Ciao Bella!

Sunday in Milan

 

 

*Giorgio strolling Via Monte Napoleone this morning.

Though I love Rome's fashionable and financially astute sister in the North, I visit Milan visit with the frequency of the fiscal calendar's quarterly reports.  About once a season, day-trip or a few night stay-over.  Most of the time, I am as focused as on-floor trader with the things I have to get done.  I run in and run out out of taxis, trains and appointments but recently I've decided I just need a few Sundays in Milan to [pretend that I] live here.

It's sunny, it's raining, it's cold, it's hot.  It doesn't matter. I have an unstoppable routine. Milan's vintage trams- I hop on a tram to Via Monte Napoleone, the fashion high street.  Thankfully it's early, the shops are closed and the neighborhood residents are fabulously dog-walking or strolling.  It feels like that scene from 1961's One Hundred and One Dalmations, or an en plein air/street style cat walk. I spy white-on-black-velvet and I'm pretty sure it is Giorgio Armani. Why not? His hotel is around the corner and he is Milan incarnate.

The Brera.

IMG_6227

Thanks to the requisite Art History 101 class and a painting by Andrea Mantegna, the Brera gallery became a second home that I have to stop by every time I am in Milan or I feel guilty.  Sala VII: A gallery shuffling and renovation placed Mantegna's Il Cristo Morto ~ The Lamentation of Christ, (1480s) at the end of a hallway in Sala VII-- a room of its own, a dark cave--  hanging at knee level.  Eery and mesmerizing.

Sala VIII, or as I like to call it, The Room of Looking at Monumentally Big Paintings.  This room is my second favorite for watching people watching art and then also for me to take a long breath to enjoy painting.   Gentile e Giovanni Bellini's La predica di S. Marco ad Alessandria (Sermon of St. Mark of Alexandria) is the center piece- and I love entering from the main hall but since the new setting of the Mantegna, I suggest chronological order-  just for shock effect of dark and light/ tiny and huge.

Sala XVIII: The restoration lab. This is another reason why I love the Brera-- a glimpse into the technical, painstaking and painterly process of restoration.

~ Coreggio, Crivelli, Pisano, Zenale, oh my!  I make my way through the XXs to Sala XXIV, low lit and kind of sparse. I'm looking for Piero della Francesca, Luca Signorelli, Rafael Sanzio and Donato Bramante. [No photo would do justice] ~

Sala XXIV: A Caravaggio party ~ Luca Giordano, Orazio Gentileschi, Carracciolo and of course, Michelangelo Merisi and Supper at Emmaus (1606).  There is no elbow room where there is a Caravaggio painting.

Sala XXXVII:  That seafoam blue, those white arches, those chairs!... and Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo's Fiumana (1897), a pre-painting to his famous Il Quarto Stato, a painting that I have been obsessed with since 1992 which now hangs in the Museo del Novecento.

I'm done. I'm out. I need to think. So I sit myself down at the crossroads of art and fashion, the corner of Great Paintings and Gucci, aka Bar Brera and I pull out the FT's weekend insert. Really. And then I start people watching. I'm in Milan and it's Sunday.

Thank you, Principe di Savoia for giving me the opportunity to enjoy a care-free Sunday in Milan, before a few long days of work. The Ambassador Suite has been the perfect haven and hideaway to get back to.