Galleria Borghese

MILAN Fendi is once again investing in the promotion of the arts with a three-year partnership with the Rome-based art museum Galleria Borghese.

As part of the agreement, the two are creating the Caravaggio Research Institute, which entails a series of exhibitions on the Italian 16th-century painter, expected to travel around the world. The first will be staged at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Starting Nov. 21, the museum will host for the first time three works from Caravaggio coming from the Galleria Borghese, which houses the artist’s most famous paintings: “David With the Head of Goliath,” “Saint Jerome” and “Boy With a Basket of Fruit.”


Caravaggio’s “Boy With a Basket of Fruit.” 

The exhibitions are slated to travel to the Far East, too.

Fendi will also support the exhibitions taking place at the Galleria Borghese over the next three years.

“This is a very interesting project for Italy and Rome and for Fendi to bring the beauty of the Italian capital and of Caravaggio around the world,” Pietro Beccari, chairman and chief executive officer of the brand, told WWD. Beccari has spearheaded several initiatives to reinforce the relationship between Fendi and the city of Rome, where it is headquartered, ranging from the restoration of the Trevi Fountain to the donation to the city of an art work by Giuseppe Penone in front of the brand’s Roman flagship.

The Caravaggio Research Institute was conceived by Anna Coliva, director of the Galleria Borghese, and Beccari said the partnership stemmed from his longtime acquaintance with Coliva and their “communion of intent.”

The Caravaggio center of studies, diagnostics and artistic-historical research will be based at Galleria Borghese and aims to become a primary point of reference for research about the artist worldwide. This will be helped by the creation of a digital platform that will represent the most complete database of all data about the artist, for bibliographic, documentary, archival, philological, historiographical, iconographic information and updates, as well as diagnostic documentation in digital form.

“Caravaggio was very modern and an innovator,” Beccari said. “These are values shared with Fendi.”

The executive said he first visited Villa Borghese when he was 15 during a school trip, which left a mark. Today, “it’s a brief walk away from my home, and my family and I are in love with the location, the works it houses and its park.” Beccari remarked on the quality of the works and the modernity of Villa Borghese, which, for example, held the biggest exhibition on 20th-century sculptor Alberto Giacometti in 2014 or the “Couture/Sculpture: Azzedine Alaïa in the History of Fashion” exhibition in 2015.

As part of the new partnership, Fendi will support a solo exhibition at the museum dedicated to Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, which will be inaugurated on Oct. 31 and run Nov. 1 to Feb. 4. The exhibition will show pieces on loan from museums including the Louvre, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art  and LACMA in Los Angeles.

Beccari said Fendi will stage another exhibit at its headquarters, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana the company has restored, from the end of October. This follows Penone’s “Matrice” show there.

“It is increasingly a fundamental value, as well as a moral one, for Fendi to enhance, support and export Italian art and beauty in the world, its excellence and its talents,” the ceo said.

“The Caravaggio Research Institute is an ambitious project that wants to reintroduce within museums the most advanced research to make them producers of culture and not blockbuster exhibitions,” Coliva said.

On a different note, asked about the rumors circulating about his possible move from Fendi to Christian Dior, Beccari said he does not comment on rumors but he denied the speculation, noting he was aligning with the denial of parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

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