Botticelli Antichità

Botticelli Antichità, Florence. Courtesy Botticelli Antichità, Florence

From our father and mother, my sister Eleonora and I inherited the Botticelli art gallery founded in Florence in 1959. Being second-generation art dealers has allowed us to make decisive and often counter-trend choices.

Botticelli Antichità
Botticelli Antichità, Florence. Courtesy Botticelli Antichità, Florence

The gallerist dealing in Old Masters art has the special privilege of spending his time traveling with his mind through the ages, the lives and the works of artists of the past. Our work allows us to have continuous contact with scholars and colleagues who are passionate, like us, about our field of study. We care for, manage, buy and sell wonderful works of art, but above all, we love them. Our main goal is to create a bridge between our friends/collectors and the works of art suitable for their collections. We mainly deal in sculpture from between the Middle Ages and the Baroque period, with digressions dictated by our hearts. Our only location is in Florence, in Via Maggio, open by appointment only. We have participated in the Florence Biennale from its very first editions, as well as TEFAF Maastricht and Frieze Masters in London.

Botticelli Antichità
Botticelli Antichità, Florence. Courtesy Botticelli Antichità, Florence
“In my field, Italian antiquarians have always stood out for their boldness and, if you will, unconventionality.”

In conversation with Bruno Botticelli, Botticelli Antichità

Is there a way of being a gallerist in Italy that differs from other countries? Is there a specifically Italian approach to your work? What characterises the Italian art scene?

Yes, there is. “Italian” means being able to take a path of your own without relying on groups or associations. The best and worst of Italians coincide. In my field, Italian antiquarians have always stood out for their boldness and, if you will, unconventionality. From South America to Switzerland, if an opportunity pops up, turn a corner and you’ll bump into one of us!

What is the value for contemporary society of art on display in galleries? What is the role of the gallerist in Italy today?

Abrupt turns of events and the formidable speed with which society changes today are creating a feeling of detachment from history and a form of cognitive and cultural statelessness among the younger generations. I believe that the gallerist needs to play the role that the Greek bards, who we call Homer, played in their time. Our message needs to be awareness that everything is contemporaneous and that time goes in multiple directions.

Botticelli Antichità, Florence. Courtesy Botticelli Antichità
What is your background?

Family of antiquarians. An opera singer, painter, teacher and, finally, or at the beginning, antiquarian father. Art school for secondary school, part of university in Florence, art history, the 1980s, the new galleries, theatre, new music, no bars to experience. The New York of Basquiat and the old Jewish antiquarians who escaped central Europe in the 1930s. The Florence where fishmongers gave lessons in literature and life.

How did your path in art begin?

Art school in Florence and direct experience were the beginnings of what I am today. Even though I was born into a family of antiquarians, without direct experience of artistic effort my path would have been a dead-end. Associating with art professionals from a very young age gave me special awareness of the artistic gesture. Then as today, my emotions know no epochal barriers.

Bruno and Eleonora Botticelli. Courtesy Botticelli Antichità
How do you build your relationships with young collectors? And how do you keep the ones with regular clients fresh?

Sharing the emotions and breaking the bread of art together is the only way I can conceive of the relationship with collectors. Just as emotions do not recognise the barriers of age or time, the relationship, in a “reciprocity of feelings of affection”, emerges and is maintained by sharing the experience of the work of art. The shared experience of viewing and discovering becomes the intermediary for the contemporaneous growth of the gallerist and the collector.

Read the full interview


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