“Me intemperate? No, I’m mild for 23 hours and 55 minutes … »- Corriere.it

by Candida Morvillo

Fights, like the one on the Maurizio Costanzo show with Mughini? “After I regret it. But the young people want me ». The art critic turns 70

Vittorio Sgarbi, in what spirit will you turn 70 tomorrow?

“With great melancholy, with the idea that I have lived more than the time I will live and that what I have lived was so intense that it saved me from all complaints and circumstances of misfortune.”

Is the Sgarbi of the TV fights, the latest with Giampiero Mughini, so intemperate, even in everyday life?

‘No, I’m mild. I can make a scene if I find a mistake in a catalog, but it can be explained by the formula my mother defined as five minutes: the day consists of 24 hours; for 23 hours and 55 hours you are normal, but your legend is built over the other five minutes ».

Her mother Rina Cavallini said she was harassed and beaten at school by the Manzoli brothers. When does the bullied child become an intellectual bully?

“That was in fact a school of life that determined my reactivity. Later, in the Salesian school, I found a thousand obligations, the schedule, the masses every day. In the library was a list of banned books, divided into categories: C3 those were “caution, for adults”. they were allowed Heart and maybe Pinocchio† Found a priest in my desk Senility by Italo Svevo. My parents were called. Which, instead of defending me, were outrageous. I saw something logically turn into sin. The director told him to read The Pains of Young Werther
† And me: C3, it’s forbidden! It was a formidable blow. My parents saw the Sgarbi being born there. It was the prohibitions that led me to transgress ».

And what does violating have to do with verbal abuse?

«This is a result of the inspiration of Uncle Bruno, mother’s brother, a great man of letters. In the evenings we talked about politics and Uncle always excelled, he had a polemical tone, arguments that seemed good to me. It was a kind of transfer ».

The shock that can be overcome with culture, rather than physical strength?


What triggers the smoking Sgarbi we know?

«An underlying temperament consisting of conviviality: I am welcoming, I am for postmen, I am for refugees, I am like Pier Paolo Pasolini to try to convert those who hate me, but when someone crosses the border, I become that other sgarbi . It is an unforeseen accident that causes it ».

“Unexpected accident”? No exhibitionism?

«For me, passion and reason mean: I have passion, I am right. In 1989 I go to the Costanzo Show and the first time I say str.. to a director, the second time I make the photographer Letizia Battaglia cry, the third time I say I want to see Federico Zeri dead. Until then, I watched TV aloof, and realized that it has an extraordinary speed in conveying ideas. Nowadays there are very old fights of mine on social media and that is why I am the only one my age asking young people for selfies. My thinking lives longer than with my peers ».

Do they know you from fights and that makes you proud?

“More than pride, it allows me to exist. There is no such thing as an intellectual on the street, his thought is locked up in his books ».

When did you regret going too far?

“Always, immediately afterwards. Like any good crocodile. In retrospect, not to pretend, I say: I could have saved myself. But the truth is, I couldn’t: it was an unstoppable flow ».

He has three children from three women, and has defined himself as a presumptive father. Has the spirit of fatherhood ever touched you?

“Small. The last, Alba, moves me because of her delicacy and because she saved me from drowning in the sea. I was in no real danger, but she threw herself to save me.”

What was he crying about?

“I cried at Uncle Bruno’s funeral. He had a heart attack, just like me, but he was alone. The day he left, a San Domenico di Niccolò dell’Arca entered my house, a very rare sculptor, whose ghost took my uncle’s place in the house. And I cried at the Caravaggio exhibition in Rovereto, opened amid a thousand controversies and then closed to Covid, while still seeing a lot of people coming”.

Your art collection is famous, which purchase are you most proud of?

“Work is how I turn money into mind. I can find old paintings with limited numbers. I bought a Guercino in Texas with $280,000 that Corrado Passera borrowed fromthe couch. It’s always like this: if you have the money, you can’t find the photos, and if you find the photos, you don’t have the money.”

A work that you regret not buying?

“A lot. A Sympathy di Bellini, walled in a private chapel, is one of the stable thoughts of what I would have liked to have”.

A book he wrote that he would like to leave for posterity?

«All those about authors he had never published about, such as Niccolò dell’Arca, Antonio da Crevalcore. And the whole history of art published by my sister Elisabetta ».

Your sister claims you’re very sensitive.

“We have lost all family members. I became his only child. But I have an anecdote about sensitivity… Last week I found out that Lino Capolicchio was dying; I knew he had given Elizabeth a book. I told her to publish it right away, and then I called him. He was in the hospital, I felt him go from death to enthusiasm. I did it to make him go away happy».

May 7, 2022 (change May 7, 2022 | 10:19)

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