Fendi for Fountains: such is the name of the initiative promoted by Fendi, the notorious fashion design company that financed the two-million-Euro restoration of the Trevi fountain in Rome. A few weeks ago the work, which started in 2013, was completed. Water is flowing once again out of the monument symbol of the Dolce Vita, now brightened up with some led lights. At the inauguration Fendi announced the decision to contribute to the restoration of four other fountains of Rome: the Gianicolo fountain, the fountain of Moses, Ninfeo del Pincio and Peschiera fountain. “Fendi’s act of love to Rome”, as called by CEO Pietro Beccari, “it is our duty to pay homage to the city that Fendi’s creativity owes so much to”, Silvia Venturini Fendi added.
The scaffolding with clear glasses allowed people to see what was being done in the process of renovation, turning it into a “restoration live show”, where the fountain was visible from a new and unusual perspective. A website and an app were created to allow all visitors to take a selfie with the background of the restoration work and get a printed copy.
But that’s not all: photographer Karl Lagerfeld took pictures of the most beautiful fountains of Rome for an exclusive project by Fendi called The Glory of Water, including the restoration of the very first fashion film “Histoire d’Eau”, directed by Jacques de Bascher in 1977.
Before Fendi, Diego Della Valle, owner of Tod’s, made the headlines financing the 25-million-Euro restoration work of the Colosseum. “Restoring a monument of such great importance, a symbol of Italy before the whole world, through the synergy between public and private, is an example to follow by many others, starting from the big Italian companies”, claimed Diego Della Valle.
Not least, Bulgari has recently promoted the restyling – still ongoing – of the Spanish steps in Rome, donating a half million Euros.
The Capital is not the only city affected by this positive trend: Pitti Immagine financed the restoration of the painting “Davide con la Testa di Golia”, by Carlo Dolci, the most recognized Florence painter of the 17th century, within the project Finance for Fine Arts, which includes 10 masterpieces and 21 frescoes of the Pinacoteca di Brera. “The art gallery of Brera” said Gaetano Marzotto, president of Pitti Immagine, “includes some of the most important pieces of Europe: we are pleased to be part of such an honorable project”. Original Marines, the sportswear brand from Campania, sponsored through the project “Monumentando Napoli” the restoration of the historical Fontana della Maruzza, in via Marina in Naples, in the garden of Santa Maria di Portosalvo church, which is regarded as a symbol of the Neapolitan culture. “We are excited to be part of this project” commented Domenico Romano, marketing director of the company, “which allows us to enhance the value of the historical and artistic heritage of this area. Original Marines has always supported creativity and Naples is without a doubt one of most artistic cities, representing the potentials of human creativity”.
Now, this may be done for publicity, for tax deductions or true and deep love for art… regardless, Italian designers are more and more involved in the artistic heritage of our Country. Patronage is an all Italian phenomenon, back in the Renaissance lords and Popes were the protectors of artists, now in the 21st century this charge is taken on by fashion design brands.
After all, Italy ranks highest in the UNESCO list of countries with the most cultural and historical sites, though the maintenance of such sites doesn’t seem to rank high in the State’s priority list.
In Anglo-saxon countries patronage is much more widespread and for the past century has been one of the main finance sources of cultural activities. Several sponsor pitching in to do what the “protector of arts” used to do in the past: that’s why it’s now rare to hear about a single company, such as a fashion design company, financing the restoration of works of art.
In the US patronage by collectors is a widespread form of financing artwork by rich entrepreneurs. Between Boston and Philadelphia there are countless private foundations, whose exhibits attract numerous art experts as well as tourists, such as the Barnes Foundation of Philadelphia, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Getty Foundation of Los Angeles has become popular for the project “Keeping it Modern”, aiming to restore 14 architectural masterpieces throughout the world, helping the development of new specialized professionals for the preservation of 20th century architecture.
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