Menabrea Biella

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We’re said to have more masterpieces per square mile than any other country.

While some of these are famous classics by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo, these 15th century masters are only part of our cultural story.

We may not be as well known for our modern art, but there’s much of it to see. From the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Turin to the street art of Milan, contemporary art is alive and well in Italy.

Like any major city, Milan has its fair share of graffiti. But it also has more than its fair share of great street art - you can’t walk for more than a few blocks without passing a mural or urban masterpiece. We even have our own Banksy in the form of anonymous street artist, Blu.

Our sub-culture turned pop-culture trend doesn’t stop there. Milan hosts one of Europe’s best tattoo conventions, ranking it among top international tattoo destinations like London and New York.

You’ll often hear Italians’ saying “Ars longa, vita brevis”, which literally means “art is long, life is short”.

Some art commentators have expressed a need for more support for our contemporary artists, but that’s not to say that none exists already.

In fact, this even stretches beyond the boundaries of the art world. Each year, the Menabrea brewery runs a competition giving up-and-coming artists the chance to create a label for a limited-edition run of the beer.

The winners – from ‘The Perfect Self-Portrait in the Age of the Self (ie)-Portrait’ to ‘Instructions for Use in Eight Moves’ - prove there’s still much to be excited about when it comes to our creative industries.

Who knows, in 500 years, people might even travel from far and wide to see the work of the Menabrea Masters!

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