La Madonnina. Origins and history of a Milanese symbol

There is a show on the Madonnina in the left-hand nave of the Cathedral (it opened on 13 December 2011). It is the first exhibition dedicated to this statue of Mary on the central spire of the Cathedral, which has become a symbol for the city and a familiar figure for all those who live here.

The show is in the form of a Wunderkammer, designed by architect Guido Canali, with assistance from Gianfranco Zanafredi and graphic design by Italo Lupi. It includes the original statue made in walnut, carved by Giuseppe Antignati in 1769, and the only surviving part of the model used to shape the 33 sheets of gilded copper from which La Madonnina is made. Also on show are the copper flag that was pierced by lightning during a storm in 1967, and the original internal skeleton of the statue, replaced in the late 1960s by an identical structure in stainless steel. The exterior shell consists of copper sheets, restored with 6,750 sheets of gold leaf, representing a total weight of 387 grams of gold.

The Madonnina's face, part of the original statue made in walnut, carved by Giuseppe Antignati in 1769

The Madonnina’s face, part of the original statue made in walnut, carved by Giuseppe Antignati in 1769

The exhibition also presents photos of “Milan from the Cathedral rooftops” by Gabriele Basilico.

The show is open every day from 10.00 to 18.00, until 14 June 2012. Admission €3, or €5 including a screenprint of the face of La Madonnina. Proceeds will help finance the restoration of the main spire.

Further information at www.duomomilano.it

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