Following a plague that afflicted Brescia between 1480 and 1484, there were rumours that a votive fresco depicting the Madonna and Child in front of a house in the San Nazario quarter had developed miraculous powers. On the wave of popular religious fervour, the Catholic church began negotiations in 1486 for the purchase of the house. In 1488, the construction of the Santa Maria dei Miracoli began.
The interior, but not the façade, of the church was severely damaged by bombardment during the Second World War. The exterior was protected by wooden scaffolding. The interior has been subsequently restored.
The church plan with its cylindrical anterior dome was designed by Ludovico Beretta before 1490. The most striking element is the elaborately decorated marble reliefs in the façade screen and portico designed by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, and completed with the help of a large number of sculptors, including the recently arrived Sanmicheli. The sculpted profusion recalls the Renaissance exterior of the Charterhouse of Pavia.
The porch, added later, is divided into four columns by straight grooves which rest all on one high base and supporting a rectangular tribune, in a turn topped by a narrow kiosk with triangular pediment. The interior is a square divided into three naves by pillars and columns, with a pentagonal apse.
The work of the Sanmicheli corresponding to the base level was the most refined of the façade, and was accomplished by the year 1500. Meanwhile, the religious building underwent rapid development, thanks to the growing number of worshippers and their alms, and was expanded to its current size. The architectural scores in the interior, characterized by decorative characters are attributed to Gasparo Cairano and his studio. The same sculptor also executed the cycle of the Apostles for the first dome, interspersed with the cycle of Angels by Tamagnino, all of which were delivered and paid for in 1489.
Over the centuries, the sanctuary was enriched by artistic works, mainly paintings, including a compelling canvas of St Nicholas of Bari presenting two children to the Virgin (1539) by Moretto, which is now in the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo. Grazio Cossali's frescoes on the Baptism of Christ and Adoration by the Shepherds are still in the church. The cycle of canvases of the Life of Jesus, painted by a number of artists including Tommaso Bona and Piermaria Bagnadore, is found in the presbytery.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.