The room at the first floor of the north-east great tower of Sforza Castle, also called Sala delle Asse, got its name from the wooden planks which covered the walls long time ago, probably with the aim to safeguard the room from humidity. The room was a significant and important setting where Sforza family welcomed their guests and ambassadors.
For this reason, Leonardo Da Vinci, called in the city of Milan by Ludovico Sforza, known as “il Moro” (“the moorish”), perform the pictorial decoration of the room in 1498. He promised he would finish the work within few months.
Leonardo (probably with some helpers) painted on the vault of the room a fake arbor, made by a series of branches and golden ropes, intertwined.
At present, we don’t know if the decoration had ever been completed.
When, starting from 1499, the Duchy of Milan was conquered by the French, a decline period started for the castle, which was turned into a barracks and since that moment, the Sala delle Asse was used as stable. A layer of lime was spread all over Leonardo’s painting, until the end of the nineteenth century.