The Wooden Model of Milan Duomo

Museum Masterpieces

Wooden model of Milan Duomo (1519-1891) by Various artistsVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

A design guide

From the very beginning of construction of the Cathedral (Duomo), architectural scale models were produced to support the project designs, and their three-dimensional nature made the relevant proportions between the sections more explicit, making it possible to verify the correspondence between form and function. The oldest and largest wooden model, now housed here, is known as the modellone.

The modellone is a reproduction of the Duomo at a scale of 1:22. Its creation was entrusted to Bernardino Zenale from Treviglio in 1519, and it has been added to and enhanced over the course of three centuries.

Carved from lime wood, walnut and pine, with additional features in spruce, the model has been used for centuries as a draft design, which has been a valuable aid thanks to its three-dimensional expression.

Initially kept on the construction site of the Duomo, it was subsequently dismantled, adapted with two aisles, spires, embrasures, and flying buttresses, restored, and reassembled by Giuseppe Bellora in the mid-19th century.

The last important alteration was the façade, comprising an architectural solution proposed by Giuseppe Brentano (1862–1889), which won the competition for the renovation of the front of the Temple in 1886, but was never completed.

Two partial façade models by Francesco Castelli and Luca Beltrami dating back to the 17th century are also preserved in the Museum, and a façade model by Luca Beltrami submitted for the abovementioned competition in 1886.

Wooden model of Milan Duomo, detail of transept (1519/1891) by Autori variVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

Wooden model of Milan Duomo, detail of transept (1519/1891) by Autori variVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

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