The wonderful Milan of Bonvesin de la Riva
Casa Testori
14 February – 19 July 2015


The 2015 Casa Testori exhibition season opened with TICTIG. La meravigliosa Milano di Bonvesin de la Riva.

The exhibition, celebrating Milan on the occasion of Expo 2015, was inspired by the great De Magnalibus urbis Mediolanensis, one of the most extraordinary books ever dedicated to a city, written towards the end of the thirteenth century by Bonvesin de la Riva.
Bonvesin’s Milan is a full-colour, lively, tireless Milan. A city that provides its inhabitants with everything they need. De Magnalibus is a meticulous text describing all the particularities and riches that made the Lombard capital unique. It is a book that provides an accurate and at the same time enthusiastic documentation of the material aspects of Milan’s life, filling today’s readers with wonder and stimulating a thousand curiosities.
This was the starting point for the exhibition, which aimed to reconcile past and present. On the one hand there was the historical view, which accompanied the visitor with Bonvesin’s information on the context of Milan. On the other, there was the imaginative view, created by more than 20 illustrators from Milan who elaborated, room by room, the writer’s fascinating visions, updating them with a contemporary language.  The illustrators were entrusted with the task of awakening in the visitors that astonishment with which Bonvesin’s pages are filled, to show how much the Milan of that time still lives in the Milan of today.

On the ground floor of Casa Testori, the exhibition opened with the section dedicated to contextualisation: the rooms presented and represented the character Bonvesin and the Milan in which he lived and wrote (the documents concerning him date between 1290 and 1315). The author left numerous works, written in both Latin and the vernacular. He was probably a tertiary of the Umiliati, an important mendicant order in Milan at the time. He took an active part in the life of the city and probably owes his name to the house in Porta Ticinese, where he lived for most of his life. Bonvesin is the prototype of the Milanese intellectual, enlightened, very aware of reality and conscious of his civic role. But the aspect that distinguishes him and makes him so interesting even today is his irreducibly optimistic outlook on the city and its destiny.
The large staircase room and the second floor, on the other hand, were exclusively dedicated to his work, De Magnalibus urbis Mediolanensis, evoking, room by room, the most fascinating suggestions and telling visitors about the trades that ensured the wealth of Milan in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Set in the context of Expo 2015, the exhibition was designed for both the general public and young schoolchildren, who were also involved in creative workshops held by some of the illustrators on display. 
The exhibition was therefore a unique opportunity to rediscover the Milan of the past, at a time when the city was at the centre of international attention.

The exhibition was promoted and organised by Casa Testori Associazione Culturale in collaboration with the promoting committee made up of Luca Doninelli, writer; Francesco Franchi, art director of IL, the monthly magazine of Il Sole 24 OreAngelo Rinaldi, art director of La RepubblicaMatteo Riva, art director of the monthly magazine VitaFrancesca Vargiu, course leader of the Master in Interior and Living Design at Domus Academy and co-founder of kick. office; Mario Abruzzese, architect at Cibicworkshop and co-founder of kick.office; Giuseppe Frangi, president of the Associazione Giovanni Testori. The exhibition was realised in partnership with the publisher Nurant. The project also involved the students of the Mimaster Illustration, an international training centre of excellence based in Milan.


Giacomo Bagnara, Elyron, Luca Font, Giacomo Gambineri, Marco Goran Romano, Libero Gozzini, Roberta Maddalena, Simone Massoni, Sarah Mazzetti, Mimaster, Davide Mottes, Francesco Muzzi, Gio Pastori, Tai Pera, Giordano Poloni, Emiliano Ponzi, Francesco Poroli, Jacopo Rosati, Paola Sala, Olimpia Zagnoli.

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