Monday, July 16, 2012

A few more steps down via Manzoni to n. 10 and Palazzo Anguissola

A cool breeze blew last night, so let's take a few more steps down via Manzoni this morning to n. 10 and the Palazzo Anguissola...More......

Like its neighbor the Palazzo Brentani poi Greppi at n. 6, this mansion now belongs to and houses the Milanese offices of Intesa BCI (ex-Banca Commerciale Italiana, founded in Milan in 1894, merged with Banca Intesa in 2001, for more info in Italian).

If you're lucky when walking past the portal, the gates will be open. In the courtyard can be glimpsed a sculpture I'm sure is by Arnoldo Pomodoro, though I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere. If you don't have any idea about what his intriguing modern sculptures are like, look here, at one of my posts from 2010.

But back to Palazzo Anguissola. The façade is an elegant re-interpretation of severe sixteenth century architecture linked--according to my handy Touring Club guide to Milan--to the schools of Parma and France. Nothing in the guide is said about who the architect of the façade was, though it does say that Carlo Felice Soave constructed another internal structure in 1775-1778 and that the interiors were decorated by Simone Cantoni (d. 1818)...places you'll never get to see, unless the bank decides to participate in one of FAI's open days. (FAI-Fondo Ambiente Italiano takes care of the natural, architectural and artistic patrimony of its properties, and organizes cultural events all over Italy throughout the year. Typically in late March it organizes "open days" with private properties otherwise not visible to the general public in order to highlight Italy's rich cultural patrimony in need of continuous loving care and to encourage people to join it...you think about it, too, O.K.? The fees are relatively low, about E.40 a year. See in English: http://eng.fondoambiente.it/.)

The façade is divided into three, the overall plan of which--similar to other structures of the 19th and early 20th centuries--is that of a single column: the (dark) base, the body of the structure punctuated with furrowed pilasters and the "captial" consisting in a vegetal frieze with swans, lyres and--in the very center--a Medusa head seen against a half shell, an odd but functional mixture of ancient motifs (the Medusa head generally is presented against the shield in which it was reflected, whereas the portrait bust of the deceased placed against a half shell is a common motif on ancient Roman sarcophaghi).

Here the Medusa head is seen just under that famous cornflower blue Lombard sky in a snap I took with your personal non-commercial viewing pleasure in mind on the 2nd of August 2011 at around 6 P.M.

Enjoy!

P.S., I was so sure that I already had written about the Gallerie d'Italia collections housed in the Palazzo Brentani (via Manzoni, 6) and Palazzo Anguissola (via Manzoni, 10), that when a friend mentioned it, I wrote back telling her 'thanks, but I did it already'...then it began to gnaw at me...had I really? Incredulous, I checked and checked and checked...zilch. (I'll keep hunting...it would be such a pity to lose such pearls of wisdom....)

So, with apologies to the very nice friend, here's the link to the web site (in English!) of this interesting collection belonging to the Fondazione Cariplo and the Banca Intesa San Paolo. For the moment, only the 19th century collections are open. In 2012, they are planning on opening the 20th century section overlooking Piazza della Scala. I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

Very interesting!

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