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

Argus (detail)

Castello Sforzesco, Milan

The Sforzas decided to safeguard the treasure in the keep of the Rocchetta, the most impregnable part of the Castello Sforzesco. The treasure room, which today houses the Trivulziana Library, still conserves part of a decoration commissioned by Ludovico il Moro. The most ambitious of Bramante's wall paintings, the so-called Argus (c. 1490-93), is here. The elegantly posed, semi-nude hero stands at the foot of a tunnel-like flight of steps upon a kind of balcony of striking illusionism, consisting of a pair of superimposed pedestals supported upon corbels, framing a recessed tondo of fictive bronze. Argus, a mythical 100-eyed giant, was chosen as the symbolic custodian of the treasure.

It is assumed that Bramante's pupil, Bramantino assisted Bramante in the realization of this fresco.

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