The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is a basilica and sanctuary located in Milan, belonging to the Dominican Order and belonging to the parish of San Vittore al Corpo. The architecture of the grandstand, built between 1492 and 1493 at the behest of the Duke of Milan Ludovico il Moro as a mausoleum for his family, constitutes one of the highest Renaissance achievements in northern Italy and is inextricably linked to the fresco by Leonardo da Vinci, the Last Supper, preserved inside, in the refectory.
Santa Maria delle Grazie e Cenacolo Vinciano History
The foundation of a second group of Dominican friars in Milan dates back to 1459, in addition to the first settlement of Sant'Eustorgio dating back to 1227, only eleven years after the foundation of the order.
The congregation of Dominicans, established at today's San Vittore al Corpo, received as a gift in 1460 a plot of land from Count Gaspare Vimercati, leader in the service of the Sforza. On this ground there was a small chapel dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie, and a courtyard building for the use of Vimercati's troops. On 10 September 1463 the foundation stone of the convent complex was laid.
To direct the works was called Guiniforte Solari, hegemonic architect in those years in Milan, former chief engineer of the factory of the Duomo, the Ospedale Maggiore and the Certosa di Pavia. Thanks to Vimercati's patronage, the convent was completed in 1469, while for the church it was necessary to wait for 1482.
Later, by the will of Ludovico il Moro, who wanted it as a mausoleum for his family, the church was modified.
The modifications, attributed to Bramante, concern an ingenious expansion of the structure, with the addition of large semicircular apses, a majestic dome surrounded by colonnades, a beautiful cloister, and the refectory.
The church was included in the Unesco World Heritage List in 1980 because it is one of the best examples of Renaissance art, supported by the presence of the exceptional masterpiece by Da Vinci, an excellent representative of human creative genius.
Also known as the Last Supper, the Last Supper is considered among the best known and most important works of the artist and of the Italian Renaissance in general and is the only wall painting by Leonardo Da Vinci visible today.