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2020 Summer Lecture Series: Staycation: Milan: A Tale of Two Cities

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art

The 2020 summer series of lectures presented by the education division explores the theme of Staycation. Many of us may be spending this summer close to home, but we can still dream and learn about beautiful places. In these talks, Gallery lecturers will present a tour of six of the world’s great cities.

Milan, Italy, is very much a tale of two cities—one that looks back to an illustrious past, while the other celebrates its present and reinvents itself for the future. In this first lecture in the series, recorded on July 23, 2020, senior lecturer David Gariff presents a survey of the city’s rich history and explores some of its contributions to politics, economics, religion, art, literature, music, architecture, fashion, and design. Milan’s native-born and temporary residents included at various times Saint Ambrose, Leonardo da Vinci,  and Giuseppe Verdi, to name only a few. In 2020, Milan announced an ambitious scheme to carry the city into a new future, stressing sustainability and the reimagining of urban living in a post-pandemic world. This talk examines the dynamic city, from its ancient roots through its contemporary style.