Sgarbi renounces Caravaggio loan: now you find the money for intervention and shrine

Ending with a loan waiver is the affair of 'The Burial of St. Lucy,' the Caravaggio work that Sgarbi wanted for the exhibition at the Mart in Rovereto.

The affair of the Seppellimento di santa Lucia, the Caravaggio painting that Vittorio Sgarbi would have liked to bring to the Mart in Rovereto, the museum of which he is president, for an exhibition in which the Lombard painter will be compared with Alberto Burri, ends with the renunciation of the loan. In Syracuse, where the work is kept, there has been strong resistance to letting the painting go (despite the fact that it is a work owned by the Ministry of the Interior and any denial is up to the latter, and despite the fact that the Mart had put on the table urgent conservation work and a burglar-proof, climate-controlled case that the painting needs to return to its original home, the church of Santa Lucia extra Moenia in the Borgata district: all for a total value of 350 thousand euros), and in recent days a collection of signatures had also started (in the text of which, however, no reference was made to the intervention and the reliquary offered by the Mart) to prevent the moving of the altarpiece to Trentino.

Now, Vittorio Sgarbi scornfully signs the appeal against him and declares that he renounces bringing the work to the Mart: “I renounce the loan and I also sign the appeal,” he commented. “We will do the exhibition at the Mart with another work by Caravaggio. But now I expect that in addition to financing the restoration (which has been waiting for 15 years) and for which the Mart, of which I am president, would have put 350,000 euros, they will also provide, with the urgency that the canvas’ condition imposes, for the construction of the shrine that will repair the work from the humidity of the place where it is now, the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, which is the main cause of its serious deterioration.”

Sgarbi, however, does not shy away from counterattacking the signatories of the appeal, starting with the most illustrious signature, that of Eva Cantarella: “she argues how a possible relocation of it could damage the work,” Sgarbi points out, “while it is now established that the damage is caused by the humidity of the place that houses it and not by travel. He signed an appeal that contains premises that are glaringly false. And it is proof that he signed it without reading it. But there is a paradox: by expressing his opposition to the transfer to the Mart, and therefore to the prospect of the restoration and especially of the construction of the shrine, he condemns it, in fact, to further damage.”

Finally, Sgarbi concludes with a prediction: “do you want to see that these in ten years will have done nothing and we will find ourselves still talking about the restoration and the display case?” Indeed, the painting is in suboptimal condition and, in order to return to the place for which Caravaggio painted it, that is, the church of Santa Lucia extra Moenia, it needs a burglar-proof shrine (the work is now in an unsuitable location, the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia in the center, where it is leaning against a sixteenth-century altarpiece by Deodato Guinaccia).

The noted art critic then further explicated his reasons in a video, where he states that “Syracuse has lost a simple possibility of a man who loves Sicily, who has been a councillor for culture, and who remembered his function by finding a solution with funding from the province of Trento. That funding was there, it is there, but I can give it to any other city to have a Caravaggio and exhibit it in Rovereto. If Syracuse has to argue, keep its ridiculous, fake victory.” About the whole affair, we covered in an editorial by Federico Giannini.

Sgarbi renounces Caravaggio loan: now you find the money for intervention and shrine
Sgarbi renounces Caravaggio loan: now you find the money for intervention and shrine

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