In the halls of Museo del Duomo dedicated to the period ruled by the Visconti, there is a particular shelf with details highlighted in the image reproduced herein.
The work of an anonymous mason who probably worked in the early years of the Marble Worker’s Site of the Cathedral under construction, between the last decade of the 14th century and the early 15th century, the shelf reproduces some night butterflies with the precision of an entomologist. Details of the wings and of the thread-like antennae witness the dynamic mastery of the author, traits that can also be noticed in the flower with fleshy petals and long stamen that decorates the base of the shelf.
The work comes from the arm of the southern cross, near buttress 12, and was removed between the 1980s and the 1990s, to be finally placed in the Museum when it was fitted out in 2013.
The theme of the butterflies seems to mirror the imagination of Giovannino de Grassi or of his son Salomone, both of whom worked amidst the scaffoldings of the Cathedral in the early years of its construction.