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Silvio Berlusconi’s Worthless Art Collection

 

Berlusconi during a Forza Italia rally in 1994. Via Wikipedia

Silvio Berlusconi’s Art Collection does not have significant artistic value. Overall, the leading Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi described it as such. The former Italian prime minister’s collection features sculptures and photographs of Berlusconi himself, among paintings of ladies in their knickers. Through time, he acquired around 25,000 artworks and spent around €20m on them.

Silvio Berlusconi’s Art Acquired Through TV Auctions

Silvio Berlusconi, the late prime minister of Italy, pictured in 2022. Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Berlusconi passed away earlier this year, in June. He had a net worth of €6 billion (about $6.4 billion). Also, many of the collected pieces he purchased through TV auctions.
although his heirs are left with a large fortune, a dilemma seems to arise over the division of his art collection. The question is: what to do with the “mostly useless collection”? They have Inadequate craftsmanship and little to no worth.

The inventory was kept in a warehouse close to his home in Milan, the location of his well-known “bunga bunga” gatherings. The annual maintenance expenditures of the warehouse are allegedly close to $846,000. Berlusconi’s close companion and art expert Vittorio Sgarbi described the politician’s gathering as “monstrously entertaining”.

Rome skyline. Via Wikipedia

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Sgarbi believes that just six or seven of the bunch have any artistic merit. The projected total worth of the collection constists of €20 million, or nearly $21.2 million. Each picture costs around €800, or about $847. Sgarbi also said Berlusconi had a serious need to purchase artwork from TV auctions in 2018. It was a result of “sleepless nights”.

“He knew what he was buying was worthless”

Berlusconi in his private jet aircraft in the 1980s. Via Wikipedia.

Additionally, woodworms weakened a section of the assemblage. There are situations where the expense of eradication will surpass the painting’s worth. When Berlusconi would call in to bid, Sgarbi said, the auctioneers on TV would not believe it was him.”He would start saying ‘I am Berlusconi’ and they would hang up the phone thinking it was a joke”. Lucas Vianini was among the first specialists to get a call from Berlusconi during a late-night TV sale.

He also became the billionaire’s chief curator. He claimed that in 2018, he got a call from Berlusconi for the first time. “It was in 2018 when the telephone operator told me Berlusconi had called”, Vianini said. Vianini was later invited to Villa San Martino. “The first thing I saw was Dudu [a dog], and then Berlusconi appeared”, he said. Even though there were mostly worthless paintings, he also possessed a few with a higher quality.

Berlusconi singing on a cruise ship in the 1960s

There were paintings from the Dutch master Rembrandt and the Renaissance painter Titian displayed at his main home. Berlusconi was an impetuous consumer, according to London-based art dealer Cesare Lampronti, who collaborated with him intimately for thirty years. “He knew what he was buying was worthless,” Lampronti said.

By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.



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