In a hidden corner of “Roman Milan”, as you walk in search of what remains of ancient amphitheaters and thermal baths, you may come across the small church of San Sisto and find here a great Italian sculptor of the 20th century, Francesco Messina.
The church, whose presence dates back to the late Middle Ages, is today a beautiful example of Baroque style. In the 16th century, it was in fact the same Cardinal Federico Borromeo who had wanted to have it re-established and had entrusted the project to one of the most popular architects of that time (Richini or Tibaldi).
But it current “role” is because of Messina, who in 1969 asked the City of Milan if he could turn it into his own studio. The church, which had suffered heavy damage during the two world wars, was restored with Messina’s help. He had promised that in exchange for the use of this extraordinary location, he would give a significant portion of his works to the same city.
The artist’s museum-studio was inaugurated in 1974 and is now home to more than a hundred of his works including sculptures (eighty bronzes, waxes, terracotta, …) and graphic pieces (lithographs, pastels, …). Today a part of the Messina collection has spread to the adjacent, former parish house and the space of the museum has begun to “converse” with works by contemporary artists.
Francesco Messina, Sicilian-born yet Milanese by adoption, is considered one of the greatest exponents of figurative sculpture of the 20th century. He was director of the Accademia di Brera and his works are now present in many symbolic locations in large cities like Rome, Milan and Paris as well as smaller cities like Pavia and La Spezia to name a few. Numerous are the personal exhibits shown and his work has been included in some of the most important collective exhibitions of Italian art abroad.
Studio Museo Francesco Messina
Via San Sisto 4/A
from Tuesday to Friday, free entrance
10:00am – 2:00pm
2:00pm – 6:00pm