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Although often underestimated, Milan's art treasures are remarkable and date back to antiquity. Masters of Gothic and Romanesque decorated the churches and the palazzi of medieval Milan. From 1386 onwards the building of the Duomo attracted many artists to the city.

Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries artistic talent continued to be drawn to Milan, especially during the period of the Sforza seigniory which saw the arrival of Leonardo da Vinci from Tuscany in 1482.

The Catholic culture of the 17th century, after the Counter-Reformation, also produced notable results in Lombardy. And the city's art history by no means came to and end with the Old Masters.

At present much of Milan's museum patrimony is concentrated in the visual arts, and stems not only from Milan's churches and historic buildings, but also from various private art collections which brought to the city many art works that did not originally belong here.

These private collections were put together by cardinals or by rich noblemen, acquired by conquerors or else by friends of great painters whose talent was unrecognized at the time, and they added much to the already rich art heritage of the city.

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copyright © 1996-2003
Monica Levy, Roberto Peretta
copyright © 1996
Ulrico Hoepli SpA, Milano

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