Art is in the safe of the beholder

Sgarbi has finally resigned, though it’s probable he was pushed. It’s also probably that there has been a deal done and he will rear his ugly head in time for the European elections to add another salary to his already groaning wallet.

The evidence this time is a little convoluted, but well worth the hearing. We have 2 artworks, a mountain of lies and Sgarbi’s usual foul mouthed ranting.

Picture 1 – a picture by Manetti – a Sienese artist from the end of the 16th century. This painting appeared at an exhibition curated by Sgarbi, labelled as his property. It was found – according to Sgarbi in the attic of his mothers house in Lazio – a house which is completely derelict, and hasnt got, according to its ex owner, an attic. A ‘copy’ of this picture was stolen from a castle in the north of Italy a couple of year previous to the exhibition, and was stolen shortly after Sgarbi’s driver had asked the owner if she would like to sell it.

Sgarbi says they’re not the same pictures, because his has a flaming torch in one corner while the stolen one didnt. And here things get murky – because Sgarbi’s art restorer knows the painting very well, and it seems that the torch has been added rather recently and was not an original feature of the picture. Strangely the stolen version lacked a little piece of canvas when it was cut out of its frame – a feature which is replicated in the Sgarbi copy.

Sgarbi denies all wrongdoing. As he does with the second piece of art – a painting by a follower of Caravaggio, Valentin, which was recovered by police being exported illegally to end up at an auction in the Netherlands. Our humble art critic Sgarbi knows nothing – not that his companions company was involved in the ‘export’ nor that the picture was his. It belonged, according to Sgarbi, to a client of his (a collector of only modern art) who unfortunately died early last year, and had languished in Sgarbi’s deposit for years despite being worth 5 million or so. The client’s daughter has said this is all tosh, and her father wouldnt have touched the painting. The restorer says everyone knew it was Sgarbi’s personal property.

Police are investigating – but not apparently the fiscal evasion which is being glossed over. It seems that the technical reason why Sgarbi resigned was that his private work commitments were not compatible with the work of a junior culture minister. In other words, Sgarbi has a full time job going round talking at conferences, art jamborees, theatre etc, and getting paid for it – all in cash apparently via his girlfriends company – which at 4 or 5 grand a time soon adds up. It is stipulated he is paid in cash – something the Guardia di Finanza should be interested in.

So at the moment, Sgarbi is up for fiscal evasion, illegally exporting artwork and receiving stolen goods. WE’ll see how it ends, but I would guess he’ll claim immunity and get elected to a safe seat in Brussels. Crime pays in Italy.

In other news Salvini is up in arms because the RAI chartered a train to take all the head honcho’s and journalists to San Remo this week for the dire festival of Italian music. Apparently it was appalling that they did so, but not appalling for Minister Lollobrigida to use the train as his personal taxi and have a hi-speed train stop in the middle of nowhere because he had a meeting to go to.

The winner of San Remo was a ditty called ‘Boredom’ – Perhaps it will be the theme song for the entire event next year.

Author: rammers