Italian Photography Exhibits in Milan, Fall 2016

This time of year is great for filling up on cultural activities: the days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler and we haven’t hit the crazy winter holiday/exams period yet.

To get your fill, why not make the most of your time studying abroad in Milan focusing on Italian culture and history? We highly suggest a good photography exhibit to do so. Photography combines both art and history: each picture is a snapshot of a particular time, frozen forever.

With that in mind, we’ve put together some info on 4 great historical Italian photography exhibits that will be in Milan this fall (with some going on into the winter months too). Check out each exhibit’s website for opening hours.

Read on, but don’t take our word for it, see for yourself. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Black and white group of ducksToni Nicolini Photos 1960s-2000s
What: If photography could be poetry, Italian photography Nicolini would be one of the modern period’s best realist poets. His photos span several decades and several areas of Italy and beyond. Learn a little about what was happening in Italy during the second half of the last century through the eyes of this poet-photographer.
When: 16 September-23 October 2016
Where: FORMA, Via Meravigli 5 (M1 Cordusio)
How much: €8 – €6

Young woman headshotFederico Patellani Photos 1945-1946
What: A little further afield (you’ll have to go to Cinisello Balsamo, a Milan suburb, to see it), this exhibit focuses on the specific period right after WWII and specifically when the Republic of Italy was founded on 2 June 1946. That was also the first time women were given the vote in Italy. A mix of everyday life and photos focusing on the birth of a new country, 70 large-scale photos are included in the show.
When: 18 September 2016-15 January 2017
Where: MUFOCO, Via Frova 10, Cinisello Balsamo (M5 Bignami, then tram 31)
How much: Free admission

Two women with reflectionItalian Women Photographers 1965-2015
What: This unique exhibit features around 50 Italian photographers, all women. With the emergence of feminism and social change in the ’60s, women in Italy began stepping behind the camera to capture a before-unseen point of view. The show also features a multimedia installation that includes interviews with photographers along with their works of art.
When: 5 October 2016-8 January 2017
Where: Triennale di Milano, Viale Alemagna 6 (M1 M2 Cadorna)
How much: €6

La Scala after bombingMilano, Story of a Rebirth 1943-1953
What: Another exhibit focusing on the time around WWII (during and after), this one doesn’t open until mid-November. You’ll see lots of images about the destruction from the war and the reconstruction after it was over. There are also posters, objects and mementos from the time period.
When: 10 November 2016-12 February 2017
Where: Palazzo Morando, Via Sant’Andrea 6 (M1 San Babila or M3 Montenapoleone)
How much: €10 – €8

The Best Art Exhibits in Milan in Spring 2016

You’ve chosen to study in Italy, a country famous for its food culture, its stunning landscapes and its art history. But as soon as you land in Milan, you realize that it’s a city famous for fashion and design, yes, but also business, finance and… maybe soccer. What about the art? Compared to other Italian cities like Rome and Florence, it might not be as blatant, but art is definitely an important part of Milan’s identity, as long as you know where to look.

In fact, there are so many choices in a city like Milano, it can be overwhelming. So we’ve selected a few of the best temporary art exhibits you can visit around the city… right now! They all feature Italian artists, focusing on restored artwork, urban paintings, futurism, art in Milan in the early 20th century or contemporary art, take your pick!

Rediscovered BeautyPortrait of Malta Knight by Caravaggio
To showcase recently restored artwork, the Intesa Sanpaolo Foundation has put together an exhibit of a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, other objects and archaeological artifacts from museums all over Italy (and one museum in Slovakia). Artists include Caravaggio, Perugino and Lotto, with a total of 140 works restored and brought together in Milan. Definitely worth a visit!
When
: 1 April-17 July 2016
Where: Gallerie d’Italia, Piazza della Scala 6; M1 M3 Duomo
Admission: €5

Mosè Bianchi: Lost Milan
Ever wonder what Milano looked like in the 1800s? From the Duomo, to the Colonne di San Lorenzo to the Navigli, many monuments were the same, but the details surrounding them were very different. Check out this exhibit of paintings of the city by an Italian artist from Monza.
When: 18 March-26 June 2016
WhereGAM Manzoni, Via Manzoni 45; M3 Montenapoleone
Admission: €6

Umberto Boccioni: Genius and MemorySelf-portrait of Boccioni, 1909
Futurism was an art movement that took over Italy at the turn of the 20th century. And one of the most famous and influential futurist artists was Umberto Boccioni, who passed away 100 years ago. Find out more about this very Italian style and see 280 works of art by Boccioni, including drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, books, magazines and documents.
When: 23 March-10 July 2016
WherePalazzo Reale, Piazza del Duomo 12; M1 M3 Duomo
Admission: €13

