As you’ve probably figured out by now, walking around the city is for me a cross between a sacrament and an hour of therapy. Nothing—nothing—lifts my spirits like being “out there,” observing. And I am always tickled and surprised when I find spirits from the past observing me in return. They are everywhere, peering down on us from hundreds of years ago with the weight of a building—if not the world—on their shoulders, or perching insouciantly on a window ledge taking aim with mirth and full (albeit marble) bladders.
Sometimes these figures flirt. Sometimes they look down in severe judgment. Sometimes they merely observe with the philosophical intensity (or is it detachment?) with which the real life philosophers, scientists and Olympian gods that inspired them most likely regarded humanity. The most famous series of such telamons in Milan is this one: Casa degli Omenoni (The house of the big men), Via degli Omenoni, constructed around 1565.
I wonder. If we had to sculpt such a house now, who would we put on it to represent our times? Sarah Palin following us in the sights of her hunting rifle? I think, and hope, not. I prefer cherubs and enlightened thinkers.
[If you enjoyed this post, you may like “Milan Color Story #2: Gray Lady”]
Thanks to Ann Moore for correcting my spelling! And please see this blog for more information and a closer look at the “Big Men” of Milan.