Milan has many high quality art galleries and the Milanese seem to get quite cross if you do not realise that you can see just as much art here as you can in Florence or other Italian cities famous for their art.
The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana is one of the
oldest museums in the world and contains works by Leonardo da Vinci (The Musician) , Raphael (School of Athens' cartoon), Caravaggio (Basket of Fruits) and others
As with many galleries, photographs (without using a flash) are not allowed and so here there are only a few images grabbed when no one was looking. Click on the link (shown in bold red) to the gallery website if you want to see what is on offer.
This elaborate staircase was in the original buildings and is quite a work of art in itself as also is the marble floor.
Upstairs is a very ornate ceiling and the lighting behind the stained glass is a nice touch.
This mouse is by Breugel and a quick picture was snatched for Luisa (because she wanted the original but could not have it).
In the same building is the Ambrosiana Library which houses (amongst other things),
a manuscript of the Aeneid, an Iliad from the 4thcentury AD, the Perspectiva Pingendi (a Renaissance mathematical book about perspective in painting written by Piero della Francesca) and the Divina Proportione by Luca Pacioli with illustrations by Leonardo da Vinci (about the mathematics of the golden ratio and its application in architecture). Many pages from the Codex Atlantica are on display and these are routinely changed so that all of it eventually is displayed.
When looking at the Codex, you can get very close to the pages on display even though they are very well protected.
As with many Italian Galleries, all of the works are very well displayed and the museum was not crowded at all.
The entrance to this gallery is through an imposing arch across a large square with an imposing statue and then up a long flight of grand steps. The first time we went there, the staff were out on a suddenly called strike
but the next day when we tried again, we were let in free of charge. Not that it is expensive in any case and anyone who looks over 65 gets in at half price. The tickets are works of art in themselves.
Everything is on one level and the museum provide a “top exhibits” map showing the location of the most famous paintings.
We particularly liked Bellini’s “Predica di san Marco ad Alessandria d'Egitto” (St Mark preaching in Alexandria) and particualrly liked the Giraffe on a lead in the middle of the right hand side of the painting,
and of course “The Kiss” by Francesco Hayes.
and “Il Quarto Stato” ("The Fourth Estate") also known as Il Fiumana (The Strike) by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedos;
and “Figura femminile in un interno” by Gerolamo Induno - even though it looks like she is using her mobile to access Facebook (note the picture of “The Kiss” on the wall in the painting)
and Caravaggio’s “Cena in Emmaus”
Elsewhere in the gallery there are complete chapels which somehow have been reconstructed onsite and are beautifully lit
and you can also see the painting restoration workshop where, when we were there, they were working on Giovanni Bellini’s Pietà.
Although not on the “most popular” list, we were particularly impressed with “Madonna della Candeletta” by Crivelli which was painted in the late 1400s. We were impressed by the fine attention to detail in the rich cloth of her skirt and the shadow cast by the taper (the candle or candeletta) in the bottom left and the shadow cast by the Rose in the bottom right of the painting.
Leonardo also has a number of links with the Castello Sforzesco. The most well known one is because here he painted the frescoed ceiling of the "Sala delle Asse" (‘room of the wooden panels’) and the best lesser known
link is that the Trivulziana library within the Castle houses another important work, the
Codex Trivulzianus, which is a manuscript
containing notes and drawings dealing mainly with military and religious architecture.
Tickets for the museums are remarkably cheap (this is the “you look like you are over 65 half price special”) and cover entrance to about five different museums within the Castle. We managed three of them before we ran out of energy.
Within the Castle are numerous important works of art including various original painted
the “Funeral Monument of Franchino Rusca” which was made around 1340,
stained glass; the Portal of the Medici Bank constructed in the late 1400s
and Michelangelo’s the Rondanini Pietà which you are allowed to get very close up to, to walk around and also to take non-flash pictures.
Unusually for an art gallery in Italy, every gallery had well translated explanatory sheets about the exhibits in English.
The Museum containing paintings and furniture was amazing in terms of the quality of the work, how they were displayed, how easily you could view them and the lack of visitors.
The Castle probably needs at least two days to properly tour without feeling that you are getting museum overload – it was well worth the visit (as was the ice cream we had afterwards)