hoc propterea fiebat, ut tres pulcherrime mansiones variis anni temporibus accommodate distinguerentur. In superficie nanque soli prima et infima ac – ut ita dixerim – terrestis habitatio pro estivis duntaxat temporibus oportune designabatur, ubi et atria et triclinia ac cubicula et ambulatoria et porticus et capelle et omnia alia huiusmodi edificia ita affatim suppetebant, ut exinde in omnibus necessariis ac utilibus et iocundis rebus optime simul atque abundantissime subministraretur. In secunda vero, que erat intermedia statio similis priori, cum omnibus necessariis, oportunis commodisque dietis pro hiemalibus tempestatibus tantummodo ordinabatur. Suprema autem duarum antea commemoratarum similis mansio pro vernalibus autumnalibusque temporibus spetiosissime atque utilissime designabatur”, Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, 87–88 (bk. ii, §44). In fact, the ground floor came to house the library, while the popes lived on the

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The façade of Nicholas v’s palace (Fig.  12.4), as it appears today, is very d­ ifferent, but it can be reconstructed thanks to a painting attributed to Davide Ghirlandaio (c.1490, Fig. 12.5). The façade, marked by five vertical rows of windows,24 was rather poor stylistically. It looked more like a fortress than a seigniorial residence with its Guelph battlements taken from the medieval adjacent wing and its scarp wall base. Although bound to pre-­ existing structures and certainly also dictated by the close relationship between the palace and the fortified surrounding walls, these elements are also symptomatic of Rome’s cultural backwardness, even around the mid-15th century, resisting the influence of the new humanist architecture. Despite the

24

other two floors during various periods, but never following the alternation of the seasons, see Magnuson, Studies, 153–155. Alberti also recommended the use of different apartments for summer and winter but he distinguished them on the basis of the rooms themselves – spacious, well-ventilated rooms turned to the shade for the former, and smaller rooms, directed towards the sun which are easier to heat for the latter: “Adde quod etiam temporum rationes habendae sunt, ut alia aestivis alia hibernis locis attribuantur. Nanque aliae aliis debentur et situs et magnitudines: aestivas laxiores esse oportet; hibernae vero, ­compressiores si erunt, non improbabuntur. Tum aestivis umbra et venti, hibernis soles debentur. Et in his cavendum est, ne incolis eveniat, ut ex hoc loco frigenti alterum in locum aestuosum aequabili non intermisso aere exeant, aut isto ex tepenti in alterum brumis et ventis infestum. Nam id omnium maxime saluti corporum officeret”, Leon Battista Alberti, L’architettura [De re aedificatoria], ed. Giovanni Orlandi, introduction and notes by  Paolo Portoghesi (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1966), i, 67 (bk. i, chap. 9). On the question of summer and winter residences in the Italian Renaissance see an overview in Deborah Howard, “Seasonal Apartments in Renaissance Italy”, in Artibus et historiae xxii 43 (2001): 127–135. The painting shows cross windows on the floors of the residences, arched in correspondence to the library and a line of smaller square openings for the cellars. The cross windows date to after the papacy of Nicholas v. Based on damage to the original plaster (on which the date 1454 can be found) and the brick wall, Ehrle and Stevenson hypothesize that elements were substituted during the papacy of Callixtus iii or Pius ii, see Francesco Ehrle and Enrico Stevenson, Gli affreschi del Pinturicchio nell’Appartamento Borgia del Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano (Rome: Danesi, 1897), 32–34. Redig de Campos pointed rather to Alexander vi, linking the intervention to the construction of the Borgia apartment and tower, see Deoclecio Redig de Campos, I Palazzi Vaticani (Bologna: Cappelli, 1967), 46. This latter suggestion seems less probable if we observe what is actually represented in the painting, which, as mentioned, dates back to the end of the papacy of Innocent viii: the windows were already installed and there was no sign of the Borgia tower which would be built right in front of the Sistine chapel which is still clearly visible for this reason: Flavia Cantatore, “La Biblioteca Vaticana nel palazzo di Niccolò v”, in Storia della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, vol. i, Le origini della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana tra Umanesimo e Rinascimento (1447–1534), ed. Antonio Manfredi (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2010), 390–391.

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important presence of the memories of the past and the various contributions by sculptors and architects, especially but not only from Tuscany, in Rome the local customs seemed more congenial than the revival of the vocabulary of the ancients with all its critical prerogatives, which had already found expression in Florence, especially in the works of Brunelleschi, and subsequently in other cities and courts of central and northern Italy.25 This trend was followed in the Vatican until the very end of the century, when Pope Alexander vi built a new tower (finished in 1494) in direct continuity with the palace of Nicholas v, making use of the same base and crowning structure.26 At the beginning of the 16th century, when Julius ii commissioned Bramante to build the Cortile del Belvedere, the vast area in front of the building changed from being an open space to being sealed off. The fortified composition of the northern front, no longer serving any useful function, was moved out of the complex to a new position continuing the analogous wall that connected Nicholas V’s tower to the Porta Iulia. Nicholas v’s palace27 was composed of a floor for the cellars, a ground floor (where the library was located), and two other floors intended for residential 25

26 27

By way of example, Alberti considered that battlements should be avoided for the façades of private palaces as they were considered typical elements of fortresses, especially belonging to tyrants: “Mihi non probantur, qui aedibus privatorum civium pinnas et minas imposuere; arcis enim ista sunt vel potius tyrannorum, aliena a civibus pacatis et bene instituta re publica, quandoquidem aut conceptum metum aut paratam iniuriam significent”, Alberti, L’architettura, ii, 809 (bk. ix, chap. iv). James S. Ackerman, The Cortile del Belvedere (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1954), 8–9. On the palace of Nicholas v see first and foremost: Piero Tomei, L’architettura a Roma nel Quattrocento (Rome: Palombi, 1942), 58–60; Magnuson, Studies, 98–142; Redig de Campos, I Palazzi Vaticani, 44–52; Westfall, L’invenzione della città, 247–254; Christoph L. Frommel, “Il Palazzo Vaticano sotto Giulio ii e Leone x. Strutture e funzioni”, in Raffaello in Vaticano, ed. Fabrizio Mancinelli (Milan: Electa, 1984), 120–121; Fabrizio Mancinelli, “Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano dalle origini a Sisto iv”, in Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano, ed. Carlo Pietrangeli (Florence: Nardini, 1992), 37; Flavia Cantatore, “Niccolò v e il Palazzo vaticano”, in Niccolò v nel sesto centenario della nascita, eds. Franco Bonatti and Antonio Manfredi (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2000), 399–410; Christoph L. Frommel, “I programmi di Niccolò v e di Giulio ii per il palazzo del Vaticano”, in Domus et splendida palatia. Residenze papali e cardinalizie a Roma fra xii e xv secolo, ed. Alessio Monciatti (Pisa: Edizioni della Normale, 2004), 157–168; Flavia Cantatore, “In margine alla Vita di Giannozzo Manetti. Scrittura e architettura nella Roma di Niccolò v”, in Leon Battista Alberti, eds. Calzona, Connors, Fiore and Vasoli, 570–578; Cantatore, “La Biblioteca Vaticana”, 383–412; Antonio Manfredi, “Per una ricostruzione della sede antica della Biblioteca Vaticana”, in Studi in onore del Cardinale Raffaele Farina, ed. Ambrogio M. Piazzoni (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2013), 663–682, with bibliography.

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use (later the Appartamento Borgia and the Stanze di Raffaello); each had three vaulted rooms arranged in an orderly sequence and in continuity with the adjacent medieval building (Figs.  12.6–12.9). The identification of the library (regarding both its actual and planned location) has been the subject of debate.28 Although originally conceived in three sections, Pope Parentucelli only succeeded in completing the Bibliotheca Graeca: this overall structure, which also contained the Bibliotheca Latina or communis and the Parva secreta, was added to in 1480–1481 by Sixtus iv with the Bibliotheca nova or addita, later called Magna secreta. Unfortunately, there is little to be learned about the structure of these spaces from the pages of the Florentine biographer, who describes a very large and spacious library lit by two rows of windows on both sides,29 in accordance with the prevailing norms of the 15th century for vast, luminous spaces to be used in particular for reading and writing manuscripts, similar, for instance, to the Malatestiana library in Cesena. Despite Manetti’s emphasis on the effort and care put into finding and preparing manuscripts, not to mention translation works, thus constituting a privileged subject for his portrayal of the pope as the perfect humanist, he has little to say about the library. Credited with accumulating over 5,000 manuscripts (actually there were less than a quarter of this number, which still means many more than in any other collection in Italy),30 this impressive collection was put together for the common benefit of all the prelates of the Roman Church as well as the perpetual and eternal ornamentation of the sacred palace.31

28 29

30

31

Cantatore, “La Biblioteca Vaticana”, 386 and n. 10. “Paulo superius ingens et ampla bibliotheca transversalibus utrinque fenestris ordinabatur”, Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, 85–86 (bk. ii, §41). For comparisons with other libraries of the Renaissance can be useful Augusto Campana, Le biblioteche del Rinascimento a tre navate, ed. Antonio Manfredi (Cesena: Stilgraf, 2015). Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, 55 (bk. ii, §19). Manetti’s encomiastic aim is quite evident in this excessive evaluation. In any case, the twelve hundred or so volumes acquired during the rather short papacy of Nicholas v attest to a remarkable collection of books amongst his contemporaries, see Antonio Manfredi, I codici latini di Niccolò v. Edizione degli inventari e identificazione dei manoscritti (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1994), xliii. “Ex hoc tanto et tam ingenti et grecorum et latinorum librorum numero, quem, si diutius vixisset, mirum in modum deinceps in dies adauxisset, singularem et precipuam bibliothecam oportuno quodam palatii sui loco condere ac construere decreverat, ubi omnes simul congregatos ad communem cunctorum Romane Ecclesie prelatorum utilitatem et ad perpetuum quoque et eternum sacri palatii ornamentum, suis locis propriisque desi­ gna­tionibus collocasset [...]”, Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, 56 (bk. ii, §21).

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Given his preoccupation with the increase in the number of books in what was conceived as a public library (although the access to it still remained rather selective), Nicholas v probably also planned the furnishings both to facilitate scholars in their consultation and perusal of the books and also to provide space for current and future volumes. A further element must be taken into consideration here, in addition to the value of the collection and the quality that the Vita attributes to the construction of the library: namely, Parentucelli’s particular expertise in terms of architectural space and the material organization of the institution. For these reasons, and because he assigned an entire floor of the new palace to be used for this purpose, we can legitimately suppose that the pope, a sophisticated bibliophile, would have devoted particular attention to the arrangement of these rooms, which were intended to house an avant-garde facility. It constituted a model in harmony with the profound renewal carried out during those years, and would thus have helped to make the papal residence stand out from the rest. Although there is a lack of documentation, Nicholas v presumably would have sought advice on the design of the rooms and/or the details of the furnishings for the library from Leon Battista Alberti, a humanist as well as an acknowledged expert in architecture. In any case, connections can be established between Manetti’s descriptions and indications found in the De re aedificatoria on libraries.32 Moreover, it is important to remember the relationship between Alberti and Giovanni Tortelli,33 the most authoritative of the pope’s counsellors in the development of cultural politics, who was charged with the complex management of the library.

32

33

Alberti recalls the grandeur of the library founded by Ptolemy which remains a model to aspire to and surpass: “In Aegypto Ptolemei reges bibliothecam habuere voluminum septingentorum milium”, Alberti, L’architettura, ii, 767 (bk. viii, chap. 9). Like other humanists, Manetti sets up a comparison between Nicholas v and Ptolemy ii Philadelphus exalting the patronage of the great Egyptian king: “In quo quidem Ptolemeum Philadelphum, inclitum Egypti regem, egregie admodum imitatus est, quem in construenda illa sua tam celebrata ac tam admirabili bibliotheca hunc congregandorum librorum modum apud idoneos auctores tenuisse legerat, ubi sexaginta circiter librorum duntaxat grecorum milia (incredibile dictu) collocasse traditur”, Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, 56 (bk. ii, §20). In addition, Alberti claims that the main ornamentation of libraries are the books, which must be plentiful in number, quite rare and chosen with a preference given to the most famous authors of antiquity: “Hoc non praetermittam. Bibliothecis ornamento in primis erunt libri et plurimi et rarissimi, praesertim ex docta illa vetustate collecti”, Alberti, L’architettura, ii, 767 (bk. viii, chap. 9). For Manetti, see above n. 30 and n. 31. Cantatore, “In margine alla Vita di Giannozzo Manetti”, 577–578.

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Another distinctive and characteristic element of the papal residence, to which Manetti gives great importance, are the gardens, encompassed by impressive surrounding walls.34 They have been documented since the papacy of Nicholas iii: they included lawns alternating with areas containing different kinds of ornamental and fruit trees, other areas intended for vineyards or used for the cultivation of herbs, such as medicinal plants, and a vegetable garden. They were full of exotic animals, as shown even in Fra’ Paolino da Venezia’s map of Rome (1323). One garden corresponded to the area of the Cortile di San Damaso, the other faced north in the part of the Cortile del Belvedere looking towards Mons Sancti Aegidii35 and was fenced off by a wall running parallel to the palace; some segments of this wall re-emerged during works carried out on the paving from the Porta Iulia to the fountain in the centre of the courtyard, in 1977–1978.36 Maintenance of the green areas, which also continued during the Curia’s residence in Avignon through the daily activity of a considerable workforce, testifies to the complementary role of the gardens with respect to the palace. The gardens must thus have contributed to the decision to establish the pope’s residence in the Vatican, as it was a less austere seat than the Lateran Palace and, although fortified, it met the demands of a new, more comfortable and splendid court life where daily life and institutional activities existed side by side, fostering obvious requirements of self-representation.37 Manetti focused at some length on the east-facing garden, located on the Mons Saccorum, so large and magnificent that it was defined as a “paradise” not only in virtue of the delightfulness of the place but also for its symbolic value. He also listed certain buildings it contained: a theatrum, a grand atrium for meetings, conclaves and papal coronations with a loggia above for benedictions, the apostolic aerarium or treasury, and a large chapel. Although none of these was actually built, their inclusion in the description underlines the ceremonial value of this whole area.38 34

For a general survey about medieval and early Renaissance gardens, see Franco Cardini and Massimo Miglio, Nostalgia del paradiso. Il giardino medievale (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2002), in particular 141–148. 35 David R. Coffin, Gardens and Gardening in Papal Rome (Princeton n.j.: Princeton University Press, 1991), 3–16; Mancinelli, “Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano dalle origini a Sisto iv”, 35; Monciatti, Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano nel Medioevo, 124–127; Alberta Campitelli, Gli horti dei papi. I giardini vaticani dal Medioevo al Novecento (Milan-Città del Vaticano: Jaca book-Musei Vaticani, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2009), 11–25. 36 Cantatore, “La Biblioteca Vaticana”, 391 and n. 38. 37 Westfall, L’invenzione della città, 54–56, 72–74, 234–235, 261–263. 38 “In hoc amplo totius soli edificandi spatio multa ac pulchra diversarum mansionum, variis officiis inservientium, habitacula construebantur. Primo enim ab inferiori palatii parte

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We may rightly assume that these gardens, probably visible from different points along the ceremonial routes, were part of the ideological programme envisaged by Nicholas v, who was inclined to use architecture as a Biblia pauperum, with the important aim of elevating the uneducated and encouraging consensus through the magnificence of the buildings, considered as images and tangible testimony of the authority of the Pope and the Church.39 We should take into account that gardens (aside from vineyards and vegetable gardens) were rather rare in Nicholas v’s Rome, though there were vast uncultivated green expanses within the Aurelian walls between the built-up areas and the ancient ruins.40 The kind of residence planned by Pope Parentucelli should also be considered a pioneering work from this point of view. It was a groundbreaking example where architecture was integrated into the landscape, inspired by a new sensitivity to nature which developed in the 15th century: it seems thus that the transformation of the medieval

39

40

magnus pulcherrimusque ortus, cunctis herbarum atque omnium fructuum generibus referctus ac vivis quoque fontibus irriguus, quos e vertice montis per subterraneos meatus usque in commemoratum ortum, irrigandi et oblectandi gratia, magnis sumptibus maiorique industria traduxerat. Atque in hoc ipso spetiosissime paradisi spatio tria pulcherrima atque optima edificia extabant. Primo nanque a parte inferiori nobile quoddam egregiumque theatrum super columnis marmoreis fornicatum in altum elevabatur. A dextra huius theatri magnum quoddam atrium ad contiones, ad conclavia, ad pontificales coronationes et ad alias huiusmodi raras dignasque celebritates in fornicem accommodatum cum duobus tricliniis sursum deorsumque se invicem respicientibus edificabatur; in cuius latere Apostolicum Erarium designabatur, ubi Ecclesie thesauri condebantur. Super hoc atrium cenaculum magnum anniversariis et ordinariis summi pontificis benedictionibus designatum aptabatur, quod versus orientem in pontem molis Adrianee respiciebat. A leva autem maxima quedam capella cum ingenti vestibulo a parte superiori in fornicis modum pariter condebatur”: Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, 83–84 (bk. ii, §40). On the gardens, see Magnuson, Studies, 132–136. Alberti considers that a seigniorial residence cannot be lacking in “orti plantarumque delitiae”, with abundant water, a variety of kinds of trees, hedges and medicinal plants “herbis rarioribus, et quae apud medicos in precio sint, ortum virentem reddet”, Alberti, L’architettura, ii, 807 (bk. ix, §4). Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, 121–122 (bk. iii, §11). In Manetti’s biography, Nicholas v, who was acquainted with the doctrine of the architects of antiquity, was fully responsible for the project: at different points in the text the image given of Nicholas v is that of an architect pope, see Massimo Miglio, “Principe, architettura, immagini”, in Il Principe architetto, eds. Arturo Calzona, Francesco Paolo Fiore, Alberto Tenenti and Cesare Vasoli (Florence: Olschki, 2002), 51. On Nicholas v as “architect prince” see also Cantatore, “In margine alla Vita di Giannozzo Manetti”, 586–588. Daniela Esposito, “Vigneti e orti entro le mura: utilizzo del suolo e strutture insediative”, in Roma. Le trasformazioni urbane nel Quattrocento, ii. Funzioni urbane e tipologie edilizie, ed. Giorgio Simoncini (Florence: Olschki, 2004), 205–228.