Milan Galleries Between the Two Wars
Between WWI and WWII, the city of Milano was fertile ground for artists and intellectuals, who often met in the galleries around the city. A number of artistic movements were born or matured, including futurism, chiarismo and aeropittura. This exhibit brings together 100 works of art, including paintings, sculpture and related documents, for a complete look at the art of the time.
When: 25 February-22 May 2016
Where: Fondazione Stelline, Corso Magenta 61; Mi M2 Cadorna
Admission: €8

La grande scacchiera installationBonus 1-day art event:
BAG-Bocconi Art Gallery
Did you know you can see a wide range of contemporary works of art right here on the Bocconi campus? Every year, the campus opens its doors to the public during Bocconi Art Gallery, offering guided tours, talks with the artists themselves and live music. It’s a fun evening, especially for anyone looking to find out more about the Italian and international contemporary art scene.
When: 12 May, starting at 5:30pm
WhereBocconi University, Via Sarfatti 25; M3 Porta Romana
Admission: Free

Milan’s Evolving Skyline

Skyscraper and tram

There’s a cool new exhibit focusing on Milan’s modern architecture and changing cityscape over the past 100 years: Grattanuvole: un secolo di grattacieli a Milano. Instead of using the typical word for skyscrapers, grattacieli, a similar word, grattanuvole, was used for the title. As a bit of a language nerd, I did some research to find out why. More info on the exhibit itself is below, if you’re more into architecture and not the linguistic aspects!

Have you ever thought about what the word skyscraper really means? The two parts of the compound word have nothing to do with the final meaning, but it is a pretty poetic description of what these modern, tall buildings do. And what about the Italian translation? As so often happened when learning a foreign language, I only started thinking about the different elements of the word skyscraper when I learned the Italian equivalent.

The Italian word for skyscraper is a very literal translation of the two parts of the English word: grattacielo. But what does grattanuvole, the title of the architecture exhibit, mean? This word was initially used more often in Italian to refer to modern towers and it was actually even more popular than grattacielo between 1903 and 1911 (for etymology nerds, see the Ngram Viewer chart from Google below). Grattanuvole translates literally as cloudscraper. Which might be appropriate in a city like Milan that is famous for its foggy winter mornings.

Lamp with skyscraper in the backgroundSo how has Milan’s skyline changed over the past century? Like lots of other Italian cities, the city has tended to hold on to traditional architecture and was relatively slow in adopting new styles such as skyscrapers. But with recent projects such as the Porta Nuova area at Piazza Gae Aulenti and CityLife, which is still in the works, Milano is starting to look more like a modern city with more than one skyscraper towering over the horizon.

If you’re interested in learning more about the past, present and future of Milan’s architecture through photos, definitely check out Grattanuvole, un secolo di grattacieli a Milano. The exhibit features photographs of 75 important buildings that have been constructed over the past century. It’s located at Fondazione Riccardo Catella in the Isola neighborhood (near the Gioia subway stop on the green line).

Fondazione Riccardo Catella, in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano
Via G. De Castillia 28
7 November to 6 December 2014
Mondays-Fridays: 10:00am-6:00pm, Saturdays: 10:00am-1:00pm, 2:00-5:00pm
Free admission

Grattacieli and grattanuvole in Italian books from 1800 to 2008
https://books.google.com/ngrams/interactive_chart?content=grattanuvole%2Cgrattacieli&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=22&smoothing=1&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cgrattanuvole%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgrattacieli%3B%2Cc0

Kandinsky: A Journey Beyond Space and Time

Palazzo Reale in Milan is hosting “Vassily Kandinsky. The Centre Pompidou Collection” through 27 April.

The exhibit, curated by Angela Lampe – an art historian and curator at Centre Pompidou in Paris – and in collaboration with Ada Masoero for Italy, it is a wide-ranging retrospective focusing on one artist, with over 80 essential works of Kandinsky’s art, in chronological order.

The narrative of the artistic and mental journey of one of the fathers of abstract art, through all the stages of his course, is well-curated and very captivating. From the very first hall, visitors are immersed in a voyage that constantly changes viewpoint, following the growth and pursuit of painting of this great artist from last century. He was an artist who, in addition to painting, practiced art in other fields: music and theater, where he sought to defend the spiritual in art, the title of one of his most important essays.

The exhibition includes over 80 works of art: from Old Town in 1902 to Sky Blue in 1940, along with Windmill in Holland (1904), In Grey (1919), Yellow-Red-Blue (1925), Accent in Pink (1926), Colourful Ensemble (1938). The visitor can walk through the sections of the exhibit in an ideal journey through Kandinsky’s art from his debut to his culmination, from the years in Russia, to those in Germany and France until, savoring a unique and unforgettable experience and delving into a setting that will have the power to transport them beyond space and time.

Vassily Kandinsky. The Centre Pompidou Collection
Milan, Palazzo Reale, through 27 April
Admission: €11 – €9.50 – € 5.50
(Exhibit promoted and produced by the Councilorship for Culture of the City of Milan, Palazzo Reale, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, 24 ORE Cultura – Gruppo 24 ORE and Arthemisia Group)