The body of Milan in Gabriele Basilico and Michelangelo Antonioni

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Gabriele Basilico and Michelangelo Antonioni shared an interest in urban landscape and each developed a distinct aesthetics inspired by this constant dialogue with architecture and urban spatial forms. Antonioni’s ability to take advantage of different geometrical lines of the city to create a montage inside the shot, or to use urban buildings as optical devices for framing things and people, led him to transform the human body into a mechanical tool able to penetrate the sublime beauty of the modern. Gabriele Basilico, on the other hand, revealed cities as sites of tension generated by the global process of political, economic, and social reorganisation. His dialectical explorations between centre and periphery, new and old, and human and non-human, translate the urban landscape into images of emptiness and absence. This article will compare Basilico’s approach to Milan, as conveyed in his Milano. Ritratti di fabbriche (1980), with Antonioni’s portrait of the same city in La Notte (1961) and demonstrate that while Basilico anthropomorphised Milan, Antonioni made it emerge as a non-human entity, cold and beautiful in its own way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1084-1095
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Architecture
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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