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

Interior view towards the choir

Fresco, height of arch 10,6 m
Santa Maria presso San Satiro, Milan

Bramante started as a painter of considerable creativity and first appears as an architect in Milan in 1485, when he undertook the rebuilding of Santa Maria presso San Satiro. In this interior view the choir seems to stretch for three bays beyond the crossing, under a barrel vault matching that of the nave, but the space that we see here does not exist. A street directly behind the plot prevented Bramante from building a choir, so he was forced, in a triumph of Renaissance art of deceit, to create this illusion. The effect is the result of carefully calculated decoration on a flat wall; the actual depth is only about a meter.

Santa Maria presso San Satiro is the first structure definitely attributed to Bramante. Along with a certain adherence to local taste, this church shows traces of the influence of Alberti, Mantegna, Brunelleschi, and the Urbino school. This last influence is particularly evident in its choir, which was painted in perspective to give an illusion of a much larger space.

View the ground plan of Santa Maria presso San Satiro.

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