28 September 2019

Unexpected additions

It was our last day in Milan and we were relaxing with an outing to the Castello Sforzesco and its museums. It’s quite a fascinating and mixed collection of museums and in the end we didn’t see it all. We did see several ancient and mediaeval collections and decorative arts and musical instruments and Leonardo and Michelangelo. I hadn’t expected either of them. The Leonardo is the roof decoration in the Salla delle Asse (Room of Wooden Boards) but it’s in terrible condition, having been painted over and much lost in restoration. But you can imagine the glory of the room’s columns appearing ass tree trunks and a complex, swirling arrangement of branches and twigs and leaves above. Stunning in concept if much less in presence. The Michelangelo, too, was a challenge. He died while making it. It’s the Pietá Rodanini, looking unfinished, long and perhaps unreal, faces unfinished, just one leg finished with polish mostly with chisel-markings evident. Very much like several statues fronting David in Firenze. Jesus’ face seemed unable to be completed given lack of stone to cut. The stretched bodies suggested an error but was likened by an overheard guide with Modigliani as evidence of Michelangelo’s early modernity. Perhaps. Certainly it’s a late work so a simple error seems unlikely. All matters for thought and further reading. Otherwise, three contrabassi were in the museum of musical instruments: a slithery flat-back with three gut strings; two with curved backs and violin shapes, one with four strings, the other with five. Plenty more instruments. Otherwise, furniture and porcelain and statuary and paintings and frescoes and furniture, mediaeval through to Canaletto and later. Archeology and Egyptiana (closed for restoration). And the areas we missed, including photography and drawings. Odd that commentary on the Net suggested 1-2 hours to visit. We took ~5 hours and ended in a rush and still missed a whole wing. But that’s our way. A nice and broad collection and even a Leonardo and a Michelangelo.

Leonardo da Vinci Salla delle Asse and Michelangelo Pietà Rodanini and lots more are in the Museums at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.

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