by Bernardo Bellotto
This painting belonged to English collections for centuries and has only recently returned to Italy, and to Milan in particular, one of whose hubs it depicts.
The painting's iconographic importance lies in its ability to convey the historical stratification of the architecture of Piazza dei Mercanti prior to the upheaval and additions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Detail with the daily life of Piazza dei Mercanti.
The work's portrait orientation is unusual: generally, landscape is chosen for such panoramic depictions.
However, the painting's close-up viewpoint and verticality are intended to intensify the contrast between the medieval Palazzo della Ragione
and the marble facade of the Palazzo dei Giureconsulti.
The mass of shadow that creeps across the monuments accentuates our already well-defined view of the architectural elements, making this painting a fundamental member of the series of landscapes preserved by the gallery, not to mention one of the best-known.
The Palazzo dei Giureconsulti and the Broletto in Milan by Bernardo BellottoSforzesco Castle