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hortus conclusus into a locus amoenus, or modern garden, was strictly related to the contemporary renovation of the adjacent princely residence.41 What Nicholas v actually succeeded in building from his papal palace project is remarkable not only in terms of the dimensions but also as regards the degree of completion: besides the building of the northern wing, which involved a considerable increase in spatial capacity, the pope was also involved in the decoration and furnishing of both the old and the new residential quarters. Wooden ceilings were renovated and installed on the first floor in the cubiculum of Nicholas v and in the Camera del Papagallo, and on the second floor in the Sala Vecchia degli Svizzeri and in the Sala dei Chiaroscuri. In the latter two, some fragments of friezes dating back to Pope Parentucelli, as well as some dating back to the 13th century, were discovered underneath the present wooden ceilings, which date to the 16th century.42 Little more remains of the painted decoration, although the documents testify that many painters were involved. In particular, it is still possible to admire the frescoes by Fra Angelico in the Cappella Niccolina, located in the tower of Innocent iii, although the frescoes in the studiolo (of uncertain location) and those in the Cappella parva have been lost.43 On the second floor of the new building, perhaps in the Stanza di Eliodoro, frescoes by Piero della Francesca have been lost. While Vasari dates them to the papacy of Nicholas v, their dating is still uncertain.44 41

L’arte dei giardini. Scritti teorici e pratici dal xiv al xix secolo, ed. Margherita Azzi Visentini, vol. I (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1999 [2000]), 3–27. 42 Deoclecio Redig de Campos, “Di alcune tracce del palazzo di Niccolò iii nuovamente tornate alla luce”, in Rendiconti della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia 18 (1941–1942), 71–84; Redig de Campos, I Palazzi Vaticani, 49; Westfall, L’invenzione della città, 241–247; Guido Cornini, Anna Maria De Strobel and Maria Serlupi Crescenzi, “La Sala Vecchia degli Svizzeri e la Sala dei Chiaroscuri”, in Guido Cornini et al., Raffaello nell’Appartamento di Giulio ii e Leone x, (Milan: Electa, 1993), 81–91, with bibliography; Alessio Monciatti, “Per la decorazione murale del palazzo di Niccolò iii Orsini in Vaticano: il Cubicolo e la Sala dei Chiaroscuri”, in Römisches Jahrbuch der Bibliotheca Hertziana 34 (2001/2002 [2004]), 7–40, with bibliography. 43 Müntz, Les arts à la cour des papes, vol. i, 76, 112, 126–134, and vol. ii (Paris: Ernest Thorin, 1879), 316. See also: Redig de Campos, I Palazzi Vaticani, 49–52; Anna Maria De Strobel and Fabrizio Mancinelli, “Le camere “secrete”: anticamera, cubicolo e cappella”, in Cornini et al., Raffaello nell’Appartamento di Giulio ii e Leone x, 119–126. 44 Vasari, Le vite, vol. ii (Florence: Sansoni, 1878), 492, and vol. iv (Florence: Sansoni, 1879), 329–330; Mancinelli, “Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano dalle origini a Sisto iv”, 37; Arnold Nesselrath and Fabrizio Mancinelli, “Gli Appartamenti del Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano da Giulio ii a Leone x”, in Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano, ed. Pietrangeli, 107–108; Arnold

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The finishings are also documented, with the windows receiving most attention. References are made to marble elements, frames, wooden shutters, and glass panes, both simple and coloured.45 Fragile, expensive, and therefore not in general use, glass windows appeared in the Vatican Palace as early as 1431, together with window coverings made of movable wooden frames onto which pieces of cloth or paper were affixed using broad-headed nails.46 With the additions to the medieval nucleus made by Nicholas v, the Vatican Palace continued to evolve around the Cortile del Pappagallo. The potential spatial expansion was restricted, however, as demonstrated by the limited works subsequently carried out: works prior to Sixtus iv on the wing that closed off the Cortile del Pappagallo on the western side (where the first Della Rovere pope would build accommodation for the librarian and library guards) and the Torre Borgia, completed by Alexander vi in 1494, as already mentioned. Julius ii resumed and developed Nicholas v’s project for the city, Saint Peter’s basilica, and the Vatican Palace on a monumental scale. In particular, he considered the latter as a modern residence capable of satisfying the many needs of the pope and his entourage. The circumstances underlying this new wave of construction date back a little earlier, however. With the construction of the Villa del Belvedere, Innocent viii had already initiated the decentralization of the building activity with the palace on the northern side, on the top of Mons Sancti Aegidii, in a more elevated and isolated position with respect to the network of buildings in the area, in the pomerium circumscribed by Nicholas iii.47 Julius ii connected the old palace to the villa of Innocent viii at Nesselrath, “La Stanza d’Eliodoro”, in Cornini et al., Raffaello nell’Appartamento di Giulio ii e Leone x, 203. 45 Müntz, Les arts à la cour des papes, vol. i, 112–114, 116–117, 128, 137–139. See also Redig de Campos, I Palazzi Vaticani, 51. In general, on the materials used and the methods of producing the windows see Peter Thornton, The Italian Renaissance Interior 1400–1600, (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991), 27–30. 46 Between 1420 and 1438 certain money orders attest to the installation of window frames in different parts of the Apostolic Palace, see Müntz, Les arts à la cour des papes, vol. i, 13 (9 December 1420); Corbo, Artisti e artigiani, 20 (13 November 1420), 21 (9 December 1420), 41 (30 March 1438). Money orders for glass windows are published in Müntz, Les arts à la cour des papes, vol. i, 39–40 (11 April 1431), 137–139 (13 November 1450; 16 and 29 March, 12 May, 17 September and 23 December 1451; 8 May and 29 December 1452; 28 November 1453). 47 On the Belvedere of Innocent viii, see first and foremost: Ackerman, The Cortile del Belvedere, 6–8; Deoclecio Redig de Campos, “Il Belvedere di Innocenzo viii in Vaticano”, in Triplice omaggio a Sua Santità Pio xii (Città del Vaticano: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1958), ii, 289–317; Redig de Campos, I Palazzi Vaticani, 70–78; David R. Coffin, “Pope Innocent viii and the villa Belvedere”, in Studies in Late Medieval and Renaissance painting in honor of Millard Meiss, eds. Irving Lavin and John Plummer (New York: New York

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the same level by means of an elevated path which enabled laborious differences in height to be avoided. The project included a vast courtyard flanked by a porticoed structure on the ground floor and two covered floors. The simplified connections, achieved with solutions aimed at more easily overcoming the height differences, constituted a central element in the Vatican building projects. The slope of the hill required the vast open space to be divided into three sections placed at different heights, which increased towards the villa of Innocent viii. Together, they provided a continuous and spectacular view from the palace, creating a rather different impression from that of the natural contour of the land with its previous gardens and orchards. Also facing the city, corresponding to the ceremonial rooms, the loggias of Nicholas v were replaced by new ones, which were never finished, consisting of three floors with arches resting on a floor that served as a base. The construction of Bramante’s Belvedere certainly launched a new phase in palace life. By regularizing the perimeter, it brought the heterogeneous composition of the residence up to date. At the same time it gave the complex a grand entrance, on a par with the great Renaissance courts. Its dimensions were such that it could accommodate large audiences for performances. On the other hand, the extraordinary dimensions of the courtyard had the effect of reducing the spatial importance of the nucleus of the Vatican palaces overlooking the Cortile – an effect made all the more striking if we consider the parts of Bramante’s design that were not actually built: drawing 287A in the Uffizi, for instance, shows enormous buildings for the conclave and the stables located on the sides of the atrium at the entrance of the Belvedere48 (Fig. 12.10). With the construction of the new courtyard, the façade of Nicholas v’s wing lost its original fortified character: its base remained hidden behind

48

University Press, 1977), i, 88–97; Campitelli, Gli horti dei papi, 27–60; Rossana Nicolò, “Sviluppi architettonici del Belvedere di Innocenzo viii con Giulio ii”, in Metafore di un pontificato. Giulio ii (1503–1513), eds. Flavia Cantatore, Myriam Chiabò, Paola Farenga, Maurizio Gargano, Anna Morisi, Anna Modigliani, Franco Piperno (Rome: Roma nel Rinascimento, 2010), 501–521; Rossana Nicolò, “Architettura e costruzione del Belvedere di Innocenzo viii (1484–1492) in Vaticano”, Quaderni dell’Istituto di Storia dell’Architettura n.s., 60–62 (2013–2014): 33–50 (Giornate di studio in onore di Arnaldo Bruschi, vol. ii, eds. Flavia Cantatore, Francesco Paolo Fiore, Maurizio Ricci, Augusto Roca De Amicis, Paola Zampa). A different location for the papal library has been suggested on the third floor of the three-aisled building of the stables, see Christoph L. Frommel, Architettura alla corte papale nel Rinascimento (Milan: Electa, 2003), 142–143. On the position of the stables in Nicholas v’s project, see Iannotii Manetti De vita ac gestis Nicolai quinti, 86 (bk. ii, §41); Magnuson, Studies, 136–139.

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an architectural theatrical wing, and the semicircular recess (the exedra) was subsequently built by Pirro Ligorio as part of his contribution to the entire courtyard (1561–1565).49 Furthermore the crowning battlements were replaced by a loggia with columns, while the other two galleries were added by Leo X de’ Medici (1513–1521) on the second floor in front of the Stanze di Raffaello, and by Pius iv de’ Medici (1559–1565) in front of the Appartamento Borgia on the first floor.50 Similarly, the construction of the exedra made it much more difficult to use the library, as it blocked natural light coming in through the vast windows.51 In conclusion, the palace of Nicholas v was in use for a long time, although it underwent considerable changes, particularly to its external appearance. It was only at the end of the 16th century that Sixtus v Peretti (1585–1590) began the construction of a new residence and a new location for the library.52 49 50

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Redig de Campos, I Palazzi Vaticani, 146–147, 152–154. On the modifications made to the original façade, see quite generally Redig de Campos, I Palazzi Vaticani, 96; Mancinelli, “Il Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano dalle origini a Sisto iv”, 36. For the loggia of Julius ii, see Frommel, Architettura alla corte papale, 132. For the gallery of Leo x: Ackerman, The Cortile del Belvedere, 52, 156; John Shearman, “Le Stanze Vaticane: le funzioni e la decorazione”, in John Shearman, Funzione e illusione. Raffaello, Pontormo, Correggio, ed. Alessandro Nova (Milan: il Saggiatore, 1983), 94, 224 n. 128. The last elevation was added by Pius xii Pacelli (1939–1958) to extend the Secretariat of State, see Enrico Galeazzi, “Edilizia e Urbanistica di Pio xii nella Città del Vaticano”, in Triplice omaggio a Sua Santità Pio xii, ii, 224–228, 253–254 pls. xii a, b, xiii a, b. Despite the deficient capacity and inadequacy of the spaces, which had by then become insufficient to contain the increased number of volumes in the collection, and the uncomfortable conditions in the library due to humidity and the reduced natural light after the construction of the exedra designed by Pirro Ligorio to complete the Belvedere, Michel de Montaigne attests that in 1581 the library was still an organized and functioning structure, Michel E. de Montaigne, Viaggio in Italia, ed. and translation by A. Cento, preface by G. Piovene (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 1972), 184–187. A notice from 16 October 1585 reports that the state of the library rooms was the reason for changing location: “Per essere il luogo troppo humido, dove sta la libreria del Vaticano, nostro Signore per questo rispetto et per più commodità de papi la fa trasportare in una delle gallerie di Belvedere”, Johannes A.F. Orbaan, “La Roma di Sisto V negli Avvisi”, Archivio della R. Società Romana di Storia Patria xxxiii (1910): 285. Flavia Cantatore, “Spazio urbano e luoghi del sapere a Roma nel xvi secolo”, in Roma. Le trasformazioni urbane nel Cinquecento, ii. Dalla città al territorio, ed. Giorgio Simoncini (Florence: Olschki, 2011), 99–101; Mario Bevilacqua, “Domenico Fontana e la costruzione del nuovo edificio”, in Storia della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, vol. ii, La Biblioteca Vaticana tra Riforma cattolica, crescita delle collezioni e nuovo edificio (1535–1590), ed. Massimo Ceresa (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2012), 305–332; for a thorough examination of this subject see also Giovanna Curcio, “«La gran mole della

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Domenico Fontana designed two different buildings, separating once and for all the papal palace from the library, which would thereafter be fully open to the public. The answer to the functionality and decorum requirements of the pope and his court was in line with the renovatio Urbis which, from the papacy of Gregory xiii Boncompagni (1572–1585), gave Rome, capital of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, a new, austere, authoritative, and imposing look, in particular through an increase in civil buildings and the construction of great palaces.53 This new residence, constructed only a few years after the Lateran Palace, also designed by Fontana, broke with the continuity of centuries in which the popes had merely enlarged their residences. The new design consisted of a solid, compact block of considerable breadth with ten vertical rows of windows on the southern front overlooking the Piazza San Pietro, dominating the Borgo. It complemented the ‘out-of-proportion’ mass of the basilica, already complete with dome. The decision to establish the library in a building specifically designed for the collecting, care, and consultation of books left a distinctive mark on that part of the Vatican. The insertion of a new wing placed  between the two corridors and the lower and higher parts of the Belvedere obliterated the perspective sequence that Bramante had envisaged for the entire complex. However, from the institution’s point of view this choice amplified the distinctive role already attributed to the Vatican Library in the previous century, when it was located in the palace of Nicholas v. Parentucelli’s aim was finally achieved by assigning dry and bright spaces to the library which, thanks to the use of the corridors, could satisfy both immediate uses and the future requirements of a continually expanding collection.

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Libraria Vaticana nel Belvedere» del xvii secolo”, in Storia della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, vol. iii, La Vaticana nel Seicento (1590–1700): una biblioteca di biblioteche, ed. Claudia Montuschi (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2014), 601–649. Arnaldo Bruschi, “L’immagine di Roma nell’architettura civile”, in Roma. Le trasformazioni urbane nel Cinquecento, ii. Dalla città al territorio, ed. Simoncini, 25–36.

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Aerial view of the Vatican. A Vatican basilica; B Medieval palace; C Palace of Nicholas v; D Sistine chapel; E Torre Borgia; F Cortile del Belvedere; G Library of Sixtus v; H Palace of Sixtus v.

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View of the palace of Nicholas v from the Belvedere courtyard (with later additions).

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Davide Ghirlandaio, Portrait of a lady, detail of the palace of Nicholas v from the Belvedere courtyard. New York, Payson Collection; from Raimond van Marle, The development of the Italian Schools of Painting, xiii: The Renaissance painters of Florence in the 15th century, the third generation, 2 (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1931), 156.

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The Vatican palace, schematic reconstruction from the north at the time of Nicholas v. 1 Cortile del Belvedere; 2 Cortile Borgia; 3 Cortile del Pappagallo; a Sala ducale (Aula tertia); b Sala ducale (Aula secunda); c Sala regia; d Tower of Innocent iii; e Palace of Nicholas iii; f Corner north tower; g Wing of Nicholas v. from Redig de Campos, I Palazzi Vaticani, 45.

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Figure 12.10 Donato Bramante and workshop, project from 1506–1507 for the reconfiguration of the Vatican palace. Florence, Uffizi, Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe, 287A.

chapter 13

Alfonso i of Naples and the Art of Building: Castel Nuovo in a European Context* Bianca de Divitiis The Neapolitan humanist Tristano Caracciolo recounts that when, in 1442, Alfonso entered Naples as the new King of the Two Sicilies, he found Castel Nuovo in a ruinous state, abandoned for many years and severely damaged by the war against the French pretender to the throne, René of Anjou, who claimed legitimate sovereignty of the Kingdom of Naples.1 Alfonso must have been dismayed by such a scene of destruction: he was well aware of the original splendour of the Angevin castle, which he had experienced at first hand when twenty years earlier he had lived in Castel Nuovo for two years, as the adopted son of the last Angevin queen, Joanna ii.2 Despite its ruinous state in 1442, Castel Nuovo was immediately occupied by sixty-six members of the Aragonese colony, and Alfonso immediately began to reconstruct the building while he temporarily lived in Castel Capuano.3 * The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007– 2013)/ERC Grant agreement n 263549; ERC-HistAntArtSI project Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico ii. I am grateful to Francesco Caglioti, Fulvio Lenzo, Lorenzo Miletti, Francesco Senatore, and Michela Tarallo for discussing different aspects of my manuscript. I thank Stephen Parkin for revising the English text. 1 Tristani Caraccioli opuscula historica (Naples: Gravier, 1769), 84. Riccardo Filangieri, Rassegna critica delle fonti per la storia di Castel Nuovo (Naples: i.t.e.a., 1937), 5. On Castel Nuovo see Riccardo Filangieri, Castel Nuovo. Reggia angioina ed aragonese di Napoli (Naples: epsa, 1934), 5–51; George Hersey, The Aragonese Arch in Naples (New Haven & London: Yale, 1973), 16–18; Rosanna Di Battista, “Il cantiere di Castelnuovo a Napoli fra il 1443 ed il 1473” (PhD diss., University iuav of Venice, 1998), 22–52. 2 Alan Ryder, The Kingdom of Naples under Alfonso the Magnanimous. The Making of a Modern State (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), 23–26. 3 Filangieri, Rassegna, 1937, 5. On Castel Capuano see Bianca de Divitiis, “Castelcapuano nel secondo Quattrocento: da castello medievale a palazzo ‘all’antica’”, in Castelcapuano: da reggia a tribunale. Architettura e arte nei luoghi della giustizia, ed. Fabio Mangone (Naples: Massa, 2011), 22–43. See also eadem, “Castel Nuovo and Castel Capuano in Naples: the Transformation of Two Medieval Castles into “all’antica” Residences for the Aragonese Royals”, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschicte 76 (2013): 441–474.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_014

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This chapter discusses how Alfonso i of Aragon rebuilt Castel Nuovo, combining his extensive knowledge of castle architecture with his interest in antiquity (Fig.  13.1). By conceiving a building that combined the most innovative military techniques with the new requirements for courtly splendour, Alfonso was responsible for creating a new image of a princely residence, which he consciously intended to rival the castles built by other major rulers of his time. In this context this chapter will consider the architectural competition between Alfonso and Duke Francesco Sforza in Milan, who in the same years was building the castle of Porta Giovia in Milan. When Alfonso arrived in 1442, Naples offered a choice between five different castles: apart from Castel Nuovo, there were two other castles on the coast, Castel del Carmine and Castel dell’Ovo, while Castel Capuano protected the eastern end of the fortifications towards the inland, and Castel Sant’Elmo dominated the city from the top of the hill of San Martino.4 In selecting Castel Nuovo as his residence, Alfonso took symbolic possession of the city, consolidating a long-established tradition according to which, since its construction at the end of the 13th century, it had been the residence of the king of Naples and therefore the principal centre of Neapolitan political and ceremonial life.5 Under Alfonso, Castel Nuovo became the leading royal site for a kingdom which not only reunited the southern Italian mainland with Sicily after nearly two centuries, but which was now, with the addition of the other Aragonese possessions such as Catalonia, Sardinia, and Corsica, aiming to become even larger.6 Alfonso’s main aim in reconstructing Castel Nuovo was to re-establish its character as a defensive fortress, bringing it up to date with the most advanced military techniques. Through his castle he also wanted to express his own image as the sovereign of a transnational kingdom who wielded a power which, even though monarchical, was free from tyrannical ambitions. All such concepts were rapidly and effectively synthesized in the inscription on the frieze of the lower fornix of the triumphal arch at the entrance to the castle: “Alfonsus Rex Hispanicus Siculus Italicus Pius Clemens Invictus” (“Alfonso, king of Spain, Sicily, Italy, pious, merciful, unconquered”).7 Even though he incorporated several structural elements from the Angevin castle, in the inscription in the frieze of the upper arch of the entrance Alfonso

4 Ibid. 5 Giuliana Vitale, Ritualità monarchica, cerimonie e pratiche devozionali nella Napoli aragonese (Salerno: Carlone, 2006), 51–58. 6 Ryder, Kigdom, passim. 7 Hersey, The Aragonese Arch, 47–48.

