By Anne Leader

Work on the tribune of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan began on 29 March 1492. Commissioned by Duke Ludovico Sforza to serve as a family mausoleum, Donato Bramante designed an expanded east end for the preexisting Dominican church built by Guiniforte Solari in the mid-fifteenth century. Bramante’s plan derives from the scheme invented by Filippo Brunelleschi for the burial chapel of Giovanni di Bicci de’Medici, which also served as the sacristy, at San Lorenzo in Florence. A large cubed space is crowned with a hemispherical dome that sits on pendentives. Bramante expanded Brunelleschi’s original design by opening the sides of the space with apses on three sides. There are numerous derivatives of the Medici sacristy, which came to be associated with wealth and power, in various centers around Italy, including the Portinari Chapel at Sant’Eustorgio, also in Milan.

Reference; Paul Davies and David Hemsoll. “Bramante, Donato.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <>.

Horace Vernet

Raphael at the Vatican (1832)

Musée du Louvre, Paris

The 1833 Salon livret, describing the painting, offers the psychological background for the scene: “Michelangelo meeting Raphael in the Vatican says to him, ‘You walk surrounded by an entourage like a general.’ 'And you,’ responds Raphael, 'you walk alone like an executioner.’” - Vernet’s source for this anecdote was Quatremère de Quincy’s Histoire de la Vie et des Ouvrages de Raphael (1824). / The younger Raphael is sketching a peasant woman and her baby, to be transformed into a Madonna and child for which he was famous. The bearded Michelangelo, in the lower left, holds a sketchbook, brushes, a figural sculpture, sword and keys, presumably to the Sistine Chapel where he was working in secret on the ceiling. In the upper left Julius II, shaded by an umbrella, is observing the encounter while being shown Bramante’s plan for St. Peter’s. The courtyard is filled with the blocks of marble, mentioned in eyewitness accounts, that Michelangelo had excavated for his work on Julius’ tomb. (+)