Lombard mastery, External fornix of the Pusterla dei Fabbri

Lombard mastery, External fornix of the Pusterla dei Fabbri, stone and marble, 12th century (No inv. n.)

The large fornix is the only surviving element of the façade of the Pusterla dei Fabbri, construction of which started in 1171 to provide a secondary access point through the city walls. The monument, which was originally located in the vicinity of piazza Resistenza Partigiana, may have derived its name from the blacksmiths who worked nearby. The artefact consists of a semi-circular arch formed by large blocks of marble ending in an acute angled archivolt. The arch is simple yet harmonious, both in terms of proportions and jointing. On the bases one can make out miniscule protomes representing, on the left a bearded, wide eyed man and on the right, an open mouthed lion. In 1902, after a heated debate on whether or not to maintain the arch on its original site, the city council decided to transfer the Postern to the Sforza Castle. Since 1956  this solemnly imposing structure has stood in room I signalling the beginning of the architectural and sculptural section of the Museum of Ancient Art.