Casa Degli Omenoni Milano or Palazzo Leoni-Calchi is a palace in Milan built around 1565. Located in today’s Via degli Omenoni, behind the Church of San Fedele. The name derives from the eight telamons (omenoni, or “big men”) of the façade, sculpted by Antonio Abondio.
Casa Degli Omenoni Milano – History
The construction of the palace is due to the Arezzo sculptor and chiseller Leone Leoni. Imperial sculptor at the service of Charles V of Hapsburg and Philip II of Spain. The artist, appointed sculptor of the Mint of Milan in 1542, bought the property in 1549, and in 1565 began its renovation, making it his own home and his son, Pompeo Leoni, also a sculptor. They were both famous collectors and art dealers.
They gathered inside the house a famous and eclectic collection of ancient art and works by the major artists of the time, including works by Tiziano and Correggio, the collection of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci inherited from his pupil Francesco Melzi, plaster casts of classical statues including the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius of the Campidoglio. Of the collection, subsequently dispersed, some works then merged with the Ambrosiana, including Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus.
Vasari describes the palace in the chapter of Lives dedicated to Leone Leoni, narrating how
“Lyon, to show the greatness of his soul, the beautiful talent he has had from nature, and the favor of fortune, has with great expense led a beautiful architecture a little house in the district of Moroni, full of capricious inventions, which there is perhaps not another like that in all of Milan. »
Casa Degli Omenoni Milano – Architecture
The façade consists of two orders and an attic, of a later period, and is vertically scanned in seven compartments. On the ground floor are divided by eight colossal stone telamons, representing barbarians defeated inspired by the statuary of classical Rome. Above the heads of the barbarians are indicated the lineages to which they belong: Svevo, Quado, Adiabene, Parto, Sarmata and Marcomanno. Two windows with a broken tympanum alternate with them. Two other arched windows, later opened in place of the niches that were previously there.
On the main floor, Ionic columns are alternated with niches and windows. In the nineteenth century the balconies were added. In the central compartment of the frieze that runs under the eaves, the relief with the Calunnia torn by lions alludes to the owners’ house. In the interior, restored by Portaluppi in 1929, the courtyard has a rectangular plan, with three arcaded wings and a frieze of metopes and triglyphs.
Casa Degli Omenoni Milano – Address
Via Omenoni 3 – Milano
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