Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Charterhouse of Milan

The Charterhouse of Milan was founded in 1349 by Archbishop Giovanni Visconti when, at the death of his brother Luchino, he had to take on responsibility for the government of the city. He donated a property in the nearby village of Garegnano, four kilometers from the city walls, in an isolated area surrounded by woods, to the Carthusian Order for the founding of a monastery whose monks could pray on his behalf, a duty for which his new governmental duties left him no time. Our Ambrosian expert Nicola de’ Grandi recently visited this important monument of his native city’s religious life, and sent in some very nice pictures.

The two Viscontis, Abp. Giovanni and his brother Luchino, are both represented on the façade as the church’s co-founders.
The Sanctuary seen from the entrance.
The walls of the church were decorated by the painter Daniele Crespi in 1629 with scenes from the life of St Bruno, the founder of the Carthusian Order. Here is represented the famous and rather harrowing legend of a professor of the Sorbonne named Raymond Diocres, who came back to life during his own funeral to inform those present of his own damnation.
Bl. Pope Urban II Approves the Carthusian Rule, and St Bruno Refuses the Episcopacy (Crespi).
Crespi also painted a large number of Carthusian Saints on the walls; this is St Hugh of Grenoble, who helped St Bruno to found the order and gave them the property on which the Grande Chartreuse was constructed.
Part of the vault (also Crespi), with Christ in Glory, St John the Baptist, Angels and Carthusian Saints.
The Birth of Christ, by Simone Peterzano (1578), the teacher of Caravaggio; in the sanctuary of the church. 
The Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension, also by Peterzano
The Eternal Father, and Angels with Instruments of the Passion (Peterzano)
The Assumption, by Biagio Bellotti (mid 18th-century)
The chapter house
The Chaterhouse of Garegnano was still in the countryside in 1865 when this map was made. 

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