DESCRIPTION OF THE ROOMS
The Treasury of the Cathedral of Milan consists of ivory and gold works, and paintings from the 8th to the 17th century. The Crucifix of Aribert dating back to the 11th century is an example of proto-Romanesque art; the lamellae in repoussé work are made of copper with traces of colouring and gilding.
The centre of the room is dominated by the statue by Giorgio Solari dated 1404 representing St. George, whose face is a portrayal of the Duke of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti. The statue was at the top of the first spire of the Cathedral, the Carelli spire, which is also the original location of the angels and the prophet.
These rooms contain for the most part large and small statues from the capitals of the Cathedral pillars going back to the Visconti age. In this period the building work was in the International Gothic style. Visitors can admire examples of Rhenish and Burgundian sculpture and also works by the Campionesi and Comacine masters.
This room houses some of the most significant examples of the sculpture from the mid-1400s to approximately 1550, a period in which classicism took various forms, from the examples of post-Amadeo sculpture to the works of Cristoforo Solari which are influenced by the Roman Renaissance. The room features a textile exhibit, the paliotto della Passione [altar frontal of the Passion], a Flemish tapestry from the mid- 15th century.
Stained glass room
Examples of stained glass panes from the Cathedral dating from the 12th to the 15th century are exhibited here. The oldest is the Visitation, which goes back to the beginning of the 1400s and was produced using a French technique. The so-called Trittico della Creazione [Triptych of the Creation] goes back to the 16th century and represents, in three panes: the creation of the firmament, the creation of the animals and the creation of man.
16th century rooms
An imposing painting by Jacopo Robusti known as Tintoretto dominates the rooms: an early work representing “Jesus among the doctors”. The statues in these rooms, Eve and Mary Magdalene transported by the angels, are by Angelo Marini and mark the end of the pre-Borromean period.
- Sculpture 7: large monumental forms characterise the sculpture of the second half of the 16th century. The sculpture of Joshua, the turbaned prophet, and St. Ambrose signed Marc’Antonio Prestinari come from pillar capitals.
- Canonisation 6: the works most closely connected with the wishes of San Carlo and the fragments of the canonisation decorations used on 4th November 1610.
- The tornacoro (presbytery enclosure) 5: at the beginning of the 17th century, work started on the marble surround of the tornacoro with the reliefs depicting the Stories of the Virgin Mary: the room contains the terracotta models and the studies for the angels-caryatids.
- The facade: 8-10: the works that were used in preparation and realisation of the first and second construction site for the facade from 1628 to 1650 are displayed in these rooms.
Four of the seven tapestries donated by Carlo Borromeo to the Veneranda Fabbrica are displayed here: The Dance of the Putti, Moses receiving the Tables of the Law, the Bronze Serpent and the Crossing of the Red Sea, produced in Mantua by the workshop of Nicola Karcher. Alongside these are works of great prestige such as the Adoration of the Magi and the Deposition of Christ.
Galleria di Camposanto room
This room houses the models and studies for the sculptures and reliefs of the Cathedral which were commissioned by the Fabbrica del Duomo. Note the plaster and terracotta reliefs from the chapel of San Giovanni Bono executed in 1685.
“Entrance test” room
Sculptors who wished to work on the cathedral construction site were required to take an “entrance test”, i.e. submit examples of their work to the administration of the Fabbrica. These terracotta sculptures were some of the works submitted.
The room houses works connected with the Madonnina, including the original iron framework and wooden bust by Giuseppe Antignati. The models presented by Giuseppe Perego are also exhibited.
Nineteenth century rooms
This room features some plaster models of 19th century statuary, examples of romantic and floral sculpture. Several panes from the Bertini workshop are evidence of 19th century stained glass production. The 1891 study for the central door modelled by Ludovico Pogliaghi is exhibited alongside the design for the Beltrami Facade.
The imposing, majestic model of the Cathedral of Milan was commissioned by the Fabbrica from Bernardino Zenale of Treviglio in 1519. Alongside are models of the Castelli and Buzzi semi-facades.
Twentieth century room
The room exhibits the panels of the fifth door of the Cathedral made by Lucio Fontana and Luciano Minguzzi for the competition. The winner was Minguzzi who executed the door which was installed in 1965.