Aurora fountain pen

The renaissance of fountain pens

Mechanical watches. Vinyl records. Fountain pens. All things that were invented at some time in the past, developed into thriving industries, and were then swept away by new technology. The arrival of cheap quartz watches in the 1970s was like the cataclysm that led to the end of the dinosaurs, and it caused about two-thirds…

Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at Palazzo Reale, Milan

If you’re hoping to see the Mona Lisa or the Virgin of the Rocks, you’ll be disappointed, but there are a lot of good reasons why you shouldn’t miss this show. As there are not many Leonardo paintings anyway – about 15 – but lots of drawings, the organisers gave the exhibition the theme of…

A close-up of the Medusa

Ferruccio Mengaroni, the artist whose ego was a little too much

Ferruccio Mengaroni’s ideas were always big. Almost a century before the giant lipsticks and hamburgers of Pop artist Claes van Oldenburg, he was making larger-than-life objects using ceramics. There is a giant crab in the Castello Sforzesco Museum in Milan, and a large Medusa in the Pesaro Museum, that possibly represent the pinnacle of his…

Artistic values

When restoring a prestige building, cultural content is valuable from every point of view. An article written with Luciano Broglia, architect, lubarch@tiscali.it Luciano Broglia specializes in the renovation and refurbishment of historic buildings. This means buildings dating to before 1900, while not excluding later works, such as those by a renowned designer, or buildings that…

A Cathedral mystery

A Cathedral as enormous as Milan’s is bound to have a few mysteries hidden away somewhere. One of them can be found in the left-hand transept: a giant candlestick, known as the Candelabro Trivulzio. It is a triumph of fractal geometry: from a distance it seems just a bronze seven-armed candlestick, but as you move…