Leonardo da Vinci

Sala delle Asse

A remarkable record of the presence of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) at the Sforza Court, the Sala delle Asse (Room of Wooden Boards) is the most iconic room in the castle. The room owes its name to the wooden wall covering that was used at the time of the Sforzas to render the temperature and ambience of the rooms more comfortable. Formerly painted with heraldic motifs for Galeazzo Sforza, under Ludovico il Moro in 1498 it was transformed by Leonardo's renowned decoration. Written messages between il Moro and the Renaissance genius pointed to the existence of the work, however, the dark centuries of foreign domination seemed to have consigned the cycle of paintings to oblivion. It is thanks to research by the architect Luca Beltrami and especially the German historian Paul Müller-Valde that we owe the discovery in 1893 of significant traces of colour on the ceiling of the room. A comprehensive restoration carried out by Ernesto Rusca ensued in 1902, which reinterpreted the 15th century decoration with extraordinarily vivid colours. At the time the decision was also taken to hide the monochrome sections that were erroneously dated to the period of the Spanish occupation. In the 1950s the colours were attenuated without otherwise altering the previous restoration. In addition, BBPR studio, responsible for the intervention, decided to uncover the monochrome fragments depicting rocks and roots on the north and north-east walls that had since been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Situated on the first floor of the Falconiera tower on the north-east corner of the castle, the Sala delle Asse is Room VIII of the Museum of Antique Art.