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Marchesi Antinori: vintners and patrons for more than six hundred years, from the Renaissance to contemporary art

The “Antinori Art Project” enhances the family collection inaugurating a new work by Elisabetta Benassi for the Antinori nel Chianti Classico Winery

Marchesi Antinori is one of the few names that can boast more than six hundred years as vintners and more than six hundred years as patrons of the fine arts. Their story begins at Palazzo Antinori in Florence, a symbol of the Renaissance, designed by the architect Giuliano da Maiano, a pupil of Brunelleschi, during Lorenzo the Magnificent’s era, who in 1506, advised Niccolò di Tommaso Antinori to purchase it. Niccolò thus began the family fortune, and was the patron of masterpieces such as the Lunette of the “Resurrection of Christ” (today owned by the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. However, the Antinoris recently restored it and put it back on display in Italy, ed.), which depicts him and the family crest, both by Giovanni della Robbia. The “Last Supper” by Ghirlandaio is an Italian art treasure in Badia a Passignano (it was also restored years ago, thanks to the Antinori family), founded before the year 1000, as the poet Pietro Aretino confirmed. And, wine is still being produced in the historical Cantine Antinori, as it has been for centuries, also when the great scientist, Galileo Galilei, stayed there. Their link to modern art are the paintings of the Macchiaioli, such as the artworks of Egisto Ferroni, that are safeguarded in Bolgheri portrayed in his works, all the way up to Antinori in the Chianti Classico, the “Palace of the New Millennium” and the most beautiful winery in the world, signed by archistar, Marco Casamonti (the number 1 “World’s Best Vineyards 2022”), in the heart of a wine landscape so beautiful that it looks like a painting and is the background of world-famous artists’ masterpieces. The family’s bond with this territory began in the same era when Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Florentine Arte dei Vinattieri in 1385, whose innovative work was recognized in the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III’s announcement, in 1716, whose “General Depositary” was Antonio Antinori, now a candidate for Unesco Heritage. It is here that the Marchesi Antinori centuries-old collecting tradition, over 26 generations, is continuing through contemporary art, thanks to the “Antinori Art Project”. The project has unveiled a new commissioned work from the Italian artist, Elisabetta Benassi, “La fanciulla del West, 2023”, enriching the family collection, exhibited in the signature winery.
The art collection continues to grow, thanks to the “Antinori Art Project”, a platform of exhibitions in the contemporary field, created in collaboration with established curators, aimed at artists on the international contemporary scene by commissioning unpublished works for the Antinori nel Chianti Classico winery (where the paintings, ceramics and ancient manuscripts of Palazzo Antinori have found their place and are made accessible to the public). It now includes the work of Elisabetta Benassi, the versatile artist, heir to a conceptual tradition, whose works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and in solo shows around the world (open from June 17th), alongside names of famous artists who, over the years, have signed works exhibited in the art winery, such as Yona Friedman, Rosa Barba, Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, Tomàs Saraceno, Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Nicolas Party, Jorge Peris, Stefano Arienti and Sam Falls. This is just the most recent commission, curated by Ilaria Bonacassa, in a thousand years of history. The artist, inspired by the Antinori family history, has transposed into a carpet the original telegram, preserved in the Antinori Archive, which the Tuscan composer, Giacomo Puccini sent to Marquis Piero Antinori in 1910 (he was a regular guest in Bolgheri), to announce the triumph of the premiere of his opera “La Fanciulla del West” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, directed by the famous conductor, Arturo Toscanini, confirming the solid ties of the Florentine family with Italian culture.
The Antinori nel Chianti Classico winery, as well as the other historic Estates of the best wine brand in the world (the number 1 “The World’s Most Admired Wine Brands” 2023), is the symbol of the deep bond that has linked the Antinori family since the 14th century to the passion for the arts, to which it has delegated the task of narrating its history and its values. And, naturally, the art of knowing how to transform the fruits of the earth into great wines, embracing the major territories of Italian wine: Chianti Classico, Bolgheri, Montalcino, Maremma, Umbria, Franciacorta, the Langhe, Friuli, and Puglia, producing wines that are the “medium” to tell the world about the beauty of Italy. They are well known and increase the value of the various terroirs and their link to the communities, the culture and nature of the territories, according to a production philosophy “exported” to the New World, too, amidst the vineyards of Napa Valley, in California.

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