The first statue of a woman (out of 121) opens in Milan: eulogy to the courage of Cristina Trivulzio of Belgiojoso
Finally the city of Milan has a statue celebrating a woman. “Finally” is a proper adverb given that among 121 statues in the city dedicated to characters who have acted to make our story better, all 121 men, the one dedicated to Cristina Trivulzio of Belgioioso, heroine of the Risorgimento, exceptional and multifaceted character, courageous and free, is the first dedicated to a woman.
The unveiling of the statue – happened on the evening of Wednesday 15 September 2021 in the presence of mayor Giuseppe Sala in the wonderful piazzetta Belgioioso, thanks to the idea ofCreative Cultural Enterprise Le Dimore del Quartetto and the project promoted by Brivio Sforza Foundation, with the support of Cooperative Credit Bank of Milan, the contribution of the municipality of Milan and with the patronage of Lombardy region and thanks to the hand of the sculptor Giuseppe Bergomi – therefore takes on an even more important value.
The statue will be the first step to build an increasingly inclusive city based on gender equality, capable of recovering the memory of the great women who made history, forgotten – often deliberately – by the historiography of a “male story”.
“This statue is more than a commemoration, it is a starting point” – he said Francesca Moncada from Paternò, President of Dimore del Quartetto – «Many people have asked me why Cristina Trivulzio was chosen and not other women. I answer: why not all of them? We must give back to the people who have done extraordinary things their value before society, precisely to present them to the next generation and allow the girls and boys who pass through the streets to ask themselves who these people are and what they have done “.
Cristina Trivulzio of Belgiojoso was an exceptional and daring woman. Married at 16, she separated at 20 and lived as a single woman. Patriot, he married the ideas of the Risorgimento keeping relations with the great figures of the time, from Mazzini to Cavour to Carlo Alberto. She was exiled losing all wealth and in Paris she organized an intellectual salon. Back in Milan in the old family fiefdom in Locate, she is a reformed entrepreneur, organizing an agricultural school, kindergarten and school for the children of peasants (with a nursing room too) and organizing health care. It is with regard to this initiative of his that Alessandro Manzoni he commented with words that remained lapidary, which sounded more or less like this: “If the farmers learn to read and write, those who cultivate will keep it“. Cristina participated in the uprisings of 1848 and 1849 in Milan and Rome, where she organized a medical aid that anticipated the birth of the ambulance service. He went to Malta, Athens, Cappadocia. Here she founded an agricultural enterprise and lived with her daughter in Paris, whom she wanted to baptize in Jerusalem where I arrived on horseback in 1852. She was a traveler, writer, journalist.
“Cristina’s most extraordinary feature – says Francesca Moncada – is the courage to be free. She did everything in pursuit of a thought, even when they took all her capital away from her and found herself in Paris with nothing, she went on, almost feeling even more free to continue her journey, as she no longer even belonged to a social class to keep it harnessed ».
She died in Italy, where she had returned, exactly 150 years ago. At his funeral he did not expect any of the characters of the Risorgimento. Her original and free character had raised gossip and criticism, but she never cared too much about it. She said: “This is how the world treats women whose character has not been erased by the education received, while men, on the contrary, originality is considered a merit».
Although his most famous quote will be the one we read on the pedestal of the statue, words that speak to every woman, from now on: “May the happy and esteemed women of the future turn their thoughts to the pain and humiliation of those who preceded them and remember with a little gratitude the names of those who have opened and prepared the way for their never tasted before and perhaps longed for happiness”, he wrote.
The statue is therefore a hymn to the future that led a group of women at the top of Milanese culture to come together to try to change the way we see society. Tells Paola Dubini, teacher at Bocconi and President of the Foundation CRT/ Teatro dell’Arte: «I think it is important that all cultural institutions take on the issue of gender as their own theme and that they tackle it together with the younger generations, as Cristina taught us. This is why we are implementing the project of a group of cultural associations led by women who are committed to developing a common schedule dedicated to adolescents and aimed at addressing, with different artistic and cultural languages, the theme of what it means to build true equality between people».
The statue of Christina is therefore much more than a simple commemorative statue. It is a symbol and a stake behind which one can no longer retreat. For this it was important that he had a “totemic presence”, as he has told the sculptor Giuseppe Bergomi: “In my work I let myself be guided by this idea of a combative woman who paid herself for her choices, and so determined that she was ready to go to the extreme. With this intention I tried to make a sculpture, not a statue, that is, I left aside the celebratory element e I tried to create a work of great plasticity, so autonomous as to remain in the collective imagination ». The statue definitely has this extraordinary communicative ability, beautiful in form and spirit, in that restless move that seems to see her almost about to get up, even though she is busy with books and writing. Her gaze peers into the distance, but, Francesca Moncada tells us, her left shoulder is turned a little with respect to the entrance to the Manzoni house, in Piazza Belgioioso, as if to remember the past refusal.