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

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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

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