Maria Mulas showed the face of the Milanese, Italian and international artistic and cultural world like no other.

In those years, Milan was establishing itself as the capital of design, fashion, publishing and more. A universe of native or adopted talent revolved around this hub, arriving from all over Italy and the world.

Maria, who arrived in her early twenties in 1956 from her native Manerba del Garda in the wake of her brother, captures them in the right places and at the right times and gives us a freshness and intensity that is unparalleled, worthy heir to her older brother Ugo who died prematurely in 1973. For Maria, the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties were a whirlwind of encounters, Venetian and Kassel Biennales, exhibitions and openings, literary presentations, parties and reportages around the world. 

However, her privileged place of observation was always Milan, which welcomes and integrates the various regional and foreign backgrounds like a magnet, and is in those years an extraordinary workshop of creativity and modernity that she then retransmits to Italy and the world.

Hundreds and hundreds have been captured by her lens: artists, gallery owners, critics, designers, archit ects, writers, publishers, journalists, fashion designers, directors, actors, intellectuals, entrepreneurs and friends. A detailed list shows no less than 539 of them, from Claudio Abbado's 'A' to Franco Zeffirelli's 'Z'. About a hundred artworks of them are on display, coming from a long exhibition at the Slovak National Museum promoted by the Italian Cultural Institute in Bratislava and the result of a selection process documenting the photographer's close relationship with Milan and its protagonists in the thirty years that concluded the 20th century.

It is no wonder that the Municipality of Milan dedicated a major exhibition to her in 1998 at the Palazzo Reale, consecrating her as 'the eye of Milan'. Now, Palazzo Reale is celebrating her once again as the photographer who, although secluded from the gallery and art market circuit, captured the deep, true soul of Milan; unposed, dynamic, at work, the city of arts and professions, as well as the most advanced level of entrepreneurship.

To facilitate the visitor's journey, the exhibition is divided into six sections: Architecture and Design, Art, Literature and Publishing, Fashion, Performing Arts, Cosmopolitan Milan and Maria in the World. 

But from her formidable archive emerges a highly representative sequence of personalities who embody a great deal of Italian culture and made in Italy. Some names: Giorgio Armani, Gae Aulenti, Joseph Beuys, Giorgio Bocca, Roberto Calasso, Gillo Dorfles, Umberto Eco, Inge Feltrinelli, Dario Fo, Carla Fracci, Allen Ginsberg, Krizia, Vico Magistretti, Enzo Mari, Marcello Mastroianni, Ottavio Missoni, Bruno Munari, Fernanda Pivano, Gio Ponti, Miuccia Prada, Ettore Sottsass, Giorgio Strehler, Ornella Vanoni, Lea Vergine, Luigi Veronesi, Gianni Versace and Andy Warhol.

However, the exhibition is not merely an enjoyable gallery of interesting portraits taken by a fine photographer. It is much more than that. At the end of the tour, one realises how the portrait that predominates over all is that of Milan, the true protagonist of an unrepeatable era.

The exhibition project is signed by Leo Guerra and Giovanni Renzi, who have skilfully linked the sumptuously furnished rooms with the photographs on display, using Achille and Piergiacomo Castiglioni's Toio series in Flos production for the light design.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Umberto Allemandi, with writings by Andrea Tomasetig, Paolo Fallai, Stefano Salis and Patrizia Zappa Mulas.

Opening Times

closed on monday
thuesday - sunday 10.00 - 19.30
thursday 10.00 - 22.30
last entrance 30 minutes before closing time


Free admission

Info and Booking

Guided tours are made in cooperation with Milanoguida.
Mandatory reservation on