Colleoni Chapel in Bergamo

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Colleoni Chapel Bergamo


The famous leader Bartolomeo Colleoni to make his own tomb, he did demolish an apse of the basilica chosen one of the most important places prestige of the city e gave the task to one of the best known artists at that time, such Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, who built the work considered remarkable in the history of Lombard art and for the Renaissance period. In the narrow spaces of the Duomo square the façade, with its exuberant decorative strength and chromatic, it seems to want to compete with the sumptuous decorations of the basilica's porch. Visiting times vary depending on the season, the Colleoni Chapel remains closed on Mondays.


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Liturgical celebrations and facade
The choice of architectural coverage of the Colleoni Chapel and the polychromy of the marbles recall the prothyrum of Giovanni da Campione, they enhance the mausoleum features but are effective at the same time the building suitable for liturgical celebrations.
The facade, composed of inlays and decorations in polychrome marble with white, red and black lozenges, it has a rose window above the portal, on the sides of which are two medallions depicting Caesar and Trajan. Its geometry develops vertically, following three parallel bands, enclosed by two historiated pilasters culminating in two pinnacles joined by an elegant one loggia lightened by ten mullioned windows.
Internal part
The roof of the Colleoni Chapel is formed by an octagonal drum, which rests on the loggia, and by the dome segments ending with the lantern. In the drum there is a small rosette, aligned with it larger one below, which contains the bronze serpent of Moses as if to underline a line of continuity between the biblical character and Colleoni.
The internal part of the Colleoni Chapel appears consisting of a square-plan room and another smaller one, in a lateral position, with the presbytery, While the cenotaph of Colleoni, who died on 3 November 1475, is placed on the wall in front of the entrance, the pillars, which have lions' heads at the base, support a first sarcophagus with bas-reliefs with Scenes of the crucifixion of Christ; above there is a second sarcophagus, the destination of which is unknown, supported by three statues, also with bas-reliefs depicting the scenes of the Annunciation, of the nativity of Christ and the adoration of the Magi.
At the center of the facade stands a splendid rose window, the primary source of light for the interior of the Colleoni Chapel, light which, however, is projected not on the altar but on the equestrian monument of Colleoni which it dominates over the religious symbols present almost timidly. The presbytery and the altar they are placed in a side room in a position that may appear secondary, while the scenario is monopolized by the leader who imposes himself on the visitor with his golden monument.
The equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni made of gilded wood is the work of two German sculptors, Leonardo Siry and Sixtus of Nuremberg, was sculpted after 1493 and placed on the sarcophagi around 1500. The work is particularly elegant and at the same time imposing, it exalts the leader in maximum of his power. The calm and composed expression on his face is light years away from the bold one fury emanating from Verrocchio's monument in Venice, different moments and different tensions, a Venice Colleoni fights and builds his fortune, while in Cappella Colleoni the conscious power achieved is exposed.
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