Once upon a time the Pontiffs, the Medicis, the d’Este, the early Italian banks were exquisite patrons of the arts.Italy alone owns more than the half of the artistic patrimony of the world and 70% of it was created thanks to the Catholic Church, that encouraged and financed the artists. Without the Church, Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo were buried in the oblivion as unknown masons, wall house painters or obscure artists.
Today, the patrons of the arts are the companies and the strongest among them are the banks (the most important corporate collection belongs to Deutsche Bank, with 57,000 pieces). They constitute art collection, they finance restorations of artworks and they commission art as well. They use art as an important tool for their image, and also to improve lives and to educate.
The eternal Italy has a tradition for it: early banks during the Italian Renaissance were considered to be patrons of the arts with substantial art collections amongst their assets. The independent cities of central and northern Italy with their politically and economically successful institutions such as banking, workshops and universities provided ideal conditions for the emergence of Humanism. Beginning in Italy the new thinking eventually spread to the rest of Europe. And with it, the arts.
Corporate collections represent a chapter by itself in the field of the patronage of the arts.
Rome hosts a new exhibition that pays tribute to this very special kind of patrons of the arts: the companies. It is called “Corporate Art”, it takes place to the GNAM (Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea). It shows artworks created through a collaboration between the artists and the companies. The works are part of the collections of the companies and a large majority are food manufacturers: Barilla, Lavazza, Martini, Coca Cola and so on.
If during the summer you travel to Italy and Rome, this show is worthy for a visit before October 11th.
GNAM – Viale delle Belle Arti, 131 – 00196 Rome, Italy
Ph. +39 06 322981