Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday eye candy: some lovely mosaics

Let this be a lesson to me...I was so sure that I would remember just where I had shot this the street, and even the general lost in the fog that was my memory, though I have a sneaking suspicion that....More......'s in the Porta Vercellina area, outside the trace of the Spanish Walls, where there once were huge open stretches of land that had been confiscated from monasteries by the powers-that-be (whether Imperial Hapsburg, or Napoleon, first as youthful liberator, then as self-appointed emperor...makes me think of one of my favorite quotes: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," Lord Acton, 1887, cited in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 1980, p. 1).

If I'm not so familiar with the area that forgetting it would be like forgetting my own name, I now "waste" a few bytes in the camera's memory to snap the street sign. I may be hard-headed, but old dogs can learn new tricks.

Even if traditional architecture isn't your cup of tea, I hope you'll agree that the building is very pretty, though, so here's some eye candy for Sunday: lovely mosaics on the façade of a little, unpretentious independent town villa, in and of itself not common for Milan. It probably dates from the very late 19th century to the early 20th century, in any case prior to the revolution in style around the late 1920s.

The patterns make me think of the gorgeous designs on part of the ceiling of the so-called Mausoleum of Galla Placidia: (Why do I say "so-called"? Because I proved, at least to my own satisfaction, based on architectural and iconographical grounds that the building was never originally intended as a mausoleum, but as a sacristy, while the first appearance of the sarcophagi was noted--pointedly--only during the Carolingian period. Want to know more? I developed this proposal in my Master of Arts thesis, "The So-Called Mausoleum of Galla Placidia," University of California at Riverside, 1983, but whoever listens to me? Caveat lector: I haven't done any research on this since then, so if you're really interested, you'll have to do it, let me know the results! I should have published my findings, at least in the form of an article, but it seemed too daunting to such a young scholar, now it would have come in handy...oh, 20/20 hindsight....)

As pretty as they are, the mosaics also have a practical purpose: though decorative, the flat surface is easier to keep clean than carved reliefs. No small matter in a city then increasingly dedicated to industrial production, which, prior to ecological concerns, resulted in belching black smoke and sticky black dust infiltrating every crevice.

I snapped this photo on the 21st of May, 2005, at about 11:30, long before the thought of doing a blog even brushed through my mind. Instead, it is part of my documentation of and love for Milan.

P.S., If you know where it is, would you please tell me? Thanks!


hotel annuale riccione said...

I don't know where this place is, but it really looks beautiful! :)

Star said...

FOUND! Via Tamburini! Whew!

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