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claimed that he had erected Castel Nuovo a fundamentis: “Alfonsus Regum Princeps Hanc Condidit Arcem” (“Alfonso, first among the kings, built this fortress”).8 The new building was strategically publicized by the court humanists as a sign of magnificence. In his anecdotal portrait of Alfonso De dictis et factis Alphonsi (1455), Antonio Beccadelli, known as Panormita, recalls how “Alfonso rebuilt from the foundations the royal castle, which Neapolitans call «new», and increased it in such a way with new works that it can compete in magnificence with every ancient monument”.9

Some Medieval Precedents

Like the previous Angevin castle, the plan of Alfonso’s residence was marked by corner towers; a further tower called the Torre di Mezzo was added at the centre in order to flank the new entrance, which he had moved from the north to the west side. In reviving the model of a medieval fortress with round towers at the corners and high walls, Alfonso was influenced by the previous Angevin castle, but he also seems to have been following a contemporary Iberian tradition.10 The castle of Belmonte in his native Castile, with its hexagonal plan and outer bailey, bears a superficial resemblance to Castel Nuovo (mid-15th century).11 The example of the Castle of Bellver in Majorca (14th century) would have been well known to Alfonso and to his Majorcan architect Guillem Sagrera.12 Other 8 9

On the re-use of the Angevin structures, see Di Battista, “Il cantiere”, 10–12. “Arcem regiam, quam Novam Neapolitani vocant, a fundamento Alphonsus restituit, et ita demum novis operibus ampliavit, ut cum omni vetustate possit de magnificentia contendere”. Antonii Panormitæ de dictis et factis Alphonsi regis Aragonum et Neapolis libri quatuor (Rostochii: typis Myliandrinis, 1589), 28. 10 Hersey, The Aragonese Arch, 16–18; Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 73. On the importance of Catalan models for Alfonso’s culture see Xavier Barral i Altet, “Alfonso il Magnanimo tra Barcellona e Napoli, e la memoria del Medioevo”, in Medioevo: immagine e memoria, ed. Arturo Carlo Quintavalle (Milan: Electa, 2009), 649–667. 11 Claudio Galindo, “El castillo de Belmonte”, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones 26 (1918): 153–160. Federico Carlo Sainz de Robles, Castillos de España, (Madrid: Aguilar, 1952), 136–139. 12 Jos Tomlow, “Castillo de Bellver auf Mallorca: ein Versuch zur Deutung der Entstehung und Gestalt eines Unikats”, in Gotische Architektur in Spanien. Aketn des Kolloquium der Carl-Justu-Verinigung und des Kunstgeschichtlichen Seminars der Universität Göttingen, ed. Christian Freigang (Frankfurt am Main: Vervuert, 1999), 227–249. Sainz de Robles, Castillos, 232–235.

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significant Iberian examples, such as the Castilian castle of Olmillos near Burgos (mid-15th century), and the castles of El Barco de Ávila (14th century) and Mombeltràn (mid-15th century), both in the neighbourhood of Ávila, may also have been influential, although they are all very different from the towered volumes of Castel Nuovo.13 The prominent towers of the castles built by Alfonso’s Angevin enemies, such as the castle of Tarascon (first half of the 15th century), where Renée of Anjou held his court, or the castle of Fort Saint-André at Villeneuve-lès-Avignon (first half of the 14th century) in France, also had an impact.14 To these examples, which belong to Alfonso’s background, one should add local examples in southern Italy, of which he and his court would have been aware through the many years spent in the kingdom before conquering it. The 13th-century Swabian castles built by Frederick ii of Hofenstaufen, such as Castel del Monte (c.1240), the castles in Lucera (c.1233) or in Gioia del Colle (c.1230) in the Apulia region, or Castel Ursino (c.1239–1250) in Sicily, would have shown Alfonso the way to combine castle architecture with imperial ideology.15 Such references would have been part of a deliberate plan on Alfonso’s part to create a connection with the Swabian emperor, in which the new sovereign of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies presented himself as Frederick’s direct heir.16 13 14

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Sainz de Robles, Castillos. On the castle of Tarascon see Françoise Robin, “Le château de Tarascon et les premiers ducs d’Anjou: défense et vie de cour (1400–1430)”, in Du métier des armes à la vie de cour, de la forteresse au château de séjour: familles et demeures aux xive – xvie siècles, eds. JeanMarie Cauchies and Jacqueline Guisset (Turnhout: Brepols, 2005), 157–166. On the castle of Villeneuve-les-Avignon see Bernard Sournia, Jean-Louis Vayssettes, Histoire artistique et monumentale d’une villégiature pontificale (Paris: Monum. – Éditions du patrimoine, 2006). On the Swabian castles in southern Italy see Architettura sveva nell’Italia meridionale: repertorio dei castelli federiciani, eds. Arnaldo Bruschi and Gaetano Miarelli Mariani (Florence: Centro Di, 1975). On Frederick’s Gate see Carl Arnold Willemsen, Kaiser Friedrichs ii. Triumphator zu Capua. Ein Denkmal Hohenstaufischer Kunst in Südenitalien (Wiesbaden: Insel-Verlag, 1953); Creswell Shearer, The Renaissance of Architecture in Southern Italy (Cambridge: Heffer, 1937); Julian Gardner, “An introduction to the iconography of the medieval Italian city gate”, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 41 (1987): 199–213 (208–209). For the resurgence of imperial sentiment under Alfonso of Aragon and his political references to the reign of Frederick ii, see Ernesto Pontieri, Alfonso il Magnimo re di Napoli 1435–1458 (Naples: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 1975), 99, 104–105; Ryder, Kingdom, 124–125, 324–325, 368–369. For the Aragonese artistic interest in Frederick ii see Joanna Woods-Marsden, “Art and political identity in fifteenth-century Naples. Pisanello, Cristoforo di Geremia, and King Alfonso’s imperial fantasies”, in Art and politics in late medieval and early Renaissance Italy, 1250–1500, ed. Charles M. Rosenberg (Notre-Dame: University Press, 1990), 17–18; Ferdinando Bologna, “divi ivli caesaris: un nuovo busto federiciano e gli interessi dei circoli umanistici del Regno per Federico ii”, Dialoghi di Storia dell’arte 1 (1996): 4–31.

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A combination of Iberian and Frederician architecture may also have inspired the design of the entrance. The two-towered gate which led to the royal pantheon of the kings of Aragon in the royal abbey of Santa Maria de Poblet (12th century) and the entrance to the castle in Barco de Ávila, which in the fifteenth century apparently consisted of two superimposed arches, could easily have been combined with the idea of paired towers flanking a sculpted entrance found in the Porta Romana built by Frederick ii at Capua (c.1233) and which can still be admired in Castel del Monte in Apulia.17 Furthermore, an entrance marked by two towers and aligned on the same axis as the Palatine Chapel, as in Castel Nuovo, can be found in the Swabian castle in Lagopesole (1242–1275) (Fig.  13.2).18 However, none of these Spanish, French, and Italian prototypes and parallels has the innovative elements that were introduced by Alfonso in Naples in order to bring his castle up to date with the progress in the development of firearms and in the offensive potential of mortars, which were revolutionizing defensive techniques.

A Modern Fortress: Technical Innovations

Alfonso had been able to destroy the old Angevin fortress with the help of the new weapons, and it was therefore only logical that he was among the earliest to take them into account in his architecture.19 Apart from thickening the walls, Alfonso introduced in Castel Nuovo new features such as rounded balconies, with battlements at the tops of the bases of 17 Hersey, The Aragonese Arch, 17. On the entrance to Castel del Monte see Rosanna Di Battista, “Bartolomeo e Nicola di Bartolomeo da Foggia: stilemi della scultura federiciana in Capitanata ed in Campania”, in Cultura artistica, città e architettura nell’età federiciana, ed. Alfonso Gambardella (Rome: De Luca, 2000), 81–92. References to Frederick’s Gate in the arch of Castelnuovo were emphasized by Demetrio Salazaro, L’arco di trionfo con le torri di Federico ii a Capua (Caserta: Nobile, 1877); Émile Bertaux, L’art dans l’Italie méridionale (Paris: Fontemoing, 1904), 717; Ernst Kantorowicz, Kaiser Friedrich der Zweite, 2 vols. (Berlin: Bondi 1927–1931), 538, 601; Hersey, The Aragonese Arch, 17, 23; Andreas Beyer, “König Alfonso i. von Neapel triumphiert als Friedensfürst am Grabmal der Parthenope: ‘…mi pensamiento e invención…’”, Georges-Bloch-Jahrbuch des Kunstgeschichtlichen Seminars der Universität Zürich 1 (1994), 93–107. 18 On the castle in Lagopesole see Paolo Peduto, Tiziana Saccone, “Il castello di Lagopesole (Pz)”, in Pietre tra le rocce: colloqui internazionali “Castelli e città fortificate” (Florence: Alinea Editrice, 2005), 63–71. 19 Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 60–61; Hersey, The Aragonese Arch, 17–18; Di Battista, “Il cantiere”, 30–33.

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the towers, usually described as revelins, which would have functioned as firing platforms for the artillery and offered a larger resistant structure. He also opened galleries in the upper walls, which were intended to go all around the landward sides of the castle.20 While the Torre dell’Oro was built in exposed yellow tufa, the other four towers were clad in regular-sized blocks of grey piperno stone.21 The steep escarps of the towers, anchoring the castle to its site, were covered by motifs that conferred on the castle the appearance of an impregnable fortress, but which at the same time alluded to ancient motifs and thus increased the castle’s magnificence. The Torre del Beverello and the Torre San Giorgio presented a basement faced with a spiral fluted motif executed by the Catalan architect Guillem Sagrera. The other two towers flanking the entrance, the Torre di Mezzo and the Torre di Guardia, were decorated by the master masons from Cava with a scaly motif in the form of slightly flattened diamond-shaped rustication that would have been read by contemporary observers as an element with military connotations, and which at the same time had ancient precedents in the lateral towers of the Arch in Fano (Fig. 13.3).22 The escarps of the towers were such a distinguishing feature of the new Castel Nuovo that they were depicted twice in Nardo Rapicano’s illuminated manuscript of Giuniano Maio’s De majestate, produced for Ferrante of Aragon in 1492 (Fig. 13.4).23 The castle was surrounded by a double moat originally 30 m wide, about twice the width of the old Angevin one that it replaced (Fig. 13.5). The moat was partly used for underground stables and for lodgings for servants and slaves; on the northern side tournaments took place. The eastern side of the castle was further protected by the so-called “cittadella”, a trapezoidal fortress surrounded by five bastions, where battles between the Aragonese and the Angevins had been fought.24 20 Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 65; Di Battista, “Il cantiere”, 32–34. 21 Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 60–61; Di Battista, “Il cantiere”, 33. 22 Di Battista, “Il cantiere”, 33. The Arch of Fano was drawn by Giuliano da Sangallo around 1474 (Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Codice Barberiniano Latino 4424, f. 61v). On the military connotation of diamond shaped rustication and the reference to the Arch in Fano see Matteo Ceriana, “La cappella Corner nella chiesa dei Santi Apostoli a Venezia”, in All’ombra delle volte: architettura del Quattrocento, eds. Massimo Bulgarelli and Matteo Ceriana (Milan: Electa, 1996), 109–110; Richard Schofield and Giulia Ceriani Sebregondi, “Bartolomeo Bon, Filarete e le case di Francesco Sforza a Venezia”, Annali di architettura 18/19 (2006/07 [2007]): 9–51. 23 Giuniano Maio, De Majestate, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. It. 1711, ff. 43r; 52v. 24 Riccardo Filangieri, “Rassegna critica delle fonti per la storia di Castel Nuovo”, Archivio Storico per le Provincie Napoletane 63 (1938): 23–24; idem, Castel Nuovo, 66; De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 447.

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By combining low revelins, deep escarps and a wide moat, Alfonso built an experimental base and platform on which towers with thick masonry seem to emerge from cavities, thus replacing the tall medieval type of castle and anticipating the fortresses of the late fifteenth century.25 The defensive system of Castel Nuovo was immediately praised by humanists and visitors, who regarded it as a manifestation of its patron’s magnificence. In his biographical work on Alfonso, the court humanist Bartolomeo Facio described the reconstruction of the castle after its destruction in the war and celebrated the new building with its five round towers made “of square stones” with the new cittadella as “wonderful and impregnable […] a marvellous structure and invention with unprecedently broad walls”.26 In a letter to the duke of Milan Francesco Sforza, dated 6 December 1455, the Milanese ambassadors Troilo di Muro and Orfeo Cenni described how Castel Nuovo was finished with “beautiful walls, towers and escarps”, which were “marvellous in their dimensions and decoration”.27 After stating the dimensions of the walls and of the five towers, “all worked with stone and chisel”, the ambassadors particularly remarked on the so-called rivellini, which, in their opinion, were capable of accommodating “a thousand horses and two thousand foot soldiers”.28 Then, having described the external escarped moat, which could also be flooded with water, the ambassadors concluded that “all such things were beautiful and marvellous to behold”.29 In a previous letter, dated 28 July 1455, another Milanese ambassador, in describing the wharf which was then being completed just in front of Castel Nuovo, recalls that Alfonso had envisaged the erection of two further “superb and strong towers”, one on the landward side of the castle and the other at its furthest end, in the sea, which would make it always defensible.30 In the foreground of the view of Castel Nuovo in Domenico Ferrajolo’s Cronaca (c.1498) two towers can be seen which may correspond to Alfonso’s idea of reinforcing 25 Hersey, The Aragonese Arch, 17. 26 “Post haec, ad arcem aedificandum conversus, cuius ex aedificatio belli causa nihil non intermissa fuerat, eam brevi tum opere mirabilem inexpugnabilemque, tum sumptu magnificentissimam effecit, quinque turribus orbiculari forma, quatuor angularibus, quinta interiecta, e lapide quadrato, mirifica structura atque artificio, murique crassitudine inaudita, excitatis”. Bartholomaei Facii de rebus gestis ab Alphonso primo Neapolitanorum rege commentariorum (Naples: Gravier, 1769), 220. 27 Dispacci Sforzeschi da Napoli. 1444 – 1452 luglio 1458, I, ed. Francesco Senatore (Salerno: Carlone, 1997), 317. See Doc. 1 in the Appendix. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 Dispacci, 224. See Doc.4 in the Appendix.

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the advanced defence system of the castle towards the sea, which already consisted of the tower on the little island of San Vincenzo (second half of the 13th century) and the monumental arsenal (second half of the 13th century) (Fig. 13.6).31 The Milanese ambassadors’ descriptions show how the thickness of the walls and the use of towers and buttresses were perceived by contemporaries not only as an important part of Alfonso’s defensive system but also as elements displaying royal magnificence. An all’antica Residence: Architecture, Sculpture, and Inscriptions Panormita recalls that when Alfonso was rebuilding Castel Nuovo (the castle, and not just simply the arch at the entrance), he called for a copy of Vitruvius’ De architectura to be brought to him: the ancient architectural treatise may have helped the Aragonese king to deal with technical aspects of the construction and probably helped inspire him to give his residence an all’antica appearance.32 But what role did antiquity play in the overall appearance of the castle, and how did ancient models influence the design of a residence which was intended to be a fortress expressing the strength of the sovereign? Even though in rebuilding the ruined Angevin castle he was reviving the authoritative appearance and military functions of the 13th-century urban fortress, Alfonso conceived of Castel Nuovo as a princely palace for the court and as a theatrical setting where he could display a power which, despite being monarchical, was devoid of tyrannical ambitions. This was an aspect of 31

32

Domenico Antonio Ferraiolo, Cronaca della Napoli aragonese, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, Ms. M 801, ff. 115v–116. The manuscript preserved in New York is the only autograph and illuminated copy of Ferraiolo’s Cronaca. For critical edition of the manuscript see Una cronaca figurata del Quattrocento, ed. Rosario Coluccia (Florence: Accademia della Crusca, 1987). The view is discussed by Nicholas Adams, “La cacciata dei francesi da Napoli nel luglio 1495”, in Francesco di Giorgio architetto, eds. Francesco Paolo Fiore and Manfredo Tafuri (Milan: Electa, 1993), 291. “Cum inclytam illam arcem Neapolitanam instaurare instituisset, Vitruvii librum, qui de architectura inscribitur, afferri ad se iussit. Allatus est, quandoquidem in promptu erat Vitruvius meus, ille quidem, sine ornatu aliquo, sine asseribus; quem rex simul atque inspexit. Non decere [inquit] hunc potissimum librum, qui nos quomodo contegamur, tam belle doceat, detectum incedere. Eumque mihi quam per polite ac subito cooperiri mandavit”. Panormitæ de dictis: 32. Georgia Clarke, “Vitruvian Paradigms”, Papers of the British School at Rome 70 (2002): 319–346.

