BORGHESE To Rome with love
The Eternal City holds a special place in Fendi’s heart. The House’s public display of affection has resurrected decrepit fountains and now, pushed Italian art to the forefront, says Jacquie Ang
Romance isn’t dead. On the runways and off, Fendi’s love for Rome knows no bounds, culminating in Italy’s first exhibition dedicated exclusively to Pablo Picasso’s sculptures. Little is known of his relationship with this discipline, with the Spanish artist insisting on protecting this essential part of his work by keeping it secret. Sculptures from his studios spanning his entire career – a testimony of consistent practice – have never been on public display. Currently on show till February 3, 2019, Picasso. La Scultura (or Picasso:
the Sculpture) is the third exhibition in the luxury fashion house’s three-year partnership with Galleria Borghese, which started in September 2017, when it pledged its support for exhibitions in the gallery, as well as around the world, that showcase Italian excellence in the art world.
Fendi’s advocacy for Italy’s art and culture can be traced back to founders Adele and Edoardo Fendi, who established the House in 1925. In recent years, it has taken its commitment to the next level by funding restoration and preservation efforts for crumbling Roman fountains with its Fendi For Fountains philanthropic project, starting with the famous Trevi Fountain.
A symbol of glorious excess, the majestic 18th-century Baroque monument in the heart of Rome gained its icon status when it was immortalised in Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita, where Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg’s romp in its waters made it a cinematic
moment to remember. Fendi unveiled the restored Trevi Fountain in November 2015 after 17 months of renovation by a team of 26 restorers.
That same year, it reinforced its Roman roots by moving its headquarters to one of Rome’s most evocative expressions of 20th-century neoclassical architecture: the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. To mark the occasion, Fendi opened the first floor to the public more than 70 years after the building’s inception, and has been hosting exhibitions and installations there since. Just last year, it presented
Matrice, a contemporary art exhibition by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone that featured a selection of 15 artworks, many of which were rarely seen and were shown in Italy for the first time.
Fendi’s latest focus on art casts the spotlight on Galleria Borghese, hailed as the only art museum in Rome that reflects and reproduces the most exclusive of the city’s artistic qualities. “We’re proud to support Galleria Borghese, which is one of the most important and prestigious museums in the world,” states Pietro Beccari, Chairman and CEO of Fendi. “It’s increasingly a fundamental value, and a moral one, for Fendi to [enhance and support Italian art and beauty, its excellence and talents, and export it to the world].”
Fendi’s three-year partnership with the museum kicked off with a project on Italian Baroque painter Caravaggio, distinguished for his dramatic use of light and shadow. This was followed by Bernini, an exhibition that showcased 80 works by Italian sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini, credited for creating and developing the Baroque style of sculpture.
Conceived by Galleria Borghese Director Anna Coliva, who co-curated it with French art historian and Picasso’s granddaughter Diana WidmaierPicasso, the current exhibition on the art innovator’s sculptural work showcases 56 masterpieces executed between 1902 and 1961, unpublished studio photographs, and videos revealing contexts in which the sculptures were created.
Picasso’s trip to Rome and Naples with Jean Cocteau and Igor Stravinsky in 1917 introduced him to the sculptures of ancient Rome, the art of the Renaissance and the mural paintings in Pompeii. He also visited Galleria Borghese, where he studied Bernini’s sculptures, and in that journey around Italy, he found Caravaggio as the master of staging.
Such a remarkable stroke of serendipity, as this exhibition adds the next link in the connection Picasso shared with Caravaggio and Bernini, whose exhibitions preceded his at Galleria Borghese.
The Picasso. La Scultura exhibition at Gallerie Borghese showcases 56 of Picasso’s sculptures (such as the bronze one on the left), which are displayed among masterpieces by other sculptors.
Pictured: Picasso’s Woman with Child (1961) Below: Pietro Beccari, Silvia Venturini Fendi and Anna Coliva