From 21 October 2021 to 16 January 2022, the Sforzesco Castle in Milan organizes in the Sala della Balla the exhibition "Wooden sculptures compared from the ducal cities of Vigevano and Milan", curated by Claudio Salsi, promoted and organized by Castello Sforzesco - Municipality of Milano-Cultura with Superintendence of Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the Provinces of Como Lecco Monza-Brianza Pavia Sondrio and Varese, City of Vigevano and Diocese of Vigevano is produced in co-production with Civita Mostre e Musei and with the support of the Cariplo Foundation.
Conceived as a natural continuation of the exhibition The Body and the Soul, from Donatello to Michelangelo. Italian Renaissance sculpture (Paris 2020 - Milan 2021), this initiative is a further study on the polychrome wooden sculptures of the Lombard area, proposing a dual focus on the Lamentation of San Dionigi and the Ancona di San Giuseppe from Vigevano, as Milan headquarters of an important Sforza court between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
This is a period of flourishing artistic production in the Lombard territory between the era of Ludovico il Moro, the French domination and the moment of the last Duke Francesco II Sforza, who in the early 30s of the 16th century dedicated himself to the redevelopment of the castle and of the cathedral of Vigevano. An era in which many courts - now rivals, now allies - all splendid and often related by convenient marriages, despite the succession of political and military turmoil and plagues, contributed to giving life in Italy to that golden age of art which will produce not only masterpieces already universally known, but also liturgical works of extraordinary workmanship and aesthetic quality still largely to be discovered, as the current exhibition aims to demonstrate.
The sculptures have recently been the subject of restoration interventions, scientific and documentary investigations, carried out in synergy between the competent territorial Superintendency and the Milan Castle. The Ministry's protection action is combined with the enhancement function of the Milanese Museum; this collaboration makes it possible to exhibit the works decontextualized from their original environment, but clearly visible and presented in such a way as to make their stylistic values and the refinement of the details legible. This allows a series of comparisons with some works of the Sforzesco Castle, such as the figures from the missing Lamentation from the Milanese church of Santa Maria Bianca in Casoretto, juxtaposed for the occasion with the Vigevanese sculptures.