(b. 1444, Fermignano, d. 1514, Roma)

Interior view

c. 1492
Canonica courtyard, Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio, Milan

Around 1492 the Duke of Milan commissioned Bramante to design the courtyard known as the Canonica at the Romanesque abbey church of Sant'Ambrogio, Milan. The courtyard, of which only two incomplete sides were ever built, abuts the north wall of the church; its main axis is marked by a doorway into the building. On each side there are 11 arches, which, except at the centre, are supported on columns with Corinthian capitals. The central arch, twice as wide and almost twice as tall as the others, is supported on slender piers, each faced with a pilaster and raised on a tall pedestal. The columns next to the piers and those at the angles were made to resemble tree trunks. This motif, apart from being an emblem of the Duke, provides a learned antiquarian reference to the historical ancestry of the column as described by Vitruvius and illustrated by both Filarete and Francesco di Giorgio in their treatises.

The photo shows the courtyard. The wing with rectangular columns at the right is a 20th-century addition.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.