Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who passed away in June, left behind an art collection that got the thumbs-down from famous Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, as reported by the BBC. Let’s dive into the surprising story of Berlusconi’s art stash, his extravagant buys, and the troubles it’s causing for his heirs.
Silvio Berlusconi Dodgy Investments
So, despite having a cool €6 billion, which is roughly $6.4 billion, Silvio Berlusconi choices when it came to art left folks scratching their heads. He splurged on loads of paintings and sculptures through late-night TV auctions. People were kinda shocked, mainly because the quality of the pieces was, well, pretty questionable.
Art Gone Wrong: A Ginormous Collection
Berlusconi racked up a whopping 25,000 pieces, including paintings of Madonnas, naked ladies, and European cityscapes. But Vittorio Sgarbi didn’t hold back – he basically said most of them were lousy, like, totally worthless. According to Sgarbi, only about six or seven pieces out of the whole shebang had any real artistic value.
Putting a Price on Worthlessness
This massive art collection, when you tally it up, is worth around €20 million, which is about $21.2 million. Break it down, and it’s like $847 for each painting. So, in simple terms, the financial return on this mega investment is pretty much a big disappointment.
Silvio Berlusconi Inheriting a Headache
After Berlusconi kicked the bucket, his heirs are stuck with this underwhelming art collection. The pieces are chilling in a warehouse that’s a whopping 34,400 square feet, close to his place in Milan. But here’s the kicker – maintaining this warehouse costs a pretty penny, like nearly $846,880 a year.
Uninvited Guests: Woodworms and Pesky Costs
To make matters worse, part of the collection is crawling with woodworms, messing up the art. And the cost of getting rid of these unwanted critters can sometimes be more than what the artwork’s worth. It’s a total no-win situation for the heirs, with no easy way out.
Hidden Gems in the Junk Pile
But hey, not everything’s a total disaster. Berlusconi had some high-quality pieces, including works by famous artists like Titian and Rembrandt, stashed at his main crib. Those valuable artworks give a glimmer of hope in a collection that’s otherwise kind of meh.
Impulse Buyer: The Guy Behind the Silvio Berlusconi Art
Cesare Lampronti, a London art dealer who was tight with Silvio Berlusconi for three whole decades, gives us the scoop. He says Berlusconi was a spur-of-the-moment shopper, and he totally knew most of what he bought wasn’t worth squat. Basically, the former Prime Minister was all about the thrill of the buy, not the actual value of the stuff.
So, Silvio Berlusconi art collection, which seemed like a testament to his wealth and style, turns out to be a pretty empty legacy. His heirs are stuck with this not-so-valuable treasure trove, along with the burden of pricey upkeep and damaged art. In all the chaos, there are a few hidden gems that might soften the blow. But the big takeaway here is that being loaded doesn’t always mean making smart investments, especially in the world of art.