Goppion works with Ermanno Olmi for the new display featuring Mantegna’s Lamentation over the Dead Christ in Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera

02 Dec 2013

It is a great pleasure to announce that Goppion has contributed to the new display designed by Ermanno Olmi for Mantegna’s Lamentation over the Dead Christ at the Pinacoteca di Brera.

As a company with deep roots in the fabric of Milan, we are honored to be able to strengthen our relationship with a museum that represents not only the artistic culture of this city but serves as a treasure trove full of historic memory.

Our company also has a strong tie to Mantegna’s work, for which we realized an innovative “frame case” in 1999 with the highest level of technical features (which are, consequently, the subject of a patent).

The final reason this project interests us is no less important. It is our honor to be able to work with an artist of the caliber of Ermanno Olmi, and it has piqued our intellectual curiosity to see what the great director can bring to a museum installation project.

Goppion’s work put the focus on the poetry of the Master, realizing a minimalist and understated installation made up of a display case that was almost invisible. A case that was sophisticated and studied to guarantee that the two paintings that have been placed together – Mantegna’s Lamentation Over the Dead Christ and Bellini’s Pietà - could be best viewed. Bellini’s Pietà maintains its frame, but is protected by anti-reflective glass placed between the frame itself and the painting. A screen in acid-treated glass that can be opened from the back allows the painting to be inspected or perhaps even worked on.

Behind there is a large black panel that frames the Lamentation over the Dead Christ, which is placed low (only 670 mm from the ground) and doesn’t have an actual frame. It is inside a “hidden” case, which is a remnant from the display case realized in 1999 but now it has even greater climate-control and airtightness features. It is realized in extra-clear, anti-reflective glass that is practically colorless to guarantee excellent color rendering. The case, however, allows the back of the painting to be inspected for conservation purposes without even having to open it a s the back of the case is in crystal. A circular barrier placed in front of the “monolith” that holds Mantegna’s work will direct the flow of visitors, allowing each one to enjoy a head-on view of the painting without having anyone standing on either side.

Goppion’s project was, as always, a discreet one aimed at highlighting the message those who created the installation intended to give.

The message of the Master was mainly empathetic, full of humanity and pain. An extreme pain made tangible by the large black wall that serves as a sort of theatrical wing for the Lamentation over the Dead Christ. It highlights it and incorporates it, almost as if the human consternation expressed in the painting when placed at “real height” becomes part of the cosmic, universal mourning process. But it’s also almost a message of hope that Ermanno Olmi’s deep religiousness brings to us, shaded in that gray atmosphere but with the light of dawn, which permeates Bellini’s painting. And it’s expressed in that light that even with all of its desperation, the painting of Mantegna uses to illuminate the black wall, a flickering prelude to universal redemption.

And we like to think that the inauguration of this room during the Christmas season at the beginning of what was the human history of Christ - the true protagonist of the two paintings on display - what stands out is the symbol of a painful yet necessary journey toward salvation.