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Alfonso’s image emphasized by Panormita, who recalled how the king thought that he was held in such affection by his subjects that he ran no danger in going around by himself.33 Alfonso’s design for Castel Nuovo seems to have been inspired by the desire to express the two faces of the personality of a prince who was at the same time invictus as well as pius et clemens, as declared in the inscription on the frieze of the arch at the entrance of the castle (Fig.  13.7). The same image emerges also in the works on the life of Alfonso written by Antonio Panormita and Bartolomeo Facio and on his bronze medals, such as the recto of the 1449 medal by Pisanello, where he is named as triumphator and pacificus.34 The use of ancient or all’antica elements on the exterior and interior of the massive defensive structures does not seem to have been merely a matter of taste, but can be seen as a device which Alfonso strategically uses to demilitarize the castle and symbolically soften the aggressiveness which characterized military architecture, in order to present himself not only as a condottiere but also as a humanist and lover of antiquity. According to Panormita, this side of Alfonso was similarly demonstrated by the fact that during the siege of Gaeta he decided against further bombardment, so as not to damage even a stone from the so-called Cicero’s Villa in Formia, and he also rushed to inspect the inscription on a tomb thought to be of Cicero near Gaeta, only to discover that it was the sepulchre not of a “Marcus Tullius” but of a “Marcius Vitruvius”.35 33 “Alphonsum nonnunquam solum absque comitantium pompa incedentem vidimus. Cum ob hoc a plerisque argueretur, suadereturque, ut more aliorum principum et ipse armatorum manu stipatus graderetur. Exhorruisse consilium visus est, atque dixisse, se quidem minime solum, ut isti crederent, sed innocentia associatum vadere, neque esse quod benevolentia civium fretus, quippiam extimescat”. Antonii Panormitæ de dictis et factis: 57. 34 George Francis Hill, Corpus of Italian Medals of the Renaissance before Cellini, 2 vols. (London: British Museum, 1930), 12, n. 41 (i); pl. 9, n. 41 (ii). 35 “In oppugnatione Caietae cum aliquando defecissent ad tormenta aenea portentosæ illius amplitudinis saxa nec aliunde haberi facilius possent, quam ex villa, quae ab incolis inveterata opinione adhuc asseritur Ciceronis fuisse, ut alicunde disquirerent istiusmodi saxa rex iussit, sibi Ciceronis villam, si saperent inviolatam servarent. Amplius malle se dixit, tormenta et machinas valere sinere, nullique usui esse, quam iniuria afficere, vel saxa illius viri, qui tot tantosque homines ab iniuria, ac capitis periculo vindicasset patrocinio suo. […] Allatum est a Caietanis quibusdam male literatis Marci Tullii sepulchrum extare adhuc iuxta Formias in via Romana vetustis litteris inscriptum. Quod rex ut primum accepit, laetitia pene perditus, ire nihil cunctatus est, et sentibus rubisque primo tumulum purgans, mox legere inceptans non Marci Tullii, sed Marci Vitruvii epigramma esse comperit. Irrito itaque labore rediens ac vulutu risu solvens, Caietanos, inquit, ex Minerva oleum quidem accepisse, sed sapientiam amisisse”. Antonii Panormitæ de dictis et factis: 34.

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The exterior is an immediate and effective expression of this double image of Alfonso. If, on the one hand, the defensive elements – such as the high towers, the escarped bases, and the deep moats which surround the castle – were perceived by contemporaries as magnificent signs of royal power, on the other, the arch made of white marble worked in an all’antica style, besides celebrating Alfonso as divus rex like an ancient Roman emperor, served to soften the castle’s defensive and military character and to emphasize the sovereign’s culture and refined taste, making Castel Nuovo resemble the residence of a prince rather than that of a tyrant.36 The impression made by the arch enclosed within the piperno towers is well expressed in the letter sent by the Milanese ambassador to Duke Sforza on the

36

On the relevance of Cicero’s Villa in Formia during Renaissance see Adriano Ghisetti Giavarina, “Andrea Palladio e le antichità della Campania (ii)”, Napoli Nobilissima 38 (1999): 7–16 (10–11). On the inscription see Lidio Gasperini, “Memorie formiane dei Vitruvii”, Formianum 8 (2000): 111–117. On the concept of demilitarize princely residences see Patrick Boucheron, “Non domus ista sed urbs: Palais princiers et environnement urbain au Quattrocento (Milan, Mantoue, Urbino)”, in Le palais dans la ville. Espaces urbains et lieux de la puissance publique dans le Méditerranée médiévale, eds. Patrick Boucheron and Jacques Chiffoleau (Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2004), 249–284; Marco Folin, “La dimora del principe negli stati italiani”, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa. Luoghi, spazi, architetture, eds. Donatella Calabi and Elena Svalduz (Vicenza: Angelo Colla, 2010), 349–352. Even though the idea of having a triumphal arch at the entrance on Castel Nuovo was surely precedent, the actual work began around 1452–1453. On the arch see Émile Bertaux, “L’arco e la porta trionfale d’Alfonso e Ferdinando d’Aragona a Castel Nuovo”, Archivio storico per le province napoletane 25 (1900): 1–36; Cornelius von Fabriczy, “Der Triumphbogen Alfonsos i am Castelnuovo zu Neapel”, Jahrbuch der Preußischen Kunstsammlungen 20 (1899): 1–30; 125–158; Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 107–191; Hersey, The Aragonese Arch, 21–56; Hanno-Walter Kruft, Magno Malmanger, “Der Triumphbogen Alfonsos in Neapel. Das Monument und seine politische Bedeutung”, Acta ad archeologiam et artium historiam pertinentiam 6 (1975): 213–305. More recent contributions are Di Battista, “Il cantiere”, 53–100; eadem, “La porta e l’arco di Castelnuovo a Napoli”, Annali di architettura 10–11 (1998–1999): 7–21; Andreas Beyer, Parthenope. Neapel und der Süden der Renaissance (Berlin-München: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2000), 13–58; Christoph Luitpold Frommel, “Alberti e la porta trionfale di Castel Nuovo”, Annali di architettura 20 (2008): 13–36. On the contribution of the sculptors see Francesco Caglioti, “Una conferma per Andrea dell’Aquila scultore: la ΄Madonna΄ di casa Caffarelli”, Prospettiva 69 (1993): 2–27; idem, “Sull’esordio brunelleschiano di Domenico Gagini”, Prospettiva, 91–92 (1998 [1999]), 2 vols., i: 70–90; idem, “Su Isaia da Pisa: due Angeli reggicandelabro”, in Santa Sabina all’Aventino e l’altare eucaristico del Cardinal d’Estouteville per Santa Maria Maggiore, Prospettiva 89–90 (1998): 125–160. Renate Novak, “La prima opera documentata di Pietro da Milano”, Nuovi studi 5 (2000 [2001]): 5–11.

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28 July 1455, where he describes how at the “entrance three massive towers rise up in the ditch to support the bridge, and in front of the door he makes an arch of marble stones, sculpted and worked all’antica with sumptuous and marvellous architecture”.37 He also specifies that the foundations were already laid and were worked by the marble carvers “with care and remarkable diligence”.38 The arch was the final element in the reconstruction of Castel Nuovo under Alfonso i, but it was conceived as an introduction to the castle and to the ceremonial route which announced to all those who entered the castle the magnificence and splendour which they would encounter as they walked between the high austere towers, in the courtyard, in the interior spaces, and in the gardens.39 The entrance to the castle through the all’antica arch, followed by the vestibule with its monumental Catalan ribbed vault, gave an immediate foretaste of the general character of the whole building and in particular of the courtyard, which brought together the principal elements of Catalan courtyards, such as the external staircase and the stone carvings, together with a careful arrangement of the antiquities which Alfonso had begun to acquire in 1447 (Fig. 13.8).40 The courtyard, which was full of plants, was overlooked by loggias, galleries, windows, and balconies, and by the façades of the Gran Sala, the Palatine Chapel and several royal apartments.41 In addition to creating a scenic setting for celebrations and feasts attended by a great number of guests, the combination of Catalan and ancient or all’antica elements served to affirm and display the same political and cultural message that the exterior of the castle had already announced: that Alfonso was a sovereign who was invincible, yet at the same time merciful, and ruled a kingdom which stretched across the Mediterranean.42 Such a complex message 37 Dispacci, 224. 38 Ibid. 39 De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 448. 40 The vestibule was executed in 1446 by the two Catalan pedra-piquers Bartolomeu Prats and Bartolomeu Villasclar. Filangieri, Rassegna (1938), 32; Di Battista, La porta, 8. The court was refashioned only from December 1452, after the defensive works had finished. Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 79; idem, Rassegna (1938): 32. Most probably the two statues that Alfonso sent from Rome to Castel Nuovo, on the 28 October 1447, were ancient. See Camillo Minieri Riccio, “Alcuni fatti di Alfonso i di Aragona: dal 15 aprile 1437 al 31 di Maggio 1458”, Archivio storico per le province napoletane 6 (1881): 1–36; 231–258; 411–461. 41 Filangieri, Rassegna (1938), 33. De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 450. The courtyard was not regularly illuminated at night, but just on certain occasion. For example during September 1465 the courtyard was adorned by fourteen big wrought iron candelabra holding torches. 42 For the use of the courtyard for feasts and celebrations see De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 454–454.

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would have been particularly evident in the setting and display of the monumental staircase in the courtyard and at the entrance of the Gran Sala. The staircase, which alluded to Catalan precedents, was decorated with ancient statues. From Pompeo Sarnelli’s and Domenico Parrino’s guides to Naples we know that, next to the door at the top of the staircase, there were two marble bas-relief portraits of Trajan and Hadrian.43 As Panormita points out, Alfonso i of Aragon regarded Trajan and Hadrian as his predecessors.44 The description of the Florentine humanist Pier Andrea da Verrazzano, dated between 1473 and 1474, informs us that above the door of the Gran Sala there was “the marble figure of a fourteen-year-old naked virgin asleep, of such natural beauty that whoever sees her passes through the door full of hushed admiration so as not to wake her”.45 The sleeping nymph must have been placed in the rectangular niche that was revealed during a recent restoration and probably corresponded to the statue donated to Alfonso in 1446 by the cardinal of Aquileia, Lodovico Trevisan: Alfonso himself wrote on 22 March 1446 to Trevisan, thanking him for the gift of a “primera ymagen” and asking his opinion on the setting he should give the figure, which he decided to identify with 43

44

45

The construction of the staircase was begun in July 1456 by Guadagno and Giovanni Buonocore and by Costanzo di Vico. Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 79–80; idem, Rassegna (1938): p. 41. Pompeo Sarnelli, Guida de’ forestieri curiosi di vedere e d’intendere le cose più notabili della regal città di Napoli e del suo amenissimo distretto (Naples: Giuseppe Roselli, 1685), 37. Domenico Antonio Parrino, Napoli città nobilissima, antica e fedelissima, esposta agli occhi et alla mente de’ curiosi, 2 vols. (Naples: Parrino, 1700), i, 64–65. “Sola Hispania Romae atque Italiae imperatores ac reges dare solita est. At quales imperatores aut quales reges? Traianum, Adrianum, Theodosium, Archadium, Honorium, Theodosium alterum. Postremo Alfonsum, virtutum omnium vivam imaginem, qui cum superioribus his nullo laudationis genere inferior extet, tum maxime religione, id est vera illa sapientia, qua potissimum a brutis animalibus distinguimur, longe superior est atque celebrior”. Antonii Panormitæ de dictis et factis: 92. On Alfonso’s Spanish identity and the retrieval of the laus Hispaniae, and in particular of Trajan, from the Roman imperial rethoric, see Peter Stacey, Roman Monarchy and the Renaissance Prince (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 191–192; idem, “΄Hispania΄ and Royal Humanism in Alfonsine Naples”, in Mediterranean Reflections: Studies in Honour of David Abulafia, Mediterranean Historical Review 26 (2011), 51–65. “Sopra la qual porta si riposa dormendo una vergine innuda, lavorata di marmo, d’età di xiiii anni, di tanta natural bellezza che, qualunque la vede, tutto admirato passa dentro quasi taciendo per non la destare”, Specchietto di Pier Andrea da Verrazzano circa la verità della fede alla S(erenissima) R(egina) d’Ungheria madonna Beatrice d’Aragona l’anno del suo felice sponsalitio, Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Cod. Barber. Lat. 3972. See Tammaro De Marinis, Carlo Dionisotti, “Un opuscolo di Pier Andrea da Verrazano per Beatrice d’Aragona”, Italia Medioevale e Umanistica 10 (1967): 329–331. De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 457–458.

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the nymph Parthenope, the mythical founder of the city of Naples, now happily at peace after so many years of war. In the same letter he also transcribed Panormita’s couplet which was written to accompany the statue and intended to help the spectator to identify the marble effigy placed above the door as Parthenope: “Illa ego Parthenope bello vexata tot annos / Nunc opera Alphonsi parta iam pace quiesco”.46 The imperial genealogy represented by the bas-reliefs of the two Spanish emperors and the image of his adoptive home personified by the statue of the sleeping Parthenope conveyed Alfonso’s dual identity: the ruler of a ‘Mediterranean’ kingdom spanning different countries combined with his new role as the sovereign of the southern kingdom who had chosen the city of Naples as his seat of residence. The image of Alfonso communicated by the door at the entrance of the Gran Sala was completed and confirmed by another portal, which was next to the entrance and led from the Gran Sala to the royal apartments: that is, the inner double-sided “triumphal door” sculpted by Domenico Gagini around 1458 (Fig. 13.9).47 The door showed on one side Alfonso’s siege of Castel Nuovo and on 46

47

The letter is published and discussed in Benedetto Croce, “Una lettera inedita di Alfonso d’Aragona”, Napoli Nobilissima 1 (1892): 127–128; Andrés Giménez Soler, Itinerario del rey don Alfonso de Aragón y de Nápoles (Zaragoza: Mariano Escar, 1908), 224–225; Hersey, The Aragonese Arch, 25; Beyer, Parthenope, 13–17; Zita Agota Pataki, “Nympha ad amoenum fontem dormiens”, CIL VI/5,3*e: Ekphrasis Nymphenbrunnen sowie zur Antikenrezeption und zur politischen Ikonographie am Hof des ungarishen Königs Matthias Corvinus (Stuttgart: Verlag, 2005), 35–36. See De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 450–458; 471–472. The door is 4.70 m high and 1.67 m large. The lower frieze representing Alfonso’s triumph across the ancient centre of Naples was severely damaged during a fire in 1919. For the attribution to Domenico Gagini see Cornelius von Fabriczy, “Domenico Gaggini in Neapel”, Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 28 (1905): 193–195; Franz Burger, Francesco Laurana: eine Studie zur italienischen Quattrocentoskulptur (Strassburg: Heitz, 1907); Hanno-Walter Kruft, Domenico Gagini und seine Werkstatt (München: Bruckmann, 1972), 20–21, cat. 42. On the triumphal door see also Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 89; Kruft, Malmanger, Der Triumphbogen, 213–305; Beyer, Parthenope, 37; 159, n. 144; Antonio Pinelli, “Fatti, parole, immagini. Resoconti scritti e rappresentazioni visive del trionfo napoletano di Alfonso d’Aragona”, in Arte e politica tra Napoli e Firenze. Un cassone per il trionfo di Alfonso d’Aragona, eds. Giancarlo Alisio, Sergio Bertelli and Antonio Pinelli (Modena: Panini, 2006), 52–53. Francesco Caglioti, “Fifteenth-century Reliefs of Ancient Emperors and Empresses in Florence: Production and Collecting”, in Collecting Sculpture in Early Modern Europe, eds. Nicholas Penny and Eike D. Schmidt, Studies in the History of Art 70 (2008): 97–98; idem, “Andrea del Verrocchio e i profili di condottieri antichi per Mattia Corvino”, in Italy and Hungary: Humanism and Art in the Early Renaissance, eds. Péter Farbaky and Louis A. Waldman, Tatti Studies 27 (2011): 532–535.

