The birth of the Collection

It is with the greatest satisfaction that I unveil this project and open this new exhibition space. Being able to present my collection to the public is the highlight of a long career, and illustrates the dedication to art that has always been an essential part of my life. The project retraces my long journey as a collector that began when I was very young. Over the years I have fallen in love with artworks and selected them to form what is now the heart of my collection. The entire body of paintings and sculptures on show ranges from the very early years of the twentieth century through to the present day, encompassing both Italian and international art. The entire collection will be shown to the public over two successive exhibitions. The first consists of works from the early twentieth century through to the 1960s, while the second exhibition will start from the 1960s and reach through to the present day. This complex visual panorama is the outcome of meticulous research that I have carried out throughout my life, and illustrates my love of art, which has always inspired my every choice.

I have decided to share my collection with the city of Florence, to which I am deeply attached, because I believe that art should be experienced by everyone, rather than kept exclusive and private. I am absolutely convinced of the educational potential of art, which is able to edify and structure the mind, the soul, and the substance of our life. Indeed I too believe, like Dostoyevsky, that beauty can save the world.

I wanted my works to be shown in a building that embodies the popular imagination of Florence – a building whose history and architectural significance make it a landmark of this city. The piano nobile of the Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni was perfect in this respect. Considered one of the most beautiful and best-known palazzo in our city, it was built in 1520 by Baccio d’Agnolo and is located at a focal point in Florence’s historic centre, on the way from Piazza Santa Trinita to Via Tornabuoni. The latter is a place that is very close to my heart, for it was here, in 1981, that I opened my first gallery, which took its name from the street. This closing of the circle, perfectly encapsulates my human and professional journey from my earliest days to the present, and the birth of the collection is the epilogue to my story.

I immediately saw the Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni as the perfect place to house my collection, for its ancient walls are well able to capture the silent conversation between history and the arts.

The Collection comes into being as a Cultural Association for Art and Culture, which also aims to put on other cultural events in order to promote dialogue between the arts. As well as myself, my children are also among the founding members.

The birth of the Association is the culmination of a long story that runs through and is an essential part of our family. It is a story told through the living language of art.

Roberto Casamonti