The Ducal Chapel (room XII)

A project of great interest to Galeazzo Maria Sforza, the Ducal Chapel was built by Benedetto Ferrini and Bartolomeo Gadio and frescoed by a group of painters, which, according to existing documents, included Bonifacio Bembo, Giacomino Vismara and Stefano De Fedeli. The construction of the chapel began in 1473 and was completed within the year in order to accommodate twenty-two cantors chosen from courts throughout Europe. On the walls is depicted a procession of saints in gold pastework with a radiant sun, while upon the lunettes one can still just make out the Sforza coats of arms. At the centre of the ceiling is the risen Christ, who, encased in a golden almond, seems to be rising towards the Father surrounded by angels. Also on the ceiling, the motif of the guards at the sepulchre, presents a new and unusual iconography: instead of being asleep at the moment of the resurrection, the guards seem to have been blown into the air, falling to the ground in contorted positions. This unusual approach is echoed on the ceiling of the Chapel of San Donato, built shortly afterwards.