The aim of this itinerary is to illustrate the events that led to the creation of the Ambrosiana’s collections and discover some of Cardinal Federico’s favourite artists, while exploring the concept of the Wunderkammer, a distinctive feature of European culture in the 16th and 18th centuries.
In the rooms of the Ambrosiana we can meet a remarkable character who lived in the 17th century: Manfredo Settala, the famous Milanese collector whom we can see in a portrait by Daniele Crespi.
A close friend of Cardinal Federico – who commissioned him to procure books for the Library – Manfredo best represents the passion for collecting rarities typical of scholars in the past.
On this itinerary, visitors will discover the very special Sala della Medusa, which preserves some of the curious objects and books in Settala’s encyclopedic museum, which the Ambrosiana acquired in the late 18th century.
Passages in Federico Borromeo’s Musaeum can also be used to discover some of the works belonging to the Cardinal’s original collection, recounted in their owner’s own words.
Our path then ends in the large Sala Federiciana, which will enable us to discover Federico’s great project for the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in even greater detail.
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.