A Ladies’ Get-together

November 21, 2014 / Art & Archaeology
Milan, Lombardia

You are invited to a get-together with four ladies in Milan.

Straightforward? Yes. But there’s subtext too.

This being Milan, the ladies (meaning aristocracy) will certainly be wearing their absolute best… Milan is not called the fashion capital of the world for no reason, after all.

And just like any self-respecting Milanese event, externally it will definitely be understated and private. No showiness or public pomp whatsoever here. Yet at the same time, it will be thoroughly opulent and tastefully luxurious for those attending inside. Sure enough, Palazzo Poldi-Pezzoli is nondescript on the outside, but its interior is simply stunning. Despite the building’s age (and being bombed in WWII and then restored), the decor has been kept as it was when Sua Eccellenza (His Excellency) Count Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli died.


Unfortunately, the four ladies are no longer among the living either, nor do we know precisely who these nobildonne were. However, the Florentine Pollaiolo brothers immortalized them in the 15th century, and so they have luckily been with us ever since.

Complimenti to Annalisa Zanni, director of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, who worked with the Met in NYC, the Uffizi in Florence, and the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin for years so the four Pollaiolo portraits of young ladies (each institution owns one) could get-together for the first time ever.

(This brilliant “get-together” lasts until February 16th, 2015, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan.)

pollaiolo-portrait-young woman-berlin



by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

16 Responses to “A Ladies’ Get-together”

  1. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    GB, these ladies are exquisite and what a lovely way to introduce them to us! In this case, the ladies who bunch (together).

  2. Gian Banchero

    After recently living a year in Milano upon return to the casual San Francisco Bay Area I was prepared to see a relaxed dress code, no big shock. Wheat did surprise me was that fine clothing bought off the rack (“peg” in England) wasn’t then brought to a tailor for a proper fit, hence, pardon me, many people look like they’re wearing a sack of doorknobs. Walking the streets of Milano can be quite intimidating if, as with me, one prefers to stroll the streets in flip-flops; something one does only once to then run to the shoe store for stylish footwear.
    Thank you GB for presenting the four lovely “Classics” to us…

  3. I don’t see the Lombardian farm town of Cuggionia on the map. Do you know where it is? Thjs is where all my

    • I don’t see the Lombardian farm town of Cuggionia on the map. Do you know where it is? Thjs is where all my

  4. place on the map? Know there because I was there 7 years ago.
    feature a story of this town if youSeveral of my relatives still live there. I eiul d

  5. Though each lady has slightly different qualities that distinguish one from the other, I can’t help but wonder if maybe the portraits are of the same woman.

  6. In the 3rd portrait down I was particularly impressed with the artist’s gift when I noticed her left ear. Did you notice she was wearing, (being a man I don’t know what to call it), a sheer, translucent fabric over her ear? Think about what a challenge that must have been for the artist to properly reproduce! It seems impossible to reproduce but he/she did it. Wow!!

  7. Anstell Ricossa

    All truly lovely ladies, and their attire is so luxurious ! To this day, the Milanese ladies still are so beautifully dressed…no flip flops !

  8. John Del Monte

    These are fabulous works of interpretations, capturing nobility. If they were to respond to questions put to them by a learned individual, the response would be quick in a gentle manner with facial and body gestures similar to a ballerina, that would exemplify their civilized honest and caring nobility. Their total physiognomy exudes true beauty for me without doubt. This is my kind of woman.

  9. Anne Robichaud

    Love John’s comment above..and GB, so enjoyed this note.
    Have a break now from tours and ready for a jaunt _ i think you convinced me I should head to Milano!


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