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St. Charles’ Quadroni in the Duomo

From October until January it will be possible to admire the extraordinary series of paintings dedicated to the life of the saint. On the 7th December a dedicated guided tour

Quadroni 6 © Andrea Cherchi
30 October Oct 2019 1030 30 October 2019

The workers of the Veneranda Fabbrica have been committed, on these days, in one of the procedure that since centuries takes place with extraordinary expertise and attention as the Solemnity of St. Charles Borromeo – taking place from the end of October until January 2020 – approaches: the installation of the series of paintings dedicated to the life and miracles of the Saint Archbishop. In fact, from that day to the end of November, the worshippers and visitors entering the Duomo di Milano will have the chance to admire the mighty paintings dedicated to the life and miracles of St. Charles, Pastor of the Ambrosian Church from 1560 to 1584.

Protagonists of the exhibition of the Quadroni among the vaults of the Duomo are the fifty-six paintings divided in a series including two sequences: The Life of the Blessed Charles and the Miracles of St. Charles Borromeo.

The first sequence, dedicated to the life of the saint, was commissioned by the Veneranda Fabbrica on the occasion of the beatification of the Archbishop Charles, that took place on the 4th November 1602. The cousin of the saint, the Cardinal Federigo Borromeo, chose the theme of the twenty-eight great paintings: the story of the life of St. Charles and of the great events of his earthly voyage. These artworks, created by the most renowned painters in the Milan of that time – first of all Giovanni Battista Crespi known as the Ceraneo author, among other paintings, of the dramatic Visita agli appestati, Paolo Camillo Landriani known as the Duchino, Giovan Battista and Giovanni Mauro della Rovere known as the Fiammenghini, Carlo Buzzi and Domenico Pellegrini – include the biggest paintings (6 x 4,75 meters).

The twenty-four paintings dedicated to the Miracles are included in the second sequence and were exposed in the Duomo, for the first time, in 1610, next to the other Quadroni, on the occasion of the beatification of Charles Borromeo. This second part of the series was painted by the most appreciated artists of the Milanese area, some of which already committed in the creation of the first series - Cerano, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, who painted six artworks, among which the Miracolo di Giovan Battista Tirone, the Duchino, the Fiammenghini, next to artists as Carlo Buzzi and Giorgio Noyers. To the series were added some paintings in the XVIII century.

Just think about the effect that these mighty and extraordinary paintings should have had on the worshippers in the past centuries: an emotion still living today in the people visiting the Cathedral for the celebration of the Solemnity.

A unique chance to admire and discover the history of one of the greatest saints of Christianity, through great masterpieces on display among the naves of the Cathedral.

Photo by © Andrea Cherchi