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the other the king’s triumphal procession into the city with the antiquities of Naples in the background; on both sides of the door depicted in the centre of its upper frieze there was the figure of a reposing nymph surrounded by an oval acanthus garland and flanked by pairs of reclining nymphs and water divinities and profiles of military leaders at the sides of the upper, triangular pediments. The two doors thus echoed each other and formed a pair in the processional route: after entering the Gran Sala, under the figure of Parthenope resting after the war, the court would have awaited the entrance of the king through the door that showed the triumphal entrance of Alfonso i. In this way both entrances to the Gran Sala would have served to reiterate once more his triumphal procession through Naples in the wake of the peace which was symbolized by the sleeping nymph, so reinforcing the precise political and artistic intention to celebrate Alfonso as a “divus[…]triumphator et pacificus”.48 The Gran Sala was the architectural and ceremonial heart of the castle, connected on one side to the royal apartments and on the other to the Palatine Chapel (Fig.  13.10). Built between 1452 and 1457 by the Majorcan architect Guillem Sagrera, on the site of the previous Angevin Sala, the Gran Sala measures 26 m2. With its vast, stellar ribbed vault and central oculus, it is a kind of medieval Pantheon overlooking the gulf of Naples.49 Balcony openings are grouped around the upper part of the room, and between them are ribs reaching up into the octagon, supported on squinches. The ribs form a jagged star whose pinnacle is 28 m above floor level. The central point where the ribs meet is decorated with the arms of the countries under Aragonese rule. The sense of amazement which overcame visitors when they entered the Gran Sala is well expressed around 1473 by Pier Andrea da Verrazzano, who, in describing its geometrical form and decoration, commented with the following words: “so admirable a work of architecture I do not think a building can be found in the world today to compare to it”.50 In his treatise on nobility, written 48 Stacey, Roman Monarchy, 183–196; Caglioti, Fifteenth-century Reliefs, 69; Hill, Corpus, 12, n. 41; De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 459. 49 Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 89–95; Di Battista, “Il cantiere”, 39–45; Hersey, The Aragonese Arch. On the Gran Sala see also Roberto Pane, Il Rinascimento nell’Italia meridionale (Milan: Officina, 1975–1977), 2 vols., i 63–95. Amadeo Serra Desfilis, “‘È cosa catalana’ La Gran Sala de Castelnuovo en el contexto mediterráneo”, Annali di architettura 12 (2000): 7–16. Joan Domenge i Mesquida, “La gran sala de Castelnuovo. Memoria del Alphonsi regis triumphus”, in Le usate leggiadrie. I cortei, le cerimonie, le feste e il costume del Mediterraneo tra xv e il xvi secolo, ed. Gemma T. Colesanti (Montella: Cesfram, 2006), 290–338. For the imperial character of the Gran Sala see Woods-Marsden, “Art and political identity”, 21–22; Serra Desfilis, “‘È cosa catalana’. La Gran Sala”, 12–13. 50 “[…] di tanta mirabile opera d’architectura, che non credo simile edificio si truovi oggi nel mondo”. De Marinis, Dionisotti, “Un opuscolo”: 330–331; De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 459.

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at the end of the fifteenth century, the humanist from Nola Ambrogio Leone defines the Gran Sala as the “triclinio maximo Castellinovi”, praising it for “the structural design and the cleverness in accomplishing the work”.51 In his letter to his Venetian friend Marcantonio Michiel, written in 1524, the Neapolitan humanist Pietro Summonte wrote that “although it is a great work”, the Gran Sala “is something Catalan, which has nothing of the ancient architecture”.52 Summonte’s comment betrays what may have been a general feeling among local humanists, who, while they acknowledged the grandeur of the room, did not recognize the style as local and considered that its references to medieval Iberian precedents tended to cancel out any allusion to ancient models. Covered by one of the largest ribbed vaults ever created, the Gran Sala is closely related to Catalan prototypes, such as the vault of the chapter house in the Cathedral of Barcelona (c.1405–1409).53 The way in which the quadrangular form of the Sala is transformed into a vaulted octagon recalled fourteenth-­ century chapter houses, such as ones in the cathedrals of Valencia (1356–1359) and Girona (1417), as well as those in the cathedrals in Oviedo (1300–1314), Ávila (1300–1307), and Burgos (1316).54 The monumentality of the room also recalls the throne rooms of Arab palaces in Sicily and Spain, such as the one in the royal palace of the Zisa in Palermo (12th century), as well as the Salon in the Castillo de la Zuda in Lerida (12th century), the throne room in the royal residence of the Aljaferia in Zaragoza (12th century), and the Salon de Embajadores de los Reales Alcázares in Seville (1427).55 Despite Summonte’s comment, it appears that the grandeur of such medieval foreign models was actually enhanced by the allusion to the vaults of ancient buildings, made through the impressive circular oculus at the centre. By means of such allusions, Alfonso may have wanted to create a connection not only with the Pantheon in Rome but also with local examples, such as the thermal baths of the Campi Flegrei, near Naples.56 51

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“Ad haec quid de arcubus dicetis, quid de testudinibus fornicibusque refractis inter sese atque per angulos prolatos earum subductis lapideis filis, qualis est Neapoli in triclinio maximo Castellinovi, in quibus mensurae rationem an ingenium efficiendi operis prius probetis ambiguum est”. Ambrosii Leonis Nolani de nobilitate rerum dialogus. Eiusdem ex Aristotele translatum Opus de virtutibus (Venetiis: per Melchiorem Sessam et Petrum de Ravanis socios, 1525), ch. 62. “La sala grande del Castelnuovo è pur grande opera; ma è cosa catalana, nihil omnino habens veteris architecturae”. For Summonte’s comment on the Gran Sala in his 1524 letter to Michiel see Fausto Nicolini, L’arte napoletana del Rinascimento e la lettera di Pietro Summonte a Marcantonio Michiel (Naples: Ricciardi, 1923), 171. Serra Desfilis, “‘È cosa catalana’. La Gran Sala”, 8–9. For further relant comparisons see Domenge i Mesquida, La gran sala de Castelnuovo. Ibid., 10. Ibid., 10–11. Ibid., 12.

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The high walls of the Gran Sala were covered with magnificent tapestries, such as the ones representing the episodes of the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon, known as the stories of the “Pastorella”, and others with the stories of famous princes and rulers, such as Alexander the Great, Alcibiades, and Samson, following a well-established tradition of decorating public buildings with cycles of famous men in the main centres of Italy, and also in Castel Nuovo itself, where Robert of Anjou had commissioned one such cycle.57 On the right of the entrance stood a catafalque which occupied an entire side of the room, with the royal throne, worked in gold and silk, surmounted by a pallium, a baldachin that covered the central part of the platform and seats on a lower level and on both sides of the throne (left and right).58 If the Gran Sala was the place where official ceremonies attended by many people were held, such as parliament assemblies, wedding banquets, and even funerals, more private meetings would have taken place in the royal apartments, located in the north wing of the castle. These were accessible directly from the Gran Sala or from the large open staircase in the courtyard and were formed of an enfilade of rooms with windows facing the courtyard on one side and the external “cittadella” on the other. From these windows the king could enjoy a privileged view of his horses and of the jousts that sometimes took place in the moat below the castle just outside its walls.59 We have evidence for only three rooms of Alfonso’s apartment, with coffered ceilings decorated with the Aragonese crests.60 The first room next to the Gran Sala was the Sala del Miglio, and overlooked the external staircase with two windows; it was then followed by the Sala del Nodo, or Sala dell’Interlazzo, with a gilded ceiling, and then the Sala dell’Ermellino, with a ceiling of 428 coffers; the latter room was accessible from the courtyard via a spiral staircase, on the model of the caracol de Mallorca. From the description of the rooms given by the Modenese ambassador in 1494, we know that the apartments formed a sequence of seven rooms, which went from the two most private spaces used as bedrooms, followed by 57 Nicolini, L’arte, 233–236. See Filangieri, Rassegna (1938): 43. For the Aragonese tapestries see Lina Montalto, “La bottega dei drappi sotto il regno di Alfonso di Aragona”, Napoli Nobilissima 2 (1921), 143–148. For the cycle of the famous men during Renaissance see Maria Monica Donato, “Gli eroi romani tra storia ed “exemplum”: i primi cicli umanistici di Uomini Famosi”, in Memoria dell’antico nell’arte italiana, ed. Salvatore Settis, 3 vols. (Turin, Einaudi: 1985), ii, 97–152. 58 De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 459. 59 Ibid., 460. 60 Filangieri, Rassegna (1939), 37–40; idem, Castel Nuovo, 237–329. See also Berteaux, L’arco, 59, n. 2. For the other apartments in Castel Nuovo, such as the one of the Queen mother and the one of Federico d’Aragona, see Filangieri, Rassegna (1938), 34–36; 51–57; 62–65; idem, La casa di Federico d’Aragona in Castel Nuovo (Naples: i.t.e.a., 1926).

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an enfilade and ending in a room adjoining the Gran Sala, where the courtiers used to amuse themselves.61 The processional route that led from the apartments to the Gran Sala culminated in the Palatine Chapel. The chapel was adorned with fine tapestries representing sacred subjects, including possibly Rogier van der Weyden’s series of paintings of The Passion of Christ.62 Ambassadors and visitors were especially taken to admire the Royal Library, with its lavish collection of illuminated manuscripts, located in a room overlooking the sea, and the treasury, located in the Torre dell’Oro.63 This contained jewellery and tapestries, and also a cabinet with 430 small removable drawers in which Alfonso kept his splendid collection of gems, cameos, and medals, celebrated by humanists such as Giovanni Pontano as the greatest collection of the age, surpassing even the famous one belonging to Pope Paul ii (Pietro Barbo).64 The splendours of the castle also included the royal gardens: a system of drawbridges led from the castle to the raised gardens located on its western side, surrounded by walls and full of fruit trees and flowers, with exotic birds, fountains, and pools.65 With his integration of updated castle architecture and Catalan and all’antica features, as well as ancient sculptures, lavish furniture, tapestries, 61

The ambassador visited Castel Nuovo on 8 May 1494 in the company of the Pope’s legate and the Pope’s nephew Goffré Borgia. Vitale, Ritualità, 43; De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 460–461. 62 Filangieri, Rassegna (1939), 46–49; Filangieri, Castel Nuovo, 241. See Michael Baxandall, “Bartolomeus Facius on Painting: a Fifteenth-Century Manuscript of ΄De viris illustribus΄”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 27 (1964): 105–107; Hersey, The Aragonese Arch, 13. Such tapestries were also described by Pietro Summonte: Nicolini, L’arte, 162–163; Francesco Bologna, Napoli e le rotte mediterranee della pittura da Alfonso il Magnanimo a Ferdinando il Cattolico (Naples: Società Napoletana di Storia Patria, 1977), 82. 63 On the location of the Royal Library see Marin Sanudo, “La spedizione di Carlo viii in Italia”, ed. Rinaldo Fulin, Archivio veneto 3 (1873): 238–239. Bianca de Divitiis, “I resoconti di guerra come fonte per la storia dell’architettura”, in La battaglia nel Rinascimento meridionale. Moduli narrativi tra parole e immagini, eds. Giancarlo Abbamonte et al. (Rome: Viella, 2011), 321–334, eadem, Castel Nuovo, 461. On the contents and history of the Aragonese Royal Library see Tammaro De Marinis, La Biblioteca napoletana dei Re d’Aragona (Milan: 1952–1969), 5 vols., 2 suppl. 64 On 31 January 1455 the Bishop of Novara and the ambassador Alberico Maletta, together with the Genoese ambassador and Cardinal Capranica were taken to visit the royal jewels and tapestries. See Dispacci, n. 79, 204. For a description of the repository see Sanudo, “La spe­ dizione”: 238. For Pontano’s comment on Alfonso as collector of gems see Giovanni Pontano, De splendore, in I libri delle virtù sociali, ed. Francesco Tateo (Rome: Bulzoni, 1999), 238–239. Sanudo, “La spedizione”, 238–239. De Divitiis, “Castel Nuovo”, 461. 65 Sanudo, “La spedizione”, 238. See also Filangieri, Castel Nuovo: 251.

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jewels, exotic plants, and animals, Alfonso created a modern princely residence, which he consciously intended to rival the castles built by other major rulers of his time. Alfonso i of Aragon and Francesco Sforza: A Case of Architectural Rivalry In the letters of the Milanese ambassadors written from Naples between 1455 and 1458 there is an account of what was in effect an authentic architectural competition between Alfonso i of Aragon and Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan. Having confronted each other as enemies on the battlefield, the two rulers were now engaged in a courtly – and long-distance – rivalry in the art of building, competing with each other on the dimensions and features of their respective residences. Castel Nuovo in Naples and Porta Giovia in Milan were the two principal dynastic residences being built in Italy at the time and, like Nicholas v’s Vatican Palace, they were conceived as veritable royal palaces specifically and programmatically designed in each case for the sovereign and his court as a physical representation of the totality of his authority over the city.66 Francesco Sforza’s ambassadors continually accompanied their political assessments with detailed accounts of the progress of the building of Castel Nuovo. The amount of detail in their letters seems to go beyond the normal ambassadorial obligation to give a full account of all that was going on in the kingdom, and appears to be a response to a specific request from the duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza, who at the same time was engaged in the reconstruction of the castle of Porta Giovia.67 In a letter written in 1455 the Milanese ambassadors Troilo di Muro and Orfeo Cenni, after noting the magnificence of the exterior of Castel Nuovo with its beautiful walls and towers, stated that “in the interior because of the restricted space available to him, [Alfonso] has not been able to work in a style befitting the exterior”, a weakness in the design of Castel Nuovo of which Francesco seemed to have been already informed. Even though – as they remarked – Alfonso would outdo his rival as far as the exterior of the building 66 Folin, Dimora, 350–351. 67 Evelyn S. Welch, Art and authority in Renaissance Milan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 169–238; Patrick Boucheron, Le pouvoir de bâtir: urbanisme et politique édilitaire à Milan (xive xve siècles) (Rome: École Française de Rome, 1998), 200–218; Luciano Patetta, “Il castello nell’età sforzesca (1450–1499)”, in Il Castello Sforzesco di Milano, ed. Maria Teresa Fiorio (Milan: Skira, 2005), 79–87; Folin, Dimora, 350.

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and “was making every effort to adjust the interior by adorning it as much as possible”, the ambassadors reassured their duke that he would carry the day as far as the interior of the castle was concerned.68 At the time this letter was written the defensive system of Castel Nuovo had been completed, but works on the interior had only just begun: the construction of the Gran Sala was still under way, and the monumental staircase in the courtyard had not even been begun. Even though they noted the tapestries and treasures which adorned the king’s apartments, at that date the ambassadors were not able to envisage the final appearance of Castel Nuovo’s courtyard. Apparently Francesco Sforza was not the only one consumed with curiosity. From the same letters it emerges that Alfonso too was interested in attaining information about the castle of Porta Giovia. On 10 April 1456 the ambassador Bottigella wrote to the duke of Milan that, after receiving from the king many “caresses and offers”, Alfonso asked “specific questions in a desire to know about your lordship and about the castle of Porta Giovia and how your lordship was carrying out the work”.69 And in a letter written on 1 November 1457, the ambassador Francesco Cusani narrated how, when he was received by Alfonso, the king went straight to the point by asking him how the duke “was working on the castle and what point he had reached”, thus revealing his “great desire to see it”. The ambassador replied that Francesco Sforza was “not working only on the castle in Milan, but also those in Lodi, Cremona, Melgnano, and many other places”.70 Answering Alfonso’s request for specific detail on the internal courtyard, Cusano celebrated his master by describing it as “beautiful” and saying that, together with the other buildings, it demonstrated that the duke “was a marvellous engineer”.71 In what was no doubt an elegant effort to keep up with such a paean about his rival, Alfonso rejoiced in Francesco’s “pleasure in building, since he shared the self-same desire”. In his eagerness to respond to the list he had just heard of buildings renovated by the duke, Alfonso invited the ambassador to go and see “the things that he had done […] at Castel Nuovo and at Castel dell’Ovo and in many other places”.72 Thus, by means of their ambassadors, the two rulers kept a mutual eye on each other’s castles, just as they were able to gaze at their portraits. On 12 August 1456 Francesco received Giovanni di Cosimo de’ Medici’s enthusiastic comments about the bronze portrait bust of Alfonso which the Florentine 68 69 70

Dispacci, 317. See Doc. 1 in the Appendix. Dispacci, 389. See Doc. in the Appendix. Dispacci, 562. See Doc. in the Appendix. On the castles restored by Francesco Sforza see Antonello Vincenti, Castelli viscontei e sforzeschi (Milan: Rusconi, 1981). 71 Ibid. 72 Ibid.

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sculptor Mino da Fiesole had just finished working on in Naples.73 On 25 October 1456 the Milanese ambassador Antonio da Trezzo wrote to the duke that Alfonso had taken the portrait medal of the duke into his hands, playfully remarking how much Francesco had put on weight since the last time they had met because of all the good food available in Lombardy.74 It was possibly in response to the news of Mino’s bust that Francesco Sforza decided to send Alfonso his portrait medal, which can be identified with the one sculpted by Gianfrancesco Enzola in 1456.75 Renowned military leaders, both Alfonso and Francesco were keen to appear as expert engineers and passionate builders, and were conscious that their castles would transmit their images as much as their portraits sculpted in stone and bronze. In revealing the rivalry between the two principal rulers of the Italian peninsula over their royal palaces and other residences, these letters demonstrate how architecture was recognized as one of the primary activities of a ruler, by means of which his power and magnificence could be manifested. Unfortunately Alfonso was unable to finish his great project, as he died with the marble arch at the entrance still only half completed. The feeling of general abandonment of the building site is well expressed by the Milanese ambassador Giacomo Antonio Della Torre, who on 9 June 1458 wrote to Francesco Sforza from Rome that Isaia da Pisa, one of the major sculptors of Castel Nuovo’s arch, had arrived the night before from Naples, and had reported that he and the other sculptors, masons, and carvers had been dismissed and that “no more work was going on there, but the only concern is to guard the lands and fortresses well; and each evening, from the time of sunset onwards, all you can see in Naples are partisans, spears, and other weapons, all indications from which one should judge that the King is unwell”.76 73

74 75

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In a letter written on the 12 August 1456 Giovanni of Cosimo de’ Medici recommended to Francesco Sforza Mino da Fiesole as portraitist and informed him that he has just returned from Naples were he had portrayed Alfonso “that seems to live”. Francesco Caglioti, “Mino da Fiesole, Mino del Reame, Mino da Montemignaio: un caso chiarito di sdoppiamento d’identità artistica”, Bollettino d’arte 76 (1991): 44–49. See also Caglioti, “Fifteenth-century Reliefs”, 69. Dispacci, 447–448. See doc. Appendix 1. The surviving medal of Francesco Sforza sculpted by Giovanfrancesco Enzola (active 1455–1478) in 1456 is in bronze and it is possible that its lead version has gone lost. The right of the medal shows Francesco’s bust in plain armour, and carries the inscription “fr sfortia vicecomes mli dvx iiii belli pater et pacis avtor mcccclvi, vf” across field; the reverse shows a greyhound seated under a tree, with a hand issuing from the clouds reaches to touch it, and shows the inscription “io fr enzolae parmensis opvs”. The medal measures 42 mm (Hill, Corpus, 281). Dispacci, 647–648; Appendix, doc. 6.

