Santa Maria delle Grazie

Santa Maria delle Grazie ("Holy Mary of Grace") is a church and Dominican convent in Milan, northern Italy, included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list. The church contains the mural of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, which is in the refectory of the convent.

History

The Duke of Milan Francesco I Sforza ordered the building of a Dominican convent and a church in the place where a small chapel dedicated to St. Mary of the Graces was.

The main architect was Guiniforte Solari, the convent was completed by 1469 while the church took more time. The new duke Ludovico Sforza decided to have the church as the Sforza family burial place and rebuild the cloister and the apse which were completed after 1490.

Ludovico's wife Beatrice was buried in the church in 1497.

The apse of the church is widely believed to be by Donato Bramante. However, there's no real evidence of the fact, but that Bramante lived in Milan at the time, and he is once quoted in the acts of the church (a marble delivery in 1494). He continued the gothic style from the first part, but mixed with Romanesque influence.

In 1543, the Holy Crown chapel received a painting by Titian, The Crowning with Thorns. This was carried away by French troops in 1797, after their conquest of Milan.

World War II

During World War II, the night of 15 August 1943, bombs dropped by British and American planes hit the church and the convent. Much of the refectory was destroyed, but some walls survived, including the one that holds the Last Supper, which had been sand-bagged for protection.

Media

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