n exceptional location – the Prince’s Apartment - and three centuries of tablescapes put on display in a theatrical way, to say the least. Overseen by the editor-in-chief of Marie Claire Maison Italia Cinzia Felicetti and supported by HOMI Milano in collaboration with the municipality of Milan, the exhibition Conviviando – L’arte della tavola tra passato e futuro (lit. Conviviando. The art of the table from past to future) is at the Palazzo Reale in Milan from the 25th January to the 15th February 2018.
So, we are all invited to dinner, to experience three centuries of history put on display in an extraordinary exhibition that revolves around the historical moments that the art of entertaining has in some ways outlined and represented.
In an evocative and lavish court-like setting, the exhibition tells the story of the art of table setting and explains the meaning of the objects that past and present have brought to life (and still continue to bring to life) our tables.
Ten rooms that draw from an equal number of tablescapes, “stolen” from the sets of 10 cult films: Coco Chanel welcomes us at the entrance, who, before making an exit, under Jan Kounen’s watchful eye, toasts with her impeccable elegance (in the next room) to an opulent feast laid for the Sun King, decorated with vegetables and precious metals.
There is a short space of time from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century and this time round it’s Marie Antoniette to preside over a table laid with typical pastel shades and fine china in true Rococo style. The journey through time continues and after a déjeuner sur l'herbe rewritten according to Jane Austin’s codes, a white gazebo projects us onto the set of Death in Venice, with a total white tablescape inspired by the Venice Lido.
From aristocratic opulence to aesthetic sensuality, the French-style table gives way to a "Russian-style" banquet and over time iconic objects, reinterpreted according to the most up-to-date tastes and stylistic figures, draw new silhouettes, venture out more decisive combinations and colours and play with symbolisms.
Moving on from a Victorian colour palette to the rigour of Art Deco to the eclecticism of the Sixties, you arrive to the future: the new menu has hypothetical freeze-dried food and pills, in an extreme stylisation - and perhaps a little shocking - that aims to be provocative.
The exhibition is free of charge and open to all: reflect on the evolution of one of the oldest expressions of art and sociality that is still a reflection of our habits.
Where: Palazzo Reale, Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy
When: 25 January - 15 February 2018