Italians at the museum, a cyclopean enterprise


The Italians at the museum. We find that in the absence of presences from abroad, due to the pandemic, the museum policy is destined to choose its own possible, desirable, necessary users under the house. Addressing an autochthonous public, “proximity tourism”: the national presences, how to say, “blue”, Mr. and Mrs. Rossi or the white spouses who, in most circumstances, I fear are found to be the “dearest friend” of the artistic literacy.

Although the Palazzo Nazionale degli Esami in Rome reports the names of the most distinguished artists on the entablature, as a warning.

Provided that it is possible to convince them to attend the exhibition halls, they will first have to be taught how to distinguish a Raphael from a Michelangelo; so beyond all rhetoric referring to the Sublime, in fact explains the modern philosopher Walter Benjamin that, at the time of the photographic copy, the work of art loses all “aura”. For Caravaggio it is different, Caravaggio all or almost recognize it, rhetoric wanted to make it a sort of Charles Bukowski of the painting of his century.

The Italians at the museum, bad. Cyclopean enterprise, how to imagine the compatriots, opposite, relatives, cousins, brothers-in-law, ourselves, struggling with basic notions of homeland history; a contestant from Miss Italy comes back to the memory to whom they asked who Stalin was ever, and she, moved by absolute certainties: “A Stalinist”. Critically perfect, if offered to a state exam commission, in the absence of pataphysical intelligence, it would never have passed.

On the ridge that accompanies the arrival at the Vatican Museums, seen with my own eyes, the line is no longer mileage and multicultural as before Covid-19, even the sandwiches of the bar in front no longer smile to the foreign customer from the sacellum. Thinking instead of an always national geographical elsewhere, the Brera Academy comes to mind. Thus I find the beginning of the novel “La vita agra” by Luciano Bianciardi, the character of the “painter Ettorino” who, in the middle of his Napoleonic construction, in the middle of the night, having left the tables of the “Jamaica” Bar, wonders aloud about how good Matisse was …

The painter Ettorino was in reality Ettore Sordini, an extraordinary artist, a friend of the heart, gifted with encyclopedic culture, from the classics to the Olympic gymnasts, he, yes, who perfectly possessed every map of the history of art and the world universe. By visiting it together, he explained the possible and the impossible of each canvas in his secret messages.

Antonella Fiori, a doctorate in philosophy, spent in the care of the cultural pages of the Unit, of the Pinacoteca di Brera takes care of the press office. I ask her point-blank, as an assassin would do, how true the history of proximity is after the unwanted, temporary loss of the foreign public. He tells me of a work started for years to bring the Milanese back exactly to a museum that is no longer a ghost – after all, all museums are residences for ghosts, Belfagor confirms it – out of indifference thanks to the enhancement of the collection, through a dialogue between the public and the masterpieces present: Mantegna’s “Dead Christ”, Raphael’s “Marriage of the Virgin”, Caravaggio’s “Emmaus Dinner”, Hayez’s “Kiss”, a Risorgimento masterpiece, or that Lorenzo Lotto whom conceptual artists consider a precursor.

Antonella Fiori still tells of the numerous loans obtained from other museums, of the new notary captions, extraneous to any land register, even if artistic, of the critical apparatuses also addressed to children; finally adds, a romantic note in a proper and philologically appropriate sense, of the boys who go to kiss under the homonymous work of Francesco Hayez.

“Brera with your eyes open” is the slogan of the relaunch, accompanied by a “thank you to the city that has endured”. To the pandemic and indifference, to the dust itself that is usually assimilated to museum institutions, even in spite of all expressive heritage.

The city, Milan, art, the care of memory, of cultural heritage, of the Resistance itself.

Who knows how, now I find in filigree the images of the partisan formations that from Valsesia finally reach the esplanade of the Cathedral. “Monte Rosa has come down to Milan,” reads a partisan memorial classic. Too bad that, next to the resistance values, April did not bring the seed, the germ of curiosity and love for art; it seems to see them again, the men of the “Garibaldi” formations of Cino Moscatelli, the red handkerchief around his neck, in cross fade with the humorous cartoons of the “Riddling Week” of the regained peacetime; Here again are the Lords Rossi and the Bianchi, the usual defectors of museums, all of us, in front of you, put a Picasso from 1942 in front of you, look and say “… and what is this, what does it mean to me?”

The Resistance, it must be said in all possible senses, in Italy remains truly unfinished.

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