Laocoon (copy of the Vatican original)
16th century sculpture
240 × 160 × 70 cm
Guided visit |
SCULPTURES IN THE AMBROSIANA
A visit devoted to sculpture, through the rich collection in the Ambrosiana, including the Church of San Sepolcro.
Starting from the upper nave of the church of San Sepolcro, we will analyse some rare sculptural groups by the artist Agostino de’ Fondulis representing the Ecce Homo, the Last Supper and Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet, exquisite terracotta sculptures of a devotional character.
Entering the Pinacoteca, we will observe the casts of some important works, such as the reliefs of Trajan’s Column, the Hellenistic statue of the Laocoon, the head of the horse in the Equestrian Monument of Marcus Aurelius and the copy of the Vatican Pietà by Michelangelo Buonarroti, works associated with the teaching function that the Accademia Ambrosiana carried out from its foundation by Federico Borromeo.
At left, Reliefs from the sepulchral monument of Gaston de Foix, Agostino Busti, known as Bambaia (1483-1548), from 1516-1517, marble (detail: candelabra with military trophies and prisons); at right, Pietà, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), 1499, (16th-century copy), plaster cast, 174 × 180 × 85 cm
The funerary function of sculpture is clearly exemplified by the masterpiece of Agostino Busti, known as Bambaia, for the tomb of Gaston de Foix, a true work of marble intaglio in which the artist’s classical virtuosity attained an unequalled formal summit. Portraiture is well documented by some small but refined heads of Roman art, busts from the Peristyle and the Cortile degli Spiriti Magni.
Ascending to the level above, we come to some monumental sculptures donated to the Ambrosiana by the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo and leading to the Sala delle Virtù, where two terracotta sculptural groups pay homage to the miniatures by Niccolò da Bologna in the Ambrosiana’s codex B42 present in the Library. We conclude our visit with the two self-portraits by the great neoclassicists, Canova and Thordvalsen.
For Spring 2020 the Class of Latin and Greek studies organizes a cycle of three conferences entitled Intorno a un Codice. In each lecture, a scholar will present a particularly valuable Ambrosian codex, illustrating its features.