La battaglia delle imprese: araldica e chevalerie tra Milano e Napoli al tempo di Ippolita Sforza

Autore: Giuseppa Z. Zanichelli
In: I libri di Viella. 126

The Battle of Emblems\

In the complex diplomatic relations between Naples and Milan during the 15th century, exchanges of luxury illuminated manuscripts played a very important role. During his stay in Milan, Alfonso the Magnanimous, educated in the pro-French culture that characterized early 15th-century Aragon, was particularly interested in the model of chivalry dominating the production of codes at the Visconti court. From this source he crafted his own impresa, the knight with helmet on horseback, which frequently appears in illuminated manuscripts and gold coins minted during his reign. Heraldry is also the most obvious aspect of the luxury codes brought to Naples by Ippolita Sforza as part of her dowry. While the imprese of Ippolita’s father are the most prominent visual subject of these manuscripts, at the beginning of the Aeneid the rider cantering with his face uncovered becomes a portrait of Francesco Sforza. In this way, in the years immediately following the fall of Constantinople, this image, echoing the iconography of holy knights, presents him as defender of Christianity.