Friday, June 3, 2011

Photoless Friday (15): Aida and Notre Dame at San Siro's Meazza Stadium next to the Race Track with a hypothetical version of a Leonardo da Vinci

"Aida" by Giuseppe Verdi, coming to San Siro's Statium next Saturday (June 11). Should be a knock out. If these spectacular shows catch your attention, on the 29th at the same stadium will be "Notre Dame de Paris". As long as you're in the general area,...More...

...slip past the race track; in front of it is one modern version (by the sculptor Nina Akamu for Philip Dent's project) of what Leonardo da Vinci was thinking about while planning the over-life sized equestrian monument for Francesco Sforza, the condottiere who married the only direct heir to the Visconti dukedom, Bianca, the legitimized bastard daughter of Filippo Maria, and who, together with Bianca ruled Milan, and produced the sons to follow in his footsteps (one finally obtaining the official title of duke, but that's another story).

Leonardo even got so far as to produce a full-scale clay version of the sculpture, and it was placed on the castle grounds, where the bronze version--never executed, due to the onset of war--was to have been set. The clay version--its appearance unrecorded--was used by the invading French soldiers for target practice, and so was destroyed.

In any event, since even it wasn't the final bronze version, an image of the clay version, had one survived, would only be indicative, not definitive.

What I'm trying to say, and what the American side of the information never makes clear enough, in my opinion, is that this is *NOT* "Leonardo's horse." It's only one preliminary possibiity of what Leonardo was exploring for the monument that never was. This enthusiastic embracing of a false attempt at recreating something that never came into being is denigrated here, uninteresting to those, like the Italians, who've got lots of the real stuff piled up in courtyards, museums and and their storage areas.

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth...literally, this time...but it would be too confusing to undiscerning visitors to put this "fake" on the Sforza Castle grounds, as if it were Leonardo's actual horse. And besides, it fits so nice into the space in front of the race track, an apt association:, that it would be a pity to move it. Apparently offended that their unwanted gift has been embarrassedly accepted, and--like Auntie's doily stitched lovingly by hand out of used kitchen twine--placed discreetly where it can't be a ready eyesore, noises were made, and so promises to think about moving it to the castle seem to have been made (I've not verified, and I don't want to).

To quote one of my favorite TV show characters of a number of years ago, "It ain't gonna happen, my friend."

It's still impressive though. Executed in bronze at 24 feet high, and dedicated--to the great embarrassment of locals, both politicians and the general public--in 1999, it's still at the conveniently thematic, but decentralized location, in front of the horse race track at San Siro, next to the Meazza stadium.

It's worth the trip out. After all, it's not all that far from downtown, and is just a tram ride away from the center to this surrounding "bedroom community."

(Took me so long to write this, that it's now a few minutes after mindnight, so technically, it's already Saturday morning, but you'll forgive me, right?)

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