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Epilogue Alfonso died eighteen days later. Even though he was unable to complete the entrance arch while alive, he still succeeded in making Castel Nuovo the image of himself and of his kingdom. By combining references to architectural and cultural models from Spain and France with ancient and medieval examples found throughout southern Italy, he not only managed to convey a sense of his multinational kingdom but also appeared himself to be both a grand condottiere and a humanist, inspired in war as in architecture by classical models, Caesar as well as Vitruvius. Castel Nuovo was soon imitated by several castles within the Kingdom, such as the ones in Venosa (1470), Mignano Montelungo (c.1486), Taranto (1487), Manfredonia (1487), and Vairano Patenora (1491). Other princely residences in other parts of the peninsula were also influenced by Castel Nuovo, such as Pius’s ii Rocca in Tivoli (c.1461) and the Orsini castle in Bracciano (c.1470). Through his work on Castel Nuovo, Alfonso created a new kind of royal residence, thus carrying out what twenty years earlier he is said to have exclaimed when he stood before the ruins of the Angevin castle: “If the site were to be given any name other than ‘new’, [Alfonso] would surely not have spent a single penny on its reconstruction”.77 Appendix

Doc. 1: Letter from Troilo de Muro and Orfeo Cenni to Franceco Sforza, Naples, 6 December 1455, n. 120, pp. 316-319 (317-318) Da Pedemonte scrissemo ala excellentia vostra e avisemola de la nostra gionta ala maiestà del signore re e dela bona coglienza facta a nuy da quella e così dele altre cose, come quella haverà visto; dappoy ne venimo qui, dove la maiestà del re scrisse che fussemo bene visti e recevuti et mostratone tutte sue forteze e monitione. E già fina hora havemo visto Castelnovo quale, come debbe havere inteso la signoria vostra, tutte ha rattificato con bellissime muray e torre et barbacani, che è una cosa meravegliosa dela grosseza e ornamento dele mure in forteza et di bella dimostratione di fora. Ma dentro comprendemo non possa fare quelle cose consequente alle mure di fora per el pocho spacio, come vostra signoria è informata, e in questo credemo vostra signoria vincerà, ma de le mura perderà; pure molto se sforza de cunciarlo più ornatamente che’l po’. E così havemo veduto le sue munitione de bombarde, quale sonno molto belle,

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“Si aliud, quam novi, loco nomen inesset, profecto ne quadrantem quidem in illius instauratione erogaturus esset”. Tristani Caraccioli: 84.

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grosse e in quantità e tutte sonno facte alal guisa de la cimbalina de Genua. Le mura et zinque torre che sonno nel prefato castello sonno generalmente grosse palme xxii de cava, le torre sonno di tondo palme ccxx, di altezza sonno cclxxx e tutte de petra viva, lavorate a scarpello, tutte abeccadelate, e di fora à principiato e una bona parte facto uno revelino dove stariano intro mille cavalli e iim fanti a pede in batalia, dove sarà uno fosso scarpato di fora, in lo quale poterà intrare l’aqua del mare. Quale cose sono belle e meravegliolse a vedere.

Doc. 2: Letter from an anonymous Milanese ambassador to Francesco Sforza, Naples, 28 July 1455, n. 84, pp. 223–225 (224) Con grandissima solicitudine et diligentia se va fabricando el molo de questo porto; l’è quasi reduto sì che poco mancha complir. Rasonasse che compido el sarà el re pretende far 2 torre superbe e forte, l’una in cavo del dito muolo, l’altra ex opposito verso le mura de la terra, siché tra quelle 2 la bucha del dito muolo sempre se possa defender. Certamente sì quel ch’è fato chomo quel che se desegna de far l’è una opera magnifica et relevata. Non se intermete però alguna cossa a continuatione de llavorieri del Castel nuovo, sì dentro chome de fuora, ala intrada del qual son levadi dentro dal fosso 3 turioni massizi per pozar suso el ponte, et da la porta fa un arco de marmori scorpidi et lavoradi al’antica con un’architectura somptuosa e mirabele. Son zà gitadi li fondamenti et lavorasse per li marmorarii con studio et singular diligentia. Son deputadi in li diti lavorieri del Castello de ordinario per spexa ducati 3000 ogni mexe.



Doc. 3: Letter from Giovanni Matteo Bottigella to Francesco Sforza, Naples, 10 April 1456, n. 149, pp. 383–390 (390) Innance me parta me trovarò anchora cum la maiestate del re, la quale me disse heri voleva che io vedesse Castellonovo et tute queste forteze et tute le zoye soe. Et faceme tante careze et offerte che più non se poteria dire, domandandome strictamente de la persona vostra et de castello de Porta Zobia como lo faceva la signoria vostra, il che hebbe piacere intendere.



Doc. 4: Letter from Francesco Cusani to Francesco Sforza, Naples 1 November 1457, n. 218, pp. 559–564 (562) La maiestà del re me domandò strectamente se la vostra signoria faceva lavorare al suo castello et in que termine l’era. Gli disse in que termine l’è et che la vostra celsitudine non sollo fa lavorare al castello de Milano, ma a Lode, Cremona, Melegnano et molti altri lochi; compresi che la maiestà sua haveria grande voglia de potere vedere el dicto castello de Milano. Me domandò de la

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corte de la vostra signoria, simelmente gli disse quanto la vostra celsitudine l’haveva facta bella et de tuti queli hedificii gli ne disse quello ch’è ‘l vero, che pare alla sua maiestà che la vostra excellentia fosse mirabilissimo inzignere et diseme che l’haveva grande piacere che la vostra celsitudine pigliasse tanto piacere in edificare, perché concoreva in una voglia con la vostra celsitudine, et comenzome a dire le cose che dopoi la mia partita de qua l’haveva facto in Castello Novo, Castello del’Ovo et in moti altri luoghi li quali disse che’l voleva che vedesse. Poi me domandò se la vostra celsitudine se delectava de le caze, gli disse che sì, et in questo la maiestà sua me disse quanto el n’era pazo, dicendo che se la vostra celsitudine se delecta de la cacia et gusta la cacia di Milano cioè di niby, che la gli gusterà più che tuto lo resto de le cacie.

Doc. 5: Letter from Antonio da Trezzo a Francesco Sforza, Naples, 25 October 1456, n. 168, pp. 446–448 (447–448) Miser Matheo Malferito è venuto et ha facto una optima relatione de la signoria vostra in vostra grandissima laude et comendatione, ma cum luy non sonno ancora potuto essere ad ragionamento ordinato perché non so’ stato fermo qua, ma la matina che’l se presentò al re alla Torre, giungendo io in camera, la maiestà sua me domandò et dedeme una medaglia de piombo che l’havea in mano dicendome: «Antonio, guarda se cognosci questa effigie». Io vedutola respose che l’era la effigie de la signoria vostra, me disse che guardase bene se la ve somigliava, gli disse che me pareva molto naturale, allora sua maiestà cum volto molto alegro la ritolse dicendo ad molti signori che gli erano che havevati una bona presentia et così fossivo grandissimamente commendato da tuti. El grande siniscalco disse che’l non ve haveria recognosciuto parendoli che la vostra signoria fosse ingrassata, el re respose che non è da meravigliare perché vostra signoria è in Lombardia dove sonno le migliore cose del mondo, et che se sua maiestà gli fosse stata più che non fece crede che seria etiam ingrassato. Io respose che vostra signoria non era grassa ma che seti formoso de membre, sua maiestà ridendo disse ch’io faceva bene ad escusarve. El patriarcha d’Alesandria disse che ad luy etiam se dice che è grasso et che’l se excusa per eadem verba ch’io excusava la signoria vostra. El patriarcha prefato et lo principe de Salerno me hanno dicto che gli facia havere una de quelle medaglie, siché piacendo alla signoria vostra le potete mandare aciò ve possono contemplare.

Doc. 6: Letter from Giacomo Antonio Della Torre a Francesco Sforza, Rome, 9 June 1458, n. 253, pp. 647–648 Uno maistro Isaia marmoraro singular maistro, el quale haveva certe grande opere del re ale mane, tornò hersera da Napoli et a me ha deto che l’è stato

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casso insieme cum tutti li altri scolpitori, muratori et maistri di legname, et niente si lavora più, ma solo si attende a buona guardia de la terra et de le forteze, et che ogni sera dal tramontar del sole indreto non si vede altro per Napoli che partixane, lanze et altre arme: tutti sono signali da iudicare non tropo bono essere la maiestà del re.

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Figure 13.1

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Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the exterior.

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Figure 13.2

Lagopesole, view of Frederick ii’s castle, c.1230.

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Figure 13.3

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Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the exterior; detail of the towers.

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Figure 13.4

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Nardo Rapicano, detail of the scarps of Castel Nuovo, c.1492. Illumination from Giuniano MAIO, De Majestate, Paris, BnF, Ms. italien 1711, f. 52v.

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Figure 13.5

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Plan of Castel Nuovo. A Torre del Beverello; B Torre di Guardia; C Torre di Mezzo; D Torre dell’Oro; E Torre San Giorgio; e. cittadella; F moat; G entrance arch; H courtyard; I Gran Sala; L royal apartments; M Palatine Chapel. From Achille Stella, Castelnuovo di Napoli alla luce dei documenti e della storia, Naples 1928.

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Figure 13.6

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Castel Nuovo from the sea, with the Torre San Vincenzo (The banishment of the French from Naples in July 1495). From Domenico Antonio Ferraiolo, Cronaca della Napoli aragonese, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, Ms. M 801, ff. 115v–116.

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Figure 13.7

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Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the exterior; detail of the triumphal arch.

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Figure 13.8

Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the courtyard.

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Figure 13.9

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Naples, Castel Nuovo, Porta del Trionfo by Domenico Gagini.

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Figure 13.10 Naples, Castel Nuovo, view of the Gran Sala.

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chapter 14

The Residences of the Kings of Sicily, from Martin of Aragon to Ferdinand the Catholic* Marco Rosario Nobile

A Complex Story

In February 1434 Joan Benet, fuster [carpenter] dela Ciutat de Valencia, was rewarded for having brought to the court of Palermo, in the presence of King Alfonso, the models (les mostres) of the new towers erected in the sovereign’s palace (Real Vell) in the Aragonese city.1 As will be seen below, a series of clues reveals that the royal seat in Palermo also underwent a series of architectural transformations in the same period. For historians of architecture, this episode may represent an object lesson: drawing up a history of the royal residences in Sicily – however influenced it may be by the state of preservation of the buildings and the surviving documentation – inevitably requires, at least to a certain extent, a broader overview which must extend to the capital cities of the Aragonese kingdom. In this context, it would first be necessary (although currently problematic) to examine and compare the ceremonial practices, behavioural codes, and uses made of the royal residences.2 At the same time it seems increasingly evident that, during the 15th century, the mobility of the royal court – as well as that of the aristocrats, merchants, and master builders – slowly shaped a modern, homogeneous common language which is currently defined as ‘Mediterranean Gothic’.3

* I wish to thank Dr Maria Sofia Di Fede and Dr Emanuela Garofalo for their valuable comments which improved the text of this article, as well as Dr Maurizio Vesco for the profuse archival documentation. 1 Mercedes Gómez-Ferrer Lozano, “La reforma del Real Vell de Valencia en época de Alfonso el Magnánimo, recuerdo del palacio desde Sicilia”, Lexicon. Storie e architettura in Sicilia e nel Mediterraneo 8 (2009): 2–22. 2 Such a task, though without including Sicily, has been undertaken in the useful book by Rafael Dominguez Casas, Arte y etiqueta de los Reyes Catolicos. Artistas, residencias, jardines y bosques (Madrid: Editorial Alpuerto, 1993). 3 See especially: Una arquitectura gótica mediterránea, eds. Eduard Mira and Arturo Zaragozá Catalán (Valencia: Generalitat Valenciana, Conselleria de Cultura i Educació, 2003).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���5 | doi 10.1163/9789004315501_015

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Sicily, however, is also an ancient island, and for the Aragonese kings it was a long-contested kingdom, which meant they had to legitimize their dynastic rule over it.4 Since the War of the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, the island had been under Aragonese influence. After a long period of turmoil, dominated by the local aristocracy and constant quarrels with the Angevins of Naples, it was only at the beginning of the 15th century that Martin the Humane (died 1410) joined together the kingdoms of Aragon and Sicily. The connection between the two kingdoms continued without interruption throughout the 15th century. In contrast to the kingdom of Naples, which was governed by its own dynastic rulers after the death of Alfonso v (1458), Sicily and Aragon shared the same sovereigns, namely Juan ii (died 1479) and Ferdinand the Catholic (died 1516),5 although by 1415 Ferdinand I Trastamara (died 1416) had already established a viceroy at the head of the island’s governing body. After the violent clash with the baronial aristocracy during the reconquest of the island by King Martin,6 a complex governmental organization was established from the late 14th century onwards. Although this was not accompanied by a clear architectural programme, with models imported from Aragon and Catalonia (as happened with some of the private initiatives of the local aristocracy7), the efforts put into achieving dynastic recognition by the Trastamara kings influenced a series of architectural programmes directed at a symbolic appropriation of the emblems and insignia from the Norman and Suevian past. It is therefore not surprising that blocks of stone belonging to a spiral staircase with a helical barrel vault ceiling were recently found in Noto Antica, among the remains of the castle (destroyed by an earthquake in 1693, but which we know to have been restructured during the first half of the 15th century by the governor, Peter of Aragon, brother of King Alfonso). This kind of work, known to experts of stereotomy as the vis de Saint Gilles,8 was in fact 4 See the interesting interpretation in Arturo Zaragozá Catalán, “Una lectura arquitectónica del Libro de las Sucesiones del Reino de Sicilia”, Lexicon. Storie e architettura in Sicilia e nel Mediterraneo 9 (2009): 7–12. 5 For an excellent historical overview, see: David Abulafia, The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms 1200–1500. The Struggle for Dominion (London: Addison Wesley Longman Ltd, 1997). 6 Pietro Corrao, Governare un regno. Potere, società e istituzioni in Sicilia fra Trecento e Quattrocento (Naples: Liguori, 1991). 7 On Palermo, see the many documents in Geneviève Bresc-Bautier and Henri Bresc, “Maramma. I mestieri della costruzione nella Sicilia medievale”, in I mestieri. Organizzazione Tecniche Linguaggi (Palermo: Quaderni del Circolo semiologico siciliano, 1984), 145–184. 8 A name derived from the prototype found in Saint Gilles du Gard; J.-M. Pérouse de Montclos, L’architecture à la française au milieu du xve a la fin du xviiie siècle (Paris: Picard, [1982] 2001), 181–182.

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literally inspired by the stunning 13th-century staircase preserved in the Castello Maniace in Syracuse, located near the rooms presumably intended for Emperor Frederick ii (Fig. 14.1).9 The building, a real emblem of royalty, was distinctive for the complexity of its design and the implied allusions to the ancient world, in particular to the ramp of Hadrian’s mausoleum in Rome. This kind of interpretation is not extravagant if we reflect on the existence of parallel cases and on the status that a fully visible stone staircase implies. At the end of the 14th century, a vis de Saint Gilles (identical in its design and the shape of the stones to the example found in Syracuse, so it appears obvious it was modelled on the staircase of the Castello Maniace) was built in Barcelona in the tower linking the major royal palace with the cathedral.10 In the middle of the next century, Guillem Sagrera chose to build a grandiose modern staircase in Castel Nuovo in Naples, this time a caracol de Mallorca, i.e. with a central spiral and open centre, confirming the symbolic and ceremonial value of the helical staircase.11 Similar historiographical problems, concerning the revalorization of the local medieval architecture, crop up when examining a masterly work such as the Norman palace outside the walls called La Zisa, which was given to the humanist Antonio Beccadelli (known as Panormita) as a place of residence, around 1440, by the very same Alfonso the Magnanimous.12 It would be simplistic to think that possession of La Zisa and its surrounding gardens was more a question of financial profit than interest in antiquities and royal magnificence. The antiquarian prestige of the palace was echoed in the long and detailed description of it made a century later by Leandro Alberti.13 Moreover, some of the later ‘restorations’ of the mosaics of La Zisa carried out in 1511, when the palace belonged to Maria de Acuña (the widow of the viceroy Fernando de Acuña, who had been granted possession of it in 1490), could not be explained any other way.14 9

10 11

12 13 14

Arturo Zaragozá Catalán, “La escalera de caracol tipo Vis de Saint Gilles”, Lexicon. Storie e architettura in Sicilia 4 (2007): 8–14; Maria Mercedes Bares, “La Vis de Saint-Gilles del Castello Maniace di Siracusa: un’audace sperimentazione di stereotomia”, ibid.: 15–23. See also the recent book by Maria Mercedes Bares, Il castello Maniace di Siracusa. Stereotomia e tecniche costruttive nell’architettura del Mediterraneo (Siracusa: Emanuele Romeo Editore, 2011), 131–142. Arturo Zaragozá Catalán, La escalera, 10. Joan Domenge i Mesquida, “Guillem Sagrera”, in Gli ultimi indipendenti. Architetti del gotico mediterraneo, eds. Emanuela Garofalo and Marco Rosario Nobile (Palermo: Edizioni Caracol, 2007), 58–93, in particular 81. Nino Basile, Palermo felicissima. Divagazione d’arte e di storia, serie ii, ed. Salvatore Cardella (Palermo: Grafiche G. Fiore & figli, 1938), 87–95. Leandro Alberti, Descrittione di tutta Italia […] Aggiuntaui la descrittione di tutte l’isole (Venice: Ludovico degli Avanzi, 1567) (ii Parte), 47–49. Giuseppe Bellafiore, La Zisa di Palermo (Palermo: Flaccovio, 1978), 19–21.

