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. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T010847>.