Milan located in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region is a cosmopolitan city. Milan is home to many of Italy’s world-famous fashion brands. As a result, publishing and media companies inhabit Milan as well. Visitors to Milan love its fine food. Although not as popular an Italy vacation destination as Rome, Florence, and Venice, Milan sightseeing highlights include its majestic Duomo, beautiful La Scala opera theater and Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper fresco.
Milan Sightseeing Highlights
Leonardo DaVinci, Last Supper – Santa Maria delle Grazie
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings in history. It depicts the reaction the moment after Christ says “One of you will betray me.”
On the refectory wall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie Dominican monastery Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Last Supper. Da Vinci painted it between 1494 and 1498. In the same room Giovanni Donato da Montorfano painted in 1495 another famous work of art, The Crucifixion.
The Last Supper represents the moment that Jesus states that , “…one of you will betray me,” rather than typical subject matter when Jesus identified Judas the betrayer. Da Vinci captures the apostles who are there at the Last Supper at the moment when Jesus delivered this announcement.
Da Vinci paints the emotions and gestures of the apostles. By exploring this moment it allows Da Vinci to depict gesture and posture of his subjects, which he was famous.
When visitors enter the room they will notice that Da Vinci’s use of perspective makes them feel like they are part of the scene.
Da Vinci did not use traditional fresco technique painting on damp plaster. Instead Da Vinci used a dry technique. This allows for better light effects and shading and blending tones. As a result this painting is more fragile than traditional fresco, in which the paint becomes part of the plaster and embedded in the wall. The dry technique let to the painting starting to deteriorate immediately after its completion. An atmospheric room protects the priceless work of art, allowing 20 minutes per group of visitors. It goes through periodic restorations, and through modern techniques the very bright portions survived from the original paintwork.
For official tickets to the Last Supper click here. Official tickets do sell out early. If you would like to include a tour of the Milan city center with skip the line tickets to The Last Supper click here.
Mantegna’s Dead Christ – Pinacoteca di Brera Milan Sightseeing
Art historians consider Mantegna’s Dead Christ painting in Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera his most extraordinary painting. Mantegna used extreme perspective. In this work you’ll notice the use of perspective immediately. Although not foreign looking to us, the shortened image of Christ is very unusual. Mantegna uses odd perspective to draw us in to the suffering on Christ’s face. The distortion is odd as we look at the painting from feet to face. There is also a feeling that the feet are on the peripheral. This is totally divorced from previous depictions of the Medieval dead Christ.
This painting demonstrates Mantegna’s sculptural painting style. The stony Christ figure shows the fundamental sculptural approach to painting.
It is unclear if Mantegna was commissioned by a patron for this painting. Or, maybe he painted it for his personal collection. Therefore, it is hard to dig into why he would have painted the Christ crucifixion like this. It is an extraordinary masterpiece for its time. The work opens many more questions about the period and the changes in art style and depictions of images.
For more about Milan sightseeing and excursions from Milan check out the Lombardy sightseeing page.