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The magnificence of the Norman buildings of the 12th century sparked Martin the Humane’s interest in the recovery and reuse of precious salvaged materials taken from them. In 1405, detailed requests were made from Barcelona to have salvaged materials sent over from Sicily (even columns and fountains) as well as master builders, experts in laying slabs of precious marble. The following year, the king insisted on having four columns (with bases and capitals) sent over to Catalonia, which had been dismantled at his behest from the Cuba room, presumably after the attempt to remove the porphyry columns from the Empress’s room in the Norman Palazzo Reale in Palermo.15 The extent to which the legacy, or indeed the charm, of these refined and authoritative constructions influenced the architecture of the 15th century in its tendency for revival and emulation in references and linguistic choices is a problematic question. The literary testimonies indicate that it was not only a case of endurance through persistence or the simple discovery of a possible ‘functional actuality’ in some of these solutions, but also that conscious choices were made on the basis of the age and worth of the objects in question. This area of research is yet to be developed: we are used to a purely horizontal interpretation concerned only with the contemporary context, but the architectural objects under consideration do not belong to the sphere of the ‘Renaissance’ alone.

The Network of Royal Properties

There were many royal properties in Sicily. It is not easy to make precise calculations from the lists of state-owned properties, which fluctuated over time, but architectural structures were located in around fifty different centres.16 This network was built up over the centuries and inherited from the past. From 1392 (with the aftermath of the civil war, which dragged on for some years), King Martin’s army came to occupy the island. The palaces and castles inherited from the previous ruling families doubled in number with the properties confiscated from the island’s unruly aristocracy and in particular the Chiaramonte family.17 15

“Aquelles quatre colones de porfis”: Salvatore Fodale, “Martino l’Umano e i beni culturali siciliani: restauri e spoliazioni”, La Memoria 7 (2006): 43–52. 16 Henri Bresc and Ferdinando Maurici, “I castelli demaniali della Sicilia (secoli xiii–xv)”, in Castelli e fortezze nelle città italiane e nei centri minori italiani (secoli xiii–xv), eds. Francesco Panero and Giuliano Pinto (Cherasco: Centro Internazionale di Ricerca sui Beni Culturali, 2009), 271–317, 291. 17 Patrizia Sardina, Palermo e i Chiaromonte: splendore e tramonto di una signoria (Caltanissetta-Roma: Salvatore Sciascia Editore, 2003), 109–111.

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In addition, further particular situations must be recalled, such as those pertaining to south-east Sicily and the estate known as the Camera Reginale, which directly depended on the queen, benefiting from a distinct administrative regime.18 As regards their function and form, these buildings all served different purposes: most of them were sites exclusively reserved for military use, such as towers and castles; some buildings had sundry characteristics, at times used for temporary accommodation or at least able to host political meetings; a last group included residences and civic palaces containing apartments with more comfortable living conditions. As for the various problems posed by residential buildings, naturally enough, not all of them can be easily deciphered. An initial interpretation issue arises from the very nature of the sources, given that documents (inventories and accounts) do not always provide a compact, certain, and complete corpus of information. The archival research to date can certainly offer – at least, in cases where there are inventories – a clearer idea of the distributive criteria and the degree of average comfort which some of the buildings afforded. For example, it is known that in 1444 the apartments of the royal castle of Termini, occupied by a Catalan governor and a garrison of some twenty soldiers, comprised a hall, four rooms (with quite good furniture and even the presence of a French tapestry), a kitchen, and a chapel.19 Information, however, often appears to be quite scarce. Given the importance of the building throughout the 15th century, the information we have on, for instance, the Ursino castle in Catania is far too limited. King Frederick’s stronghold was a royal seat in the 14th century, and in 1361–1362 Queen Constance had the interiors decorated with hangings, for which she brought in skilled artisans (one Sicilian, Thomas Pecolella, and three Catalans, Francesch Saragoça of Barcelona, Pere Ramon of Perpignan, and Antoni Veyll of Majorca).20 The works carried out in the castle throughout the 15th century also remain unclear, although the building was a choice location for the residence of the viceroys and parliamentary meetings.21 Some surviving features, such as the portal to the palace chapel (probably dating back to the middle of the 15th century), may in any case suggest that some important works were carried out. 18 19 20 21

See Giuseppe Michele Agnello, Ufficiali e gentiluomini al servizio della Corona. Il governo di Siracusa dal Vespro all’abolizione della Camera Reginale (Siracusa: Barbera Micheli, 2005). Bresc and Maurici, I castelli demaniali, 308. Henri Bresc, Un monde méditerranéen. Économie et société en Sicile 1300–1450 (Palermo: Accademia di Scienze, Lettere e Arti di Palermo, 1986), 494 (n. 104). Giuseppe Agnello, L’architettura sveva in Sicilia (Roma: Collezione Meridionale Editrice, 1935), 407.

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Finally, it must also be recalled that other important buildings seem to have disappeared prematurely: for example the so-called “Suevian Marchetto castle”, which had been situated on the island of Ortygia in Syracuse and which, owing to the new defence modernization requirements, was demolished after the earthquake of 1542. We know that the dismantlement of the castle was already under way a decade earlier, since in 1532 the engineer Antonio Tomasello from Padua obtained permission to use the stones of the vaults (almost certainly from the cross vault) to build new bulwarks.22 This piece of information should not be underestimated, for the process of recovering and reusing material may lead us to the following hypothesis: namely that even the enormous spiral columns, placed (with revealing incongruences, such as the absence of entablature) within the 17th-century De Ligne Gate (now destroyed but known through photographs), actually derived from the demolition of one of the rooms in the castle. The form of the columns can indeed be closely correlated to the Majorcan prototype of the loggia, by Guillem Sagrera (first half of the 15th century).23 We could thus deduce – though it is not always correct to support one hypothesis with another – that the Marchetto castle also underwent significant renovations in the course of the 15th century. It is not an easy task to untangle the threads of an inconsistent and large number of property assets. It seems clear that, during the 15th century, the sheer number of properties hampered the idea of promoting entirely new architectural projects, favouring instead partial modernization. We can nevertheless attempt to delve deeper into some aspects, starting with the buildings in Palermo which were mostly residential, but not fit for the requirements of the court, and therefore in need of modernization or transformation.

The Palaces of Palermo

By the 15th century, the ancient seat of the Norman kings, the Palazzo Reale of Palermo, had been in disuse for some time.24 The costs of maintaining the structure were exorbitant and had led to the slow abandonment of the immense building. From the end of the 14th century, whole parts of the palace were dismantled and the resulting materials were sold to private citizens, as in 22 23 24

Palermo, Archivio di Stato, Tribunale del Real Patrimonio, Lettere Viceregie, vol. 291, cc. 28r and 67r. Joan Domenge i Mesquida, Guillem Sagrera, 68–75. Maria Sofia Di Fede, Il Palazzo Reale di Palermo tra xvi e xvii secolo (Palermo: Medina 2000), 9–16.

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the case of the famous structure known as the Sala Verde.25 King Martin seems to have instigated this process, and in 1405, as has already been mentioned, he requested that columns, stone blocks, and marble slabs be sent to Barcelona from the Sala Verde and the Stanza dell’Imperatrice.26 Only a few rooms maintained an institutional role (accommodating, for example, the seat of the Inquisition), although we know that the precious Palatine chapel was a constant object of interest – so much so that it underwent a series of ‘restorations’ and reintegrations of its mosaics.27 A document from 1505 records the continuous precarious state of the Sacro Regio Palazzo, where the room of the ‘empress’ was in ruins owing to the high level of humidity, damaging the building and the mosaics.28 The state of decay and abandonment of the palace was certainly a decisive factor when it came to choosing a more suitable seat for royal residence at the end of the 14th century, but another important element must also have been taken into consideration: the urban location of the Norman palace, which was far from the port and connected to the latter by means of a labyrinthine stretch of streets and traffic. There was one essential prerequisite for the ideal royal palace for the sovereigns of a kingdom whose intention was to extend their dominion over the western Mediterranean: a position close to the sea. It is probably no coincidence that in Barcelona King Martin (who followed in the footsteps of his predecessors) had begun the construction of a new royal palace in the vicinity of the arsenal – a project which was abandoned, owing to the death of the sovereign, just after the construction of the foundations.29 King Martin’s interest in the Hosterium Magnum (or Steri) of Palermo – the imposing palace belonging to the Chiaramonte family, built at the beginning

25 Basile, Palermo, serie iii, 28–29; Vincenzo Di Giovanni, “L’Aula Regia o la Sala Verde nel 1340”, Archivio storico siciliano s. ii 7 (1887): 1–39. 26 Fodale, “Martino l’Umano”, doc. 1. 27 Geneviève Bresc-Bautier, “Le souvenir de l’âge d’or”, in Palerme 1070–1492. Mosaïque de peuples, nation rebelle: la naissance violente de l’identité sicilienne, eds. Henri Bresc and Geneviève Bresc-Bautier (Paris: Autrement 1993), 218–224. 28 “Item la cammara di la imperatrichi cum la stancia appressu patinu grandissima ruyna […] maxime chi li marammi [fabbriche] per esseri humidi tucta la musia [mosaici] si guasta”: Alessandro Gaeta, “A tutela et defensa di quisto regno”. Il castello a mare di Palermo. Baldiri Meteli e le fortificazioni regie in Sicilia nell’età di Ferdinando il Cattolico (1479–1516): protagonisti, cantieri, maestranze (Palermo: Qanat, 2010), 455–456. 29 Manel Guàrdia, “Les ciutats i les viles”, in L’art gòtic a Catalunya. Arquitectura, iii, Dels palaus a les masies, ed. Eduard Riu-Barrera (Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2003), 46–53.

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of the 14th century30 – dates back to the period immediately after its confiscation in 1392, and continued with growing intensity in the first years of the following century. It was a formidable modern building with a rational geometric plan, defined by an enormous polygonal block with a square base and a courtyard with a double colonnade. It had a monumental appearence and was situated close to the port, which made it the ideal candidate for a royal residence. The description of the building given by Lorenzo Valla (c.1445), which tells of a famous incident between Queen Blanche of Navarre and Bernat Cabrera, is indicative of the reputation that the building enjoyed.31 Within the palace, it seems there was no need for significant changes. Some of the functions performed by the royal Curia were perhaps relocated to adjacent buildings built for those purposes.32 The documents indicate that repair and “extraordinary maintenance” works were carried out, such as those of 1408 for the private rooms of the king, made safer for living in.33 King Martin paid particular attention to the repair of the palace’s plumbing system and the water features in the surrounding garden. One of the enclosures in the garden contained a ludus aquarium, in which an ostrich was kept in 1407–1408; it was 30

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On the palace, see Ettore Gabrici and Ezio Levi, Lo Steri di Palermo e le sue pitture (Palermo: L’Epos, 2003; originally published Milan: Treves-Treccani-Tumminelli, 1932); Giuseppe Spatrisano, Lo Steri di Palermo e l’architettura siciliana del Trecento (Palermo: Flaccovio, 1972); Laura Sciascia, “Palermo as a stage for, and a mirror of political developments from the 12th to the 15th Century”, in A Companion to Medieval Palermo. The History of a Mediterranean City from 600 to 1500, ed. Annliese Nief (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013), 299–320. “In domo regia, quae illorum lingua dicitur Hosterium, posita super littus maris a fronte vero ad caput ingentis platee et fori qua ad mare exitur quondam aperto prospectu, nunc quantum ipsum forum ac campum est fornicibus in speciem muri prospectu intersepientibus in quorum pene extremo porta est, quae non numq.m vehementi aquilone undis salluitur”: Lorenzo Valla, De rebus a Ferdinando Hispaniarum Rege…(Paris: Bade Josse, 1528), xxiiir. Tommaso Fazello bears witness: “verso mezogiorno si trovano alcune piazze grande chiamate la Pianura di Mare, dove eran già le case di Manfredi Chiaramontano Conte di Modica, d’Architettura vecchia, fatte nel mcccxx et hoggi son dette Hosterio. Queste case, essendo stata tagliata la testa ad Andrea figliuol di Manfredi che dopo la morte del padre s’era ribellato da Martino Re di Sicilia, furono dall’istesso Re elette per sua habitatione, e vi fece le stanze per i Giudici delle cause di tutto il Regno che prima si solevano udire in Castel a Mare”: Tommaso Fazello, Le due deche dell’Historia di Sicilia…, tradotte dal Latino in Lingua Toscana da P.M. Remigio Fiorentino (Venice: Domenico e Giovan Battista Guerra, 1574), I, book viii, 261. “Per forma ki sinchi poza habitari cum securitati”: Sardina, Palermo e i Chiaromonte, 345–346.

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probably a gift from an African prince.34 Moreover, we know that as early as May 1393 the king had requested from Catania that a Jewish master builder, a certain Frimiy, an expert in hydraulic systems, be sent from Palermo to build a fountain in the Ursino castle.35 It also seems plausible that during this period an elevated choir was constructed above the entrance of the small church devoted to Saint Anthony built near the palace (Fig. 14.2).36 We know that the palace had an internal chapel dedicated to Saint George, which was supposed to be for strictly private use, whereas public ceremonies involving the clergy and local aristocracy were supposed to be held in Saint Anthony’s.37 In a later document (from 1507) the use made of the elevated choir is clarified in more detail: it was the place from which the nobility participated in the celebration of the Mass.38 The new space was accessed directly from the palace through an overhead arcade. This adaptation was certainly carried out to fulfil the needs of the sovereign and relied on Catalan models of the time (Fig. 14.3). The works were in any case designed to enable a superior standard of living. Indeed in 1414–1415 it was even suggested that the palace would house the papal Curia of the antipope Benedict xiii.39 A series of references from the scarce court accounts suggest that, from the second half of the 1420s, a grander project for the palace, perhaps decorative, had been planned, in line with the ambitions of Alfonso the Magnanimous. The artists involved in the project included the miniaturist Juan Valladolid,40 a resident of Palermo for over twenty years, who had been called to decorate the walls with framed oilcloths. His presence thus leads us to imagine that the schemes were renewed in the flamboyant Gothic style. The master carpenter Francesco di Castellammare was also present on site. His work (recorded in 1428 and 1438), which the surviving documents seem to limit to repair works 34

Henri Bresc, I giardini di Palermo (1290–1460) (Palermo: Provincia Regionale di Palermo, 2005), 70–71 (n. 97), translation from: “Les Jardins de Palerme”, Mélanges de l’École française de Rome 84 (Paris: Edition E. De Boccard, 1972). 35 Sardina, Palermo e i Chiaromonte, 422. 36 Spatrisano, Steri, 154. 37 Ibid., 41. 38 “Loco superiori, videlicet di banda in susu undi va a missa lu illustri signuri viceré cum la illustri mugleri”: Gabrici and Levi, Steri, 49. 39 Salvatore Fodale, “Lo Steri di Palermo e il trasferimento in Sicilia della Curia Pontificia”, in idem., Casanova e i mulini a vento e altre storie siciliane (Palermo: Sellerio, 1986), 49–59. 40 Geneviève Bresc-Bautier, Artistes, patriciens et confréries. Production et consummation de l’œuvre d’art à Palerme et en Sicile occidentale (1348–1460) (Rome: École française de Rome, 1979), 224 (doc. xxvii), 239 (doc. xlvii).

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on the windows and the beams of the palace’s famous painted ceilings,41 must have been decisive in winning him the office of “magistri ingigneri et capu mastru artis” of the city, in November 1438.42 Going by the account books alone, it may seem that less care was given to the furniture and everyday matters. In fact, it would seem that King Alfonso, when in Palermo, had a more ambitious programme in mind involving important works: perhaps the heightening of the palace or the addition of other buildings. Whatever the nature of these renovations, it seems that, in any case, by 1439, when the sovereign’s interests were directed towards Gaeta, the programme of works was abandoned or radically reduced. In that year the stone which had previously been intended for the palace was allocated by the king to the new convent of San Domenico.43 The master builders who were working at San Domenico, such as the Catalan Antonio Rovira, may have been previously employed at the Steri, as documented for Mannus de Johanne,44 thus revealing the sovereign’s preferences in his choice of workers, as can also be verified at Castel Nuovo in Naples.45 For, as we shall see, when the works in the Steri began again, in the 1480s, the higher positions of responsibility on the site were held, for at least another decade, by master builders from Spain, or at least educated in Spanish culture. Some inventories of the palace furniture date back to the first half of the 15th century (drafted in 1427, 1429, and 1430). They indirectly provide us with information on the use and order of importance of the various spaces (Fig. 14.4). We can thus locate a bedroom for the king (“camera undi durmia lu signuri re”), 41

42 43 44

45

Licia Buttà, “Storie per governare: iconografia giuridica e del potere nel soffitto dipinto della Sala Magna del palazzo Chiaromonte Steri di Palermo”, in Narrazione Exempla Retorica. Studi sull’iconografia dei soffitti dipinti nel Medioevo Mediterraneo, ed. idem. (Palermo: Edizioni Caracol, 2013), 69–126. Geneviève Bresc-Bautier, “La ‘Maramma’ de la cathédrale de Palerme aux xiv e xv siècles”, Commentari 26 (1976): 109–120. Lorenzo Olivier, Annali del real convento di S. Domenico, ed. Maurizio Randazzo (Palermo: Provincia Regionale di Palermo, 2006), 139. Geneviève Bresc-Bautier, “Les étapes de la construction de l’église Santa Maria di Gesù hors de Palerme au xv siècle”, in Studi dedicati a Carmelo Trasselli, ed. Giovanna Motta (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 1983), 145–156, 147 (doc. 5 August 1423). In 1435 Mannus de Joanne was sent to Gaeta by the king. Amadeo Serra Desfilis, “‘È cosa catalana’. La Gran Sala de Castelnuovo en el contexto mediterráneo”, Annali di architettura 12 (2000): 7–16; Joan Domenge i Mesquida, “La gran sala di Castelnuovo: uno spazio per la memoria dell’Alphonsi regis triumphus”, in Le usate leggiadrie. I cortei, le cerimonie, le feste e il costume nel Mediterraneo tra il xv e il xvi secolo, ed. Gamma Teresa Colesanti (Montella: cefrasm, 2010), 290–338.

