Patrician and Episcopal Rivalry for the Milanese Parish Church: San Nazaro in Brolo during French and Spanish Rule
Erected in the early sixteenth century, the Trivulzio chapel provides an emphatic illustration of the impact of noble patronage on the parish churches of early modern Milan. Constructed directly across the west entrance of the fourth-century basilica of San Nazaro in Brolo, the chapel’s decorative scheme lauded the achievements of its founder and the Trivulzio family but it also reflected the extent to which places of worship could be reconfigured to suit the political and dynastic interests of particular families. Although this was not the only such structure erected by the Milanese nobility during the early modern period, it later became the focus of a dispute between the Trivulzio family and the reforming archbishop Carlo Borromeo. The Tridentine reforms emphasized the importance of the mass and the parish church, and in his attempt to implement the Council’s decrees the archbishop sought to redress the balance between parochial worship and noble aggrandisment.