Somaini e Milano
Francesco Somaini, Bagnante [II stadio], 1948-49. Courtesy Archivio Francesco Somaini.


Fondazione Francesco Somaini Scultore
Corso di Porta Vigentina, 31, 20122 Milano MI

Venue 2

Museo del Novecento del Duomo, 8, 20123 Milano MI

Venue 3

Palazzo Reale del Duomo, 12, 20122 Milano MI


01 Jul 2022 - 11 Sep 2022

Somaini e Milano

Spanning three venues across Milan, the exhibition “Somaini e Milano,” promoted by Comune di Milano | Cultura, Palazzo Reale, Museo del Novecento and Fondazione Somaini, retraces the work of Francesco Somaini (1926-2005) from his formative years to his last period, exploring the different spheres of his multiform creative research and bringing to light his collaboration with the protagonists of Milanese culture.

The exhibition focuses on sculpture research at Palazzo Reale, explores Somaini’s relations with the artists of his time at the Museo del Novecento and investigates the sculptor’s international profile at the foundation that bare his name. In addition, in the public work “Sviluppo di un’opera antropomorfica” (1979) has been installed in front of Palazzo Reale.

Palazzo Reale, Sala delle Cariatidi “La scultura”, curated by Luisa Somaini and Francesco Tedeschi 

Francesco Somaini’s sculpture is the protagonist in the spaces of the Sala delle Cariatidi, the Piccolo Lucernario and the Sala della Lanterna of the Palazzo Reale in Milan. On show are seventy works documenting the various phases of his research from 1948 to 1992, marked by continuous innovation on a theoretical, formal and technical level: from his training at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts to his updating on transalpine experiences, from his membership of MAC-Espace to the great informal season, from his reflection on the relationship between sculpture, architecture and the urban context with the launch of different plastic typologies (sculptures/architectures and binary installations composed of a sculpted matrix and a figurative trace), up to his last season characterised by the rediscovery of myth. In the Sala della Lanterna there is a focus on the gestation of the Monumento ai Marinai d’Italia in Milan with the exhibition of all the preparatory sketches drawn up by the artist.

On display in the spaces of the Archives, on the fourth floor of the Museo del Novecento, are more than one hundred works including drawings, projects, models, sculptures, paintings and photographs documenting Somaini’s collaboration with contemporary artists. These include Lucio Fontana, Ico Parisi and Giorgio Bassani, for the competition for the Monument to the Resistance in Cuneo (1962-63), and the architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni, with whom the sculptor began a tried-and-tested association for about twenty years. On show are images taken in the artist’s studio in Lomazzo by Giorgio Casali, Ugo Mulas and Enrico Cattaneo that introduce his creative workshop, characterised above all by the use of high-pressure sand casting.

Somaini Foundation “Beyond Sculpture: The City”, curated by Fulvio Irace and Luisa Somaini 

The exhibition presents about one hundred works including drawings, projects, models, sculptures and photomontages and documents Somaini’s reflection and aspiration to shape cities with his interventions. 

Alongside the well-known metropolitan visions of New York, there are many previously unpublished materials documenting the artist’s constant attention to the cities of Lombardy (Bergamo, Como, Mantua) and Milan. A true anticipation of the use of greenery as an alternative to urban congestion are the designs for Milan and Paris, from the park for Largo Marinai d’Italia to the Parisian competition for the Parc de La Villette. Also on display are projects, photomontages, drawings of his revolutionary visions of European metropolises (Düsseldorf, Duisburg) that amaze for the radicalness of their urban solutions. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a rich programme of meetings and itineraries in the city and in Lombardy, collected in an explanatory map, to discover the sculptures and mosaics in the area.