Milan Has Da Vinci
Far from the Duomo on the other end of Milan sits a fairly unsuspecting building, (although if you’ve been to the cathedral everything else may seem bland in comparison) covered outside with vertical strips of white that form bands around its red brick – this is the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Its not a boring structure by any means but the outside really doesn’t give away any hint that inside it is hiding one of the most famous pieces of artwork in the western world – Da Vinci’s Last Supper.
This masterpiece of both artistry and symbolism is one of the late artists most sought after pieces and here it lies on the wall of a modest looking church in Milan. The painting you can visit today has been through a lot, in fact its seen its fair share of neglect and abuse. The original painting was not painted in the same way the frescos of churches were, Da Vinci at this point had little experience in putting work on walls or in fact creating such a large scale piece. Unlike the longevity the paints that were mixed with plaster, this application began to peel and crack before it was even finished. You will also notice that some members of the monastery (who apparently had no appreciation for art) at one point decided this would be a good spot for a new door. As a result, the famed painting now has a substantial chunk missing from the bottom where Jesus’ feet were. This space was also turned into stables, shot at and even bombed by the Nazi’s, so it’s a miracle you can even visit it today. Of course, because of all of this the work you set your eyes on today is largely the component of several restorative attempts but the wonder and the legend of this work still remain.
As if the last supper isn’t enough of Da Vinci, Milan also has another location dedicated to the work of the genius. The Leonardo Da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology reminds people that this great man wasn’t just an incredible painter but a polymath who put his mind and his hands to sculpture, woodwork and general invention and innovation. At the museum here you can marvel at some of the groundbreaking creations that Da Vinci concocted in his time including model cars, wooden animal structures and of course the famed flying machine he was devoted to. This place is a great day out for adults and kids as it seeks to engage its visitors with interactive exhibits and pushes you to think outside of the box yourself. Here not only can you marvel at the prescient creations and ideas of Da Vinci that we know today led the way for transportation, energy and more, but you can also see newer exhibitions from artists and creators clearly inspired by his work such as Theo Jansen’s Dream Beasts. This and other works display pieces in the style of Da Vinci, whose ideas continue to inspire artists and visitors who stop by the museum.