Ad Usum Fabricae. The infinite molds the work: the construction of the Milan cathedral.
In the medieval world, the cathedral expressed man’s nature as relationship with the infinite. In it, each human being could find a home for his desire and a shelter for his sin; in it, the people found the ideal image of its unity.
The exhibition in display this year in the Companionship of Works area wants to present the age-old building yard of the Duomo of Milan. The construction of a Cathedral involved the whole city; it was the work par excellence to which all people, in various ways, participated. As the Annals of the Fabbrica del Duomo stated, “without distinction of class, all rushed to bring their offerings for the great undertaking, with material offers of money and of possessions.” In the ancient pages, moving stories come to life and recount how men and women gave their contributions to the common undertaking, as they could: the merchant who left his fortune to the Fabbrica; the prostitutes that in the morning offered a tenth of their night work; the old lady who offered the work of her hands and even the fur with which she protected herself from the cold.
The Cathedral’s building yard, which lasted six centuries, had also a major role in the economy of Milan. First of all, job opportunities: in the first decades of the yard, about 4000 people worked in the construction of the Cathedral. Among the workers many were foreigners, imported for their knowledge and expertise that they had developed somewhere else: thus, the cathedrals’ building yards became international yards, a place of exchange of cultures and techniques. The construction of such a grand building also imposed important technological innovations, such as new machines and techniques. And huge infrastructures were built for the transportation of the marble from Candoglia on the Lake Maggiore to the center of Milan. Therefore, even though the Cathedral was built in order to express the original movement of the person and of the people towards their own destiny, it gave its own contribution to the economic vitality of the city.
The exhibition relies on the collaboration of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano which, for this occasion, has lent some significant pieces of its archive and museum.
Exhibited promoted by the Compagnia delle Opere. Curated by Barbone Marco, Mariella Carlotti, Martina Saltamacchia. With the support of the Venerable “Frabbrica of the Milan Cathedral”.