Antonello da Messina: a change in perspective


Imagine you’ve just arrived in Milan, and you’re trying to decide what to do and see first.  Allow me to help you. The new exhibition in Palazzo Reale of works by  Antonello da Messina is in  the perfect location for you to visit once you’ve seen the famous piazza Duomo.

Let me introduce the artist first. As his name suggests, he was born in Messina (Sicily) in 1430, at a time when  Messina  was a very busy route for Mediterranean commerce. This helped Antonello to get in touch with different kinds of art and people. He was one of the most important painters of the 15th century. His works and skills were able to influence even painters of the Venetian Renaissance.

When you enter  the exhibition, you are greeted by a sign on  a red wall saying “dentro la pittura del maestro del Quattrocento italiano.” Translated, this means you are “inside the painting of the master of the Italian 1400s.”  From the moment you enter,  and you start admiring those magnificent works of art, you get completely stunned.

Antonello da Messina’s portaits of human beings  are so realistic. They give you the impression that you are staring at a physical person.   They are capable of  transferring the emotions and the thoughts of the subject directly to the viewer.  Giving you the wish, the desire to talk with them.

Continuing the tour of  his artistic life, you will find a lot of Christian religious drawings representing the Virgin, angels and Christ during biblical events. One of the most important is “Annunciata di Palermo,” which is conserved at the  palazzo Abatellis in Palermo. It describes the Virgin’s reaction to the annunciation of the Angel telling her she will be the mother of Jesus.

You can’t leave before you have admired “San Girolamo nello Studio” one of the masterpieces of the European Renaissance. It is in the National Gallery in London. The great skills of the painter are clear in this work. He was so capable of playing with  colours and shades, giving  the painting a great harmony and deepness thanks to his knowledge of perspective. He truly cared about details, even the smallest ones, like the books on the shelves, the peacock or the lion hidden in the shadows. The saint, as represented by Antonello, is truly  focused on humanistic studies. Antonello had a great taste for the interior rooms.

So, what are you waiting for? Come and get to know one of the most fascinating artists ever. I am sure you won’t regret it.

Cristiano Amato

Welcome to Tequila

Many people may not know that Tequila, the famous spirit, is named after the place where it was originally produced. Tequila is a small “magical” Mexican village in the region of Jalisco where most of the producers have set up their own haciendas.  

Brands offer tours inside their buildings so that visitors can get to know their story and to demonstrate how the spirit is produced. They offer a detailed explanation of how the tequila is made, and of course giving the opportunity to taste it as well. Customers have the chance to try the pure Tequila that is about 50% proof, which cannot be sold legally because it exceeds the 38/40-degree limit.

When you visit Tequila, don’t miss the chance to try another tasty drink that is not a Margherita. Its name is Cantarito, it is a made of tequila, orange juice, ruby grapefruit juice, squeezed lime juice, salt and pink grapefruit soda often served as a disposable take away container made of ceramic.

Would you like to have the experience of travelling through an amazing landscape of agave fields, or visiting a tequila distillery? Well, you can travel on board the Tequila Express. It’s a regional train service operating from Guadalajara to Tequila that began in 1997. It gets its name from the tequila tasting during the journey, and Mariachis (Mexican traditional musicians) show up on board to play their music allowing travellers to be immersed in the Mexican culture.

Tequila did not start out as a luxury drink. The spirit comes from a plant called blue agave (the same plant that gives us another spirit called Mezcal). Basically, producers take the “Piña”, that is the body of the plant, and burn it.

It was first discovered by the Spanish conquistadores, who used it as a replacement to drink since they ran out of brandy. That’s why they successfully tried to get a new spirit from the agave plant. So, we should thank them for this precious gift they kindly provided us.

Among the best tequila brands, we have Don Julio and Josè Cuervo, that was the first one to receive the license to produce Tequila in 1795. They collaborate frequently with local Mexican artists to produce particular and extravagant labels and packaging. This particular collaboration makes their products rare and particularly suitable for collections.   

Tequila is now turning into a luxury drink. LVMH, famous world leader in high quality products, has added a a tequila brand to its collection. It is called Volcan de mi tierra, and It is produced in the Tequila area in Jalisco. They use two different kind of blue agave and it is burnt into a stone oven.

So, what are you waiting for? If you want to have an amazing experience, surrounded and enchanted by beautiful blue flowers, while tasting one of the most paradisiacal drinks ever. Tequila is the perfect place for you.

Cristiano Amato

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