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a royal dining room for the king (“undi maniava lu signori re”) and another for the queen (“unni stave la mugliera”), as well as the aforementioned chapel of Saint George, the room next door to the chapel (“la camera in cantu la dicta cappella”), the large main hall on the ground floor (“la sala magna tirrana”), a walk-in wardrobe (“la sala di lu guardarrobba”), the room above that (“la camera di susu”), the rooms next to the great staircase (“li cammari ki su in mezzo di la scala grandi”), the room adjacent to the terrace (“la camera di lu astracu”), the hall next to the garden (“la sala magna viridari”), and the room above the garden (“la sala super viridari”).46 As would be expected, the palace had rooms open to the public as well as private apartments. The reception rooms, at least at this stage, seem to have been limited to the ground floor. Specifically, we know that a meeting of Parliament was held in the main hall (“sala magna terranea”) in the presence of the king between December 1433 and January 1434.47 Interventions were extended to a larger scale with an interesting urban restructuring project launched in the last years of Alfonso the Magnanimous’s reign. We know that in 1445 works had begun on the new pier south of the bay of La Cala, and that in 1457 a new passageway was under construction, made from reused columns.48 It is not clear where the pier was situated, but from 16th-century cartography49 we can infer that it involved the extension of the southern side of the Cala, which enabled people to disembark by the church of Santa Maria della Catena. Was this perhaps an attempt to connect the pier with the palace that Lorenzo Valla remembered as being surrounded by arches? The need to build a direct connection between the royal residence and the port, moreover, seems to replicate the situation of Castel Nuovo in Naples. The works, in any case, continued for years (we know the names of some of the engineers involved, such as Antonio Blundo and Cristoforo da Como), and overlapped with other architectural initiatives, greatly impacting the progress of the Hosterium Magnum.50 During the 15th century, the Cala, the natural ancient bay used as the city port, reached further inland in the direction of the

46 Spatrisano, Steri, 40–41. 47 Gabrici and Levi, Steri, 44. 48 Francesco Giunta, “Fra Giuliano Mayali. Agente diplomatico di Alfonso il Magnanimo (1390?–1470)”, Archivio Storico Siciliano s. iii 2 (1947): 153–195 (see 182–183); Bresc, Un monde, 321 (n. 75). 49 See, for example, Orazio Maiocco and Natale Bonifacio, Palermo (Roma: Claudio Duchetto, 1580). 50 Giovanni Cardamone and Maria Giuffrè, “La città e il mare: il sistema di portuale di Palermo”, in Sopra i porti di mare, iii, Sicilia e Malta, ed. Giorgio Simoncini (Florence: Olschki, 1997), 159–192 (162–167).

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present-day Piazza Marina, so that – still going by Valla’s testimony51 – on some occasions the sea would lap up against the palace. The ground was in actual fact marshland where rainwater had a tendency to stagnate and where rubble transported by the torrents would pile up, constantly causing the foundations of the old port to silt up. The process of draining this area began around 1460 at the instigation of the viceroy (probably López Ximénez d’Urrea)52 and, according to Ranzano’s testimony,53 it was brought to completion by a project of the praetor (mayor) Pietro Speciale, whose role became pivotal during the terrible sea storm of 1 December 1469. In the piazza, Speciale had favoured the construction of a marble fountain and probably reconstructed a walled barrier with a gateway marking out the limit that the water from La Cala could reach. Notwithstanding this vast project of urban renovation, which in any case could also be considered the result of a whole range of initiatives focusing on the port and spanning twenty years, the problem that characterized the ‘new life’ of the Steri was the continual succession of a multitude of programmes of works episodically taken up and then discontinued. The history of the palace is indeed a reflection of the fluctuating intentions of its patrons: the viceroys, who later inhabited the building as representatives of the king, each with their own sensibilities, had differing tastes, in addition to the fact that their time in office was almost always insufficient to realize truly ambitious projects. A new series of works, this time concerned with the palace interiors, began in the 1480s. The master builder Martino d’Aguirre (“mastru di la arti geometrica”) and the military engineer Baldiri Metelli were involved in reorganizing the layout of the rooms.54 The renovation of the internal spaces and routes must have certainly appeared necessary; indeed, some of the openings which still exist on the first floor, in particular in the southern wing (the present-day room of the Rector) have preserved the outline and form easily identifiable as the artistic language of that time. The presence and work of other important masters is recorded in this construction phase, such as Nicolò Grisafi in 1481,55 51 See supra, footnote no. 31. 52 Henri Bresc, “Quartiers de marchands et quartiers de minorités en Sicile, xiiie–xve siècles. L’exemple de Palerme”, in Spazio urbano e organizzazione economica nell’Europa medievale (Naples: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 1995), 29, 325–339. 53 “Havi incomenczato ad edificari una nuova opera de Marmora in lu loco undi decurrino li acqua di lo fonti pubblico, lu quali ej in lu plano dila Marina”: Gioacchino Di Marzo, Delle origini e vicende di Palermo di Pietro Ransano (Palermo: Stamperia di Giovanni Lorsnaider, 1861), 83. 54 Gaeta, A tutela, 70–71. 55 Alessandro Gaeta, “‘Caput Magister artis architecturae urbis Panormi’. Lineamenti e attività del magister Nicola Grisafi: nuove acquisizioni documentarie”, Archivio Storico Siciliano s. iv 33 (2007): 153–194, doc. 4.

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Nicolau de Galitia, and the Sardinian Antioco de Cara in 1485–1486,56 who built a staircase in the Regia Cancelleria housed in an adjacent building (perhaps the external staircase still existing in the so-called ‘palazzetto neoclassico’). These craftsmen were to become some of the most trusted collaborators of the architect Matteo Carnilivari, and worked on the large-scale urban sites in Palermo in the following decade.57 It is probably no coincidence that in December 1489 the viceroy Fernando de Acuña appointed the very same Matteo Carnilivari, from Noto, to advise on the construction of a ribbed vault for the Regia Cancelleria. This advice followed the involvement of the painter Riccardo Quartararo in the decorative painting of the interiors and the new façade on the square.58 The architect’s written report is unfortunately lost, but the request made by the viceroy indirectly highlights an expertise that few professionals possessed at the time. Moreover, the architect is described in this document as a master in the construction of arches (“maestro in tali dammusi [volte] et arti multo esperto”59). Carnilivari came from the south-east of Sicily, where enormous buildings belonging to the court, such as the Castello Maniace, could be admired by everyone not only for their distinctive, high-quality workmanship but also for the completeness and durability of the overall structure.60

56 57

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Palermo, Archivio di Stato, Tribunale del Real Patrimonio, Secreto di Palermo, vol. 1652, c. 44r. Fulvia Scaduto, “I collaboratori: storie e biografie”, in Matteo Carnilivari, Pere Compte (1506–2006): due maestri del gotico nel Mediterraneo, ed. Marco Rosario Nobile (Palermo: Edizioni Caracol, 2006), 97–108. The relevant documents (Palermo, Archivio di Stato, Secrezia, vol. 372, cc. 35ff.) have been pointed out in Consulenza storico-architettonica per il progetto di recupero del complesso monumentale dello Steri, ed. Maria Giuffrè, Elena Pezzini and Laura Sciascia, with the collaboration of Paola Scibilia (Palermo: Università degli Studi di Palermo, s.d.). I wish to thank the authors, as well as Elena Pezzini and Paola Scibilia, who attentively studied the sources concerning the period referred to. Filippo Rotolo, Matteo Carnilivari. Revisione e Documenti (Palermo: Istituto Storico Siciliano, 1983), 159 (doc. 8). In 1415, the French aristocrat Nompar de Caumont, referring specifically to the Maniace castle, noted its peculiar Gothic and Mediterranean character: “À l’entrée en arrivant par la mer, se trouve in très beau château carré, à un jet de pierre hors de la cite, appelé Terminaig. Il est flanqué à chaque angle d’une tour ronde, l’intérieur est entièrement voûté de pierre sans ouvrage de bois…”: Beatrice Dansette, “Le voyage d’outre-mer à Jérusalem. Nompar de Caumont xve siècle”, in Croisades et pèlerinages. Récits, chroniques et voyages en Terre Sainte xii e–xvi e siècle, ed. Danielle Régnier-Bohler (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1997), 1057–1123 (1077).

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Many different circumstances lead us to believe that Carnilivari also had extensive experience outside Sicily.61 Indeed the viceroy’s request may have been made on the basis of a distinguished curriculum. It seems, however, that no action was actually taken and the works in the Steri from 1491 were still focused on maintenance or related to the plumbing. The master builder involved in this cycle of works was Giorgio da Como (or Giorgio da Spazo).62 A series of important works to repair this royal residence (“pro reparacioni regii hospicii Panormi”) followed one another between 1496 and 1497. The works, again directed by Giorgio da Como, seemed to result from the need to repair the arches in the garden.63 But the “Conti del Secreto” suggest more intriguing reasons for the works, which had also to be extended to the decorated parts (“aliis partibus dicti hispicii pro ornamento ipsius”).64 The outstanding team of workers involved in this phase comprised five marmorari, namely sculptors, specialized in working Carrara marble. Equally noteworthy – and probably revealing how much our surviving documentation leaves out – is the quantity of carpentry works. Although we lack direct documentary evidence, significant structural adjustment works may also have been carried out during this same construction phase. Thus an entrance was built with a monumental doorway enabling direct access from the level of the Piazza Marina.65 It was obviously designed in accordance with the drainage plan for the surrounding marshland. As was customary in Palermo at that time, and as had already occurred years before in the municipal palace, a white marble portal in the antique style was also

61

62 63

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Among others, he probably worked at the construction site of Castel Nuovo in Naples (Marco Rosario Nobile, “Due protagonisti dell’ultimo gotico”, in Matteo Carnilivari, ed. idem., 25–34) and perhaps at that of Valencia’s Cathedral, where in 1459 a “Matheu lo Sicilià” is documented; Marco Rosario Nobile and Javier Ibañez Fernández, “Unidad y Diversidad en la Arquitectura de la Corona de Aragόn durante los siglos xiv y xv”, in Un alma común. Arquitectura sículo-aragonesa, eds. Luís Agustín, Aurelio Vallespín and Ricardo Santonja (Zaragoza: Prensa de la Universidad de Zaragoza, 2014), 12–21. We know that Giorgio da Como also continued to be of service in taking care of the gardens of the Steri, see Gaeta, A tutela, 196. “Havendo certi archi di lo steri di quissa cita de baxu intro lo jardino chi respundino alla porta chi va verso la porta di li Grechi patutu ruyna et alcunu di dicti archi caduto”: Palermo, Archivio di Stato, Conservatoria, vol. 1040, cc. 88r–v. Palermo, Archivio di Stato Tribunale del Real Patrimonio, Conti del Secreto, n. provv. 1861, cc. 47r–66v. Gabrici and Levi, Steri, 26–28.

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chosen for the Steri, again at the instigation of Pietro Speciale,66 the praetor of the city. This portal, subsequently modified, is documented through a 17thcentury painting (Palermo, Galleria Regionale della Sicilia) (Fig. 14.5) and in the minutes of a report from 1601, which refer explicitly to a “porta magna marmorea”.67 It seems plausible that the role of the marmorari concerned the sculpting of this portal and perhaps even the insertion of escutcheons and royal emblems.68 The rotation of the entrance made it necessary to lower the floor of the courtyard slightly: we can therefore presume that major works had to be carried out to the foundations. As confirmation of this, note that the bases of the cylindrical pilasters have a rotated square geometric conformation (known as “Roriczer”69), which seemingly refers to the fashions of the 15th or early 16th century (Figs. 14.6–14.7). Further interior works were documented in the early 16th century, under the viceroys Juan La Nuça and Ramon Folc de Cardona. They concerned the redecoration of the ceilings and the rooms of the viceroys (probably the wings oriented to the south and the east), undertaken by the painter Antonello Crescenzio in collaboration with the Tuscan carpenter Bartolomeo Serrantonio.70 On the first floor, in correspondence with the southern wing, new spaces were opened up with small doorways (portalini) in the ancient style (Fig. 14.8). Even with the limited traces available, it is obvious that the arrival of classicism made its entrance discreetly and in the private spaces. In fact, for a number of years most of the resources were invested in the great works of expansion and reconstruction at the Castello a Mare71 (which indeed became the royal seat a few years later). In the same period, in 1507, preparations were being made in view of a possible visit to Palermo by Ferdinand the

66

Pietro Gulotta, Il Palazzo delle aquile: origine e vicende del palazzo comunale di Palermo (Palermo: Giada, 1980). 67 Spatrisano, Steri, 278–279 (doc. ii). 68 One of the court sculptors was most certainly Antonio Vanello. We know that he made a font in 1507 for the palatine church of Sant’Antonino (Gabrici and Levi, Steri, 49). Let us also recall that in March 1501 the very same marmoraro master was paid for sculpting “li armi reali et epitaphio” in the portal of the castle of Ursino in Catania, consistent with those already made for the Castello a Mare in Palermo: Gaeta, A tutela, 449–450 (doc. 59). 69 Matthaus Roriczer, Das Büchlein von der Fialen Gerechtigkeit (Regensburg: 1486 [Hurtgenwald: Pressler, 1999]). 70 Gabrici and Levi, Steri, 46–49. 71 Maurizio Vesco, “Il Castellammare di Palermo: un progetto non realizzato di Pietro Antonio Tomasello da Padova”, Ricostruire. Architettura, storia, rappresentazione 1 (2014): 7–30.

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Catholic.72 Thus there may have been some pressure to renovate the apartments for that occasion. In 1513 a sculptor from Carrara, Giuliano Mancino, was commissioned to produce six columns for a tocco to be made for the palace.73 The Sicilian term tocco indicates a portico or, more probably, a loggia belvedere, a loggia with a view, such as the one built at the beginning of the 16th century in Castello a Mare, which constituted a common model, widespread in Palermo between the 15th and 16th centuries. The location of this work is unknown, but it may have been designed for the corner facing north-east (towards the gardens and the sea), continuing the line of the block occupied by the Sala delle Capriate on the top floor of the building. The loggia was not the last of the important works carried out in the Hosterium Magnum, but, after the death of Ferdinand the Catholic, and in reaction to the uprisings that had taken place in the city, the residence of the viceroys was relocated, for security reasons, to a more easily defendable place:74 the Castello a Mare. By the first half of the 1490s, state resources were concentrated on the expansion and construction of the Castello a Mare on the other side of the ancient port. The idea was to build a new fortified wall around a Norman building. It was the master engineer and artillery expert Baldiri Meteli who, though first called upon to resolve a military task, ended up working as the director of the whole site.75 There seems to be a heathy balance between the purely functional aspects of the Castello and the more symbolic ones; thus its construction followed the project drawn up (in January 1496) by an established painter such as Riccardo Quartararo.76 Moreover, the use of typical 15th-century ‘military’ architecture styles should not be underestimated: in fact, the design role taken on by certain craftsmen is an indication of the expectations and demands of the patrons. The case of the castle of Trapani may offer a similar pointer, for which the master cabinetmaker Simone la Vaccara produced a wooden model in October 1493.77 Also in Palermo, where very different languages were employed from those used in the rest of Italy, it was the expertise in drawing which increasingly became a distinctive instrument for the selection of craftsmen and designs.

72 Dominguez Casas, Arte, 535. 73 Gabrici and Levi, Steri, 49. 74 Vesco, Il Castellammare, 8–9. 75 Gaeta, A tutela, 185–245. 76 Gioacchino Di Marzo, La pittura in Palermo nel Rinascimento (Palermo: Reber, 1899), 195. 77 Gaeta, A tutela, 128.

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These last examples, however, represent a small portion of the vast field of civic architecture. During the reign of Ferdinand the Catholic, the initiatives promoted by the royal court, and public initiatives in general, were relatively modest episodes compared with the high quantity and quality of the works commissioned and promoted by private citizens, aristocrats, and merchants. Thus when Charles v arrived in Palermo in 1535, after his victory in Tunisia, suitable accommodation had to be found for the emperor.78 The city chose neither the apartments in the Steri – although the entrance was no longer via the uncomfortable 14th-century staircase, which had only one continuous flight of stairs, but through a new external and ceremonial entrance (“scala magna lapidea discoperta”), built in 1530 by Antonio Belguardo79 – nor the Castello a Mare, which was still too rustic and Spartan (the viceroy Ferrante Gonzaga adequately equipped it a few years later), nor the Regio Palazzo, which only drew the attention of the viceroy Juan de Vega from the mid-­ century onwards. Rather, a truly grandiose modern palace was chosen, one built from 1490 by Matteo Carnilivari for the banker Guglielmo Aiutamicristo: apparently, the accommodation offered by the royal residences of Steri and Castello a Mare were not considered to be as appropriate for the emperor’s retinue as those of the house of a wealthy merchant of the late 15th century. 78 79

Vincenzo Di Giovanni, Palermo restaurato, ms. xviith century, eds. Mario Giorgianni and Antonio Santamaura (Palermo: Sellerio, 1989), 296. Maurizio Vesco, “Cantieri e maestri a Palermo tra tardogotico e rinascimento: nuove acquisizioni documentarie”, Lexicon. Storie e architettura in Sicilia 5/6 (2007–2008): 47–64.

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Figure 14.1

Siracusa, Maniace castle, Vis de Saint Gilles staircase, first half of the 13th century.

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Figure 14.2 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), view of the tribune of the church of Sant’Antonino.

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Figure 14.3 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), view of the uncovered connecting arch between the first floor and the tribune of the church of Sant’Antonino.

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B

B

B A

C

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Figure 14.4 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), plan of the first floor indicating the arrangement of the rooms in the 15th century. From Spatrisano, Lo Steri di Palermo e l’architettura siciliana; set out by the author.

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Figure 14.5

Unknown painter, View of Palermo’s Marina, oil on canvas, 17th century. Palermo, Galleria Regionale della Sicilia.

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Figure 14.6 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), courtyard, detail from the base of one of the cylindrical pilasters.

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Figure 14.7 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), virtual axonometric reconstruction showing the hypothesis of the atrium covered by a vault based on the model of Castel Nuovo in Naples and other late 15th-century examples in Palermo. Fimia palace, Archbishop Palace (elaborated by Mirco Cannella).

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Figure 14.8 Palermo, Chiaromonte palace (Steri), first floor, an all’antica doorway.

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