On this day in 1500, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, was captured by Swiss troops and handed over to French forces at Novara. Prior to his flight from Milan in August 1499, Sforza had been a great patron of the arts, bringing Donato Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci to his court and commissioning numerous projects from them and others including the completion of the Dominican friary of Santa Maria delle Grazie with a new choir for his family’s tombs and a mural showing the Last Supper for its refectory.

Reference: E. S. Welch, et al. “Sforza.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.<>

Ludovico Sforza, Pala Sforzesca, 1494 (detail)

Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis, Portrait of Ludovico Sforza

Leonardo da Vinci, Lady with an Ermine (Ceclia Gallerani), 1489-90,   Czartoryski Museum, Kraków

Lazzaretto Hospital, Milan, 1488-1513 (destroyed)

Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, Facade, Certosa, Pavia, after 1492

Donato Bramante, Choir of Santa Maria delle Grazie, after 1492

Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, 1495-98, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan


1. Donato Bramante, study of the Tempietto, late 15th/early 16th century, ink sketch, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Source

2-4. Donato Bramante, Tempietto, c.1502, San Pietro in Montorio, Rome. Own images.

Here are some photos I took whilst visiting Bramante's Tempietto at the San Pietro in Montorio in Rome last year. I can’t even begin to explain to you how beautiful this piece of High Renaissance architecture is in real life. The church of San Pietro in Montorio is located at the top of a hill in Trastevere, and so it is a peaceful setting that does not seem to attract too many tourists. If any of you are visiting Rome over the summer, then I urge you to try and see this. You’ll struggle to find a piece of architecture that so sums up the balanced beauty of the High Renaissance period.


Architect Donato Bramante died on this day in 1514 in Rome. Born in Monte Asdrualdo near Urbino around 1443, Bramante seems to have begun his career as a painter and designer near the court of Urbino. He had settled in Milan by the late 1470s, where he entered the service of Duke Lodovico Sforza. He worked in Milan for two decades alongside Leonardo da Vinci, who had joined the Sforza Court after 1482. With the fall of Milan to the French in 1499, Bramante left for Rome where he undertook important commissions for the Spanish monarchs as well as Pope Julius II, who gave him the extraordinary task of redesigning the church of St. Peter’s. Bramante’s style shifted from a more pictorial, colorful surface decoration to one closely tied to classical models. His Tempietto and design for New St. Peter’s have earned him esteem as the Father of High Renaissance architecture.

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

Tempietto, Rome, after 1502; photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY

Attributed to Bramante (or Bramantino), Christ at the Column, ca. 1490, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Santa Maria presso San Satiro, Milan, 1485, Milan, view towards choir

Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, after 1492, Milan, exterior of choir and views into choir and dome

Plan for New St. Peter’s and commemorative medal, 1506


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. <>.