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Re: Catherine Sforza - the author of the VMS?!?!?
It *may* just be a coincidence, but Rocca Sforza (the fortress in Imola
which was Catherine Sforza's main base out of Milano, and which retains her
heraldic devices on the southern tower) has/had Ghibertine-style
swallow-tailed merlons at that time. Perhaps someone with more historic &
geographic knowledge of Modena will be able to use this hypothesis as a
basis from which to reinterpret the VMS' map page? My guess is that it is -
at least in part - actually representative of a real set of locations.
Also: large numbers of maiolica fragments were found in an excavation at
Rocca Sforza in 1976 (IIRC), which would have been from a period very close
to our best-guess time-frame - it seems as though the Sforza family were
actively commissioning maiolica at the time...
And finally: Tristano Sforza was the son of Francesco Sforza (Galeazzo
Maria Sforza's father), which would make him Catherine Sforza's uncle. He
died in Milano in 1477 (when Catherine was 14[?], ie, just before she was
Anyway, more on her notebook.
For a few months in early 2000, the town of Imola hosted an exhibition
called "Caterina Sforza: Una Donna del Cinquecento" in the Chiostri di San
Domenico, part of which had her "Experimentiis" on show - various academics
(like Professoressa Nadia Covini of the University of Milan, who has
extensively studied the Sforza Milanese chancery archives) contributed to
the text of the printed catalogue of the exhibition, which I've added to my
ever-growing-but-as-yet-largely-unread Sforza bibliography.
I now believe that the Experimentiis is owned by a private collection
(almost certainly Italian, probably near Montefalco), but my various email
enquiries have so far failed to locate it... I'm getting there, though.
Fingers crossed. :-)
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....