25 September 2019

The quest

Our quest for he works of Leonardo da Vinci continues here in Milan. His presence is tourist-palpable here, with a commercial display and a science museum named for him and his local canal design promoted and his statue in front of La Scala. The big Leonardo, after the Louvre’s Mona Lisa, is Il Cenacolo, the Last supper, which miraculously survived bombing in WW2, located here in the monks refectory beside Santa Maria dele Grazie. That remains just a hope after I discovered bookings are required months before and I was too late. More on that if we manage entry somehow. Otherwise, we’ve visited the Biblioteca Ambrosiana and found his Musician there, along with some of his drawings from papers held there and a fabulous, huge cartoon for the Vatican’s Philosophers painting by Raphael. That was unexpected and a stunner. There are other gems, too, of course, here and in La Brera, the main local gallery that was envisioned by Napoleon as Italy’s Louvre, and for which he grabbed art from throughout Italy. It tends to the Baroque but there are gems nonetheless, Mantegna, Fra Angelico, some massive wall-sized works, the very popular Kiss and the particularly beautiful wedding of Mary and Joseph in which Raphael aged 21 surpassed his teacher Perugino. As for things on show, this is also Milan Fashion Week and there are models and chauffeured black Mercs and Audis everywhere. I read that ~2,400 models are in town now, of which, some few will be discovered. We ate lunch just next to one group and I met one young man who was the splitting image of a mediaeval Italian condottiere, prevalent in these galleries. He was professionally distant in the photo but playfully friendly out so quite a pleasure. One week in Milan.

The Brera and the Biblioteca Ambrosiana are galleries in Milan and the streets are busy with Milan Fashion Week.

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