Tag Archive: Milan

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, The National Gallery of Art, London, November 9, 2011 – February 5, 2012

The crowds begin as one approaches the rear of the building: a long line, snaking back on itself contains those hopeful of gaining one of the 500 tickets on sale each day; further on, is a smaller queue of the luckier ones who had snapped up all the online tickets during the first three days of sale. Overall, the crowds are well behaved—for this is England—and approach their goal with good humor and a touch of the spirit of Dunkirk as they descend upon the National Gallery’s runaway success, Leonardo: Painter at the Court of Milan. It is not a large show, only some sixty paintings and drawings, but then Leonardo only began a score of paintings in a career spanning four decades. Of those paintings, fifteen autograph works survive, and four of these are generally deemed incomplete. To assemble almost every surviving painting from Leonardo’s Milanese period in London is a notable achievement, and these works are supplemented by others associated with his followers and sometime collaborators in the most sustained period of productivity in the artist’s life.

Leonard Freed e L’Italia: L’elemento del tempo

“There is a mathematical grid in the photograph. There is a rhythm.” (1) Nel rileggere un’intervista rilasciata da Leonard Freed a Nathalie Herschdorfer (2), la mia attenzione si sofferma sulla considerazione che Freed fa rispetto alla connessione tra le sue fotografie ed il tempo: “The thing is I am trying to get into my photographs the element of time” (3). Parole che generano in me una serie di osservazioni in relazione al progetto di immagini italiane al quale proverò a introdurvi nelle pagine seguenti.

Dalle interviste e dalle opere di Leonard Freed, emerge come dato di fatto che fu un uomo di poche parole. (4) Sfogliando poi, alcuni dei diari che scrisse durante i numerosi viaggi che lo portarono in Italia tra il 1999 e il 2005 si accredita definitivamente questa teoria. Le considerazioni di Leonard Freed sono sempre coincise, dirette, ironiche e denotano tutta la finezza di osservazione che il suo sguardo ha saputo racchiudere nelle immagini da lui realizzate. Oltre che nei suoi diari di viaggio, che spesso sono delle note, atte a ricordare nomi, incontri, date e conversazioni, il tempo, Leonard Freed, lo ha racchiuso nelle sue fotografie. Interessante, al riguardo, prendere in considerazione alcuni dei bozzetti che disegnò di suo pugno per l’impaginazione del libro su Roma, progetto che per molti anni ha sognato di portare a termine. Mettendo questi in relazione con i provini a contatto stampati e archiviati in ordine cronologico, emerge immediatamente un fattore di rilievo: il progetto editoriale che Leonard Freed aveva intenzione di realizzare aveva come idea di base quella di impostare le immagini secondo la sequenza temporale in cui erano state scattate. Ecco allora che la fotografia diviene diario, narrazione del tempo, scheletro e corpo dei numerosi viaggi e rende al lettore una cronologia appartenuta intimamente all’autore.

A Grand Tour, Part 1: The Digital Flâneur

Like cats chasing tails, all that is urgent in contemporary discussions of the city circles around the topic of density. While this makes it easy to define the shape of the boxing ring, it doesn’t set the rules of the fight, and boy oh boy is density ever a fight. Here in Sydney urban planning discourse feels like a nightmare dreamed in a fever, a chase scene in which it is impossible not to run in circles, slowly. As someone who cares deeply about Sydney’s future, it was a sweet relief to leave Smug City for a few weeks to see how they make cities in Europe.

Milan – San Remo

By the end of Luca Guadagnino’s opulent revival of the family melodrama, no member of its fabulously wealthy Milanese family has revealed themselves quite as completely as the deceptively austere palazzo in which they live. It is an unusual house; enormous, urban and clad in a 1930s rationalist facade which conceals a feast of opulent but simply ornamented surfaces. The difference between its interior and exterior tells us most of what we need to know about its inhabitants. To an even greater extent than the Sirk and Visconti melodramas which it evokes, the story of I am Love depends on the details of inanimate objects — clothes, cities, buildings and, above all, food.

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