Capturing Ephemeral Beauty: A Day at Milan’s Sculpture Exhibition

The Transformative Power of Light and Shadow in Art
"Il primo bagno al lido" di Quintilio Corbellini

On that cold March morning in 2017, as the streets of Milan slowly awakened under a leaden sky, I found myself enveloped in an atmosphere of intimate reflection at the Modern Art Gallery. The exhibition “100 Years of Milan Sculpture 1815-1915” was a journey through time, a tribute to sculpture that captured the essence of art in every form, from marble to bronze, from wood to plaster. The statues, some famous, others less known, seemed to converse among themselves, each telling its unique story.

Among these, one in particular struck me: “The First Bath at the Lido” by Quintilio Corbellini, a work from 1873 that captured the joy and innocence of a fleeting moment. It was not so much the statue itself that enchanted me, but rather the effect produced by the lighting hitting it, casting a vivid and changing shadow on the wall. In that play of light and shadow, the statue seemed to come to life, transforming before my eyes.

I watched as the light sculpted every detail, enhancing the cleanliness of the lines that reminded me of black and white photographs. At that moment, the statue was no longer just marble, but a living entity, interacting with space and light. That shadow cast on the wall, ephemeral and enchanting, was itself a work of art, a silent companion that emerged and vanished with the changing light.

I couldn’t resist the urge to capture that moment with my camera. That photograph, now, is the only witness to that fleeting moment, a fixed memory of something that has already changed, moved, perhaps even disappeared. The statue, once returned to its original place, would have lost that particular shadow, that intimate dialogue with the light that I had been fortunate to witness.

This experience made me reflect on the role of the observer in art. A sculpture, once completed, begins a new life, a journey that often deviates from the original intentions of the artist. It is the gaze of the observer that infuses it with new life, discovering hidden meanings tied to their personal experiences, their emotions. Art, in this sense, is an ongoing dialogue, a bridge between the work and the soul of the viewer.

Reflecting on that day, I realize how important it is not to let these moments of pure beauty slip away, how art has the power to transform a simple moment into an unforgettable experience. Every sculpture, every work of art holds the power to amaze us, to change the way we see and perceive the world, if only we stop to observe it with attention and an open heart.

Marco Mattiuzzi

By Marco Mattiuzzi

A multifaceted artist, former teacher and communicator, he has dedicated years to art and communication. He taught classical guitar, exhibited photos and wrote in magazines. In the book sector, he promoted photography and art through HF Distribuzione, a company specialized in mail-order sales. He currently owns CYBERSPAZIO WEB & STREAMING HOSTING. In 2018, he created the Facebook group "Art Pills" with over 65,000 members and manages CYBERSPAZIO WEB RADIO dedicated to classical music. He collaborates with several cultural organizations in Vercelli, including Amici dei Musei and Artes Liberales.
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