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The Sala delle Asse in the Sforza Castle in Milan

Costa, Patrizia (2006) The Sala delle Asse in the Sforza Castle in Milan. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation deals with two periods in the history of a room in the Sforza Castle known as the Sala delle Asse: the fifteenth-century, when Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508) commissioned Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) to paint it and the late-nineteenth-to-early-twentieth century when the Sala was re-discovered and subjected to a major restoration by the Italian architectural historian Luca Beltrami (1854-1933). Beltrami's participation in the Sala's re-discovery in 1893, the architectural and pictorial alterations he ordered in preparing the room for public view, and his monographic presentation of the Sala's fifteenth-century history will be discussed here using new archival evidence. The author will argue that Beltrami's interventions ultimately shifted attention away from the Sala's fifteenth-century circumstances and transformed it into a key component of the ambitious restoration scheme that Beltrami had formulated for the Sforza Castle as whole. This was a scheme that supported certain political and cultural ideologies about Milan at the turn of the twentieth-century. In an effort to provide an alternative voice for the Sala to that of Beltrami, the author will use new archival documentation to discuss the participation of Paul Müller-Walde, a German art historian who is credited with the actual re-discovery of the Sala but whose contributions remained curiously absent from all modern art-historical literature dealing with the Sala. Acting on the premise that a more plausible and much needed interpretation for the Sala's fifteenth-century history is needed, the author will offer a reconsideration of some of the Sala's most basic problems such as dating, location and possible uses. The author will also deal with Leonardo's contributions and the perils of characterizing the Sala as yet another work that sprang fully from Leonardo's imagination, with little interference or direction from outside sources. Finally, the author will deal with Ludovico Sforza's reasons for commissioning the Sala and lay the groundwork for an expanded and alternative interpretative discourse intended to broaden the avenue of investigation of this important and unique commission in Renaissance art. This dissertation concludes with an extensive Register of Documents containing reproductions or transcriptions of important fifteenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century documents for the Sala delle Asse.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairSutherland Harris, Annash@pitt.eduASH
Committee CoChairWilkins, Daviddgw2@pitt.eduDGW2
Committee MemberLooney, Dennislooney@pitt.eduLOONEY
Committee MemberSavoia, Francescasavoia@pitt.eduSAVOIA
Committee MemberWeis, H. Anneweis@pitt.eduWEIS
Committee MemberWren Christian,
Date: 1 June 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 10 February 2006
Approval Date: 1 June 2006
Submission Date: 26 March 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Leonardo Da Vinci; Luca Beltrami; Ludovico Sforza; Sala delle Asse; Sforza Castle in Milan
Other ID:, etd-03262006-211258
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:32
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:37


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