San Maurizio at the Maggiore Monastery is a church in Milan, once the seat of the most important female monastery in the city, belonging to theBenedictine order, located at the corner between via Luini and corso Magenta, of origin Early Christian, rebuilt in the sixteenth century. It is decorated internally with a vast cycle of frescoes by the Leonardesque school and is referred to as the "Sistine Chapel" in Milan and Lombardy.
The monastery is already documented in the epoch Carolingian and partly reuses some Roman buildings; still today a polygonal tower is part of the complex, the remains of the ancient walls of Massimiano, and another square, which was originally part of the Roman circus.
The construction of the existing church began in 1503, as it is engraved on a stone found in the apse. Lost any document concerning his design, is attributed by the critic to the architect and sculptor Gian Giacomo Dolcebuono, assisted by the architect Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, at the time responsible for the construction of the tiburio of the Milan cathedral, and also active in the Certosa of Pavia and the church of Santa Maria near San Celso. The building was completed in just a few years, so much so that in the 1509 there were already placed the first tombstones. Lastly, the façade was completed in the 1574 by Francesco Pirovano.
The church, which also included a crypt, now included in the visit of the archaeological Museum, was conceived divided into two parts, a front hall, public, dedicated to the faithful and a larger, rear classroom, reserved exclusively for the nuns of the monastery. The nuns could not in any way go beyond the dividing wall; the communication doors between the two rooms were opened only after the suppression of the convent in the nineteenth century. They could witness the unfolding of the function, which was officiated in the hall of the faithful, through a large grating placed in the arch above the altar. For this purpose, in the convent church, the floor level is about half a meter higher than the public hall. The grille, which once occupied the entire arch above the altar, was restricted at the end of the sixteenth century by order of the archbishop Carlo Borromeo, to make the claustral regime more rigid. In its place was placed the altarpiece with the adoration of the Magi today still on site.
The imposing fresco decoration, which made the temple famous, praised by Ruskin and Stendhal, was begun in the second decade of the sixteenth century by authors of the Leonardo da Vinci school, engaged in those years in Milan to the Virgin of the Rocks, which perhaps John Antonio Boltraffio.
Address: Magenta 15 Course, Milan