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Contemporary Art

For years Chianti has been the chosen residence of various artists such as the American painter George d'Almeida, Leo Lionni, Maro Gorki - daughter of the great armenian/american painter Arshile Gorky - and Matthew Spender who, as Bernardo Bertolucci said, "Worked his Chianti smallholding in the morning and in the afternoon locked himself into his hayloft-studio to paint". Artists, but not only. They are also staunch defenders of a culture that is deeply rooted in the land and are ready to fight for the quality of wine or to safeguard the landscape from being ruined by construction.

The glossy myth of Chiantishire came into being thanks to English writer John Mortimer's novel Summer's Lease, made into a BBC thriller series, and Bernardo Bertolucci's film Io ballo da sola.

The relationship between Chianti territory and contemporary art dates to 1959 when count Guido Chigi Saracini, founder of the Accademia Chigiana, commissioned sculptures from Vico Consorti for the grounds of the Castelnuovo Berardenga villa.

In the grounds designed by Agostino Fantastici in the first half of the 19th century the count wanted to create an autobiographical narrative that reflected his relationship with music, from Chopin to Boito.

Over the years public and private initiatives have been developed on this fertile cultural soil, involving various bodies in experimentation with new itineraries for a cultural crossing of the territory. The most ambitious project, also because it unites Chianti’s two geographical areas (Florentine and Sienese), is the biennial contemporary art event Tusciaelecta which will be held for the fourth time this year. It involves several municipalities and "operates on a possible model of redefinition of the landscape and urban fabric through the insertion of contemporary works on the territory". The artists, selected by a curator, are invited to explore the territory and design site-specific interventions, taking account of the inputs furnished by the context and of the methods of fruition on the part of a heterogeneous public consisting of residents, tourists and employees.

Side by side with the public administrations of this land already rich in monuments from the past, private concerns also enthusiastically offer valid opportunities to discover contemporary art through aesthetic fruition of works and spaces.

The Chianti Sculpture Park, which began with the dream of its director Piero Giadrossi, consists of twenty-three works set in 13 hectares of wood in front of the old brick works in Pievasciata.

The owners of Castello di Ama carry out actions of pure patronage: since 2000, under the artistic direction of the Galleria Continua of San Gimignano an important artist of international fame has been invited (in chronological order Pistoletto, Buren and Paolini) to create permanent works in direct contact with winegrowing culture, thus enriching the estate’s already considerable historical-artistic heritage.

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