Galeazzo Maria Sforza
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2 February Feb 2018 1111 4 months ago

#AlfabetoDuomo G is for #GaleazzoMariaSforza

Duke and benefactor of Milano and the Duomo

"Two were the objectives which his parents set for themselves in his education: one, to instruct him in the art of war, and two, to train him in actual politics; two qualities that are essential for those aspiring to the government of peoples."

Nicola Ratti, Della famiglia Sforza [On the Sforza Family], vol. 1, Rome, 1794, pg. 44.

Standing, proud and elegant, within the rooms dedicated to the Sforza famil in the Grande Museo del Duomo is a sculpture depicting a young man with curly hair wearing a military uniform and scaled armour and carrying a scroll in his right hand.

This statue once occupied window 24 of the Duomo; heavily damaged, it was removed in May 1943 and restored in the years immediately following WWII.

The aristocratic appearance and the lack of distinct symbols negate the hypothesis that this is a saint. The cut of the garment and the individual's pose indicate rather a member of the royal court of Milan who experts, keeping in mind the fact that the statue dates from the second half of the 15th century, identify to be Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1444 – 1476). The duke played an important role in the Cathedral's history: the scroll that he is holding in his right hand represents the decree with which, in 1473, he confirmed the Veneranda Fabbrica's exclusive rights to extract marble from the Candoglia Quarry; a gesture deserving of such an homage, probably commissioned after his death in 1476 when he fell victim to a plot by a group of Milanese noblemen and was murdered while attending mass in the Church of Santo Stefano on 26 December.

Certainly not of a temperate nature, and prone to impulsive and diplomatically un-meditated initiatives, like the war against Venice and with the Duchy of Savoy in 1467, Galeazzo Maria was however a generous patron. For example, he dedicated himself to the decoration and embellishment of the castle and, in particular, to the construction of the Ducal Chapel, employing architects and artists from the entire continent. The royal court of Milan was a safe refuge for musicians and scholars.

The sculpture located within the museum does not, however, mirror the physical features of Gian Galeazzo as depicted in the
images we received: it is, therefore, an idealised portrayal. Meanwhile, the authorship of the statue is unknown.