ANN: Masterclass – European Collectors as Patrons (Palazzo Butera, Palermo, 28-30 Jun 2023)

“European Collectors as Patrons” is a three-day masterclass on how patronage supports and defends artistic and cultural activity.

Bertrand du Vignaud and Claudio Gulli will outline how over the last three centuries a range of historical and current European patrons have advocated for art and culture by building their own private collections. These little-known individuals have contributed both to social progress and urban development. Examples used include the Roman Cardinals Alessandro Albani and Pietro Ottoboni. Also English amateur-architects Lord Burlington and Sir John Soane, and the Spanish Count Alexandre Aguado.  From more recent history, we can include Harry Kessler, Vittorio Cini and Calouste Gulbenkian.

Professors Andrea Rurale and Piergiacomo Mion, of the SDA Bocconi School of Management, will discuss the economic longevity and long term impact achieved by these enterprises. During these three days lectures will take place at Palazzo Butera, and visits across the city will include well known and lesser known places.

In the evening private dinners have been arranged in historic houses and other places of significant cultural importance. The dinners are designed as an integral part of the masterclass allowing for a greater depth of understanding. They also offer time for discussion and reflection on the days’ experiences and learning. 

The classes will be held in English.

Course costs excluding dinners, costs €350; including dinners the cost is €700. It is possible to get a grant that will cover euro350 : applicants will be selected by Bertrand du Vignaud and Claudio Gulli. Lunch is included in the price, except on 29th June where lunch is taking place at Villa Tasca.

Registration is open to anybody, there is no age limit and an educational qualification isn’t a requirement. To register please send an email to For those who wish to apply for a grant, please include your CV and a personal statement. 

We do also advise you should stay in Palermo if possible, some days prior to or after the course, so as to visit the city’s main points of interest.


Wednesday 28th June

Palazzo Butera

10-11.30: Visit to the Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi collection

12-13: Meet with Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi

15-17: Lecture: European collectors as patrons, Bertrand du Vignaud, Claudio Gulli I

18.30: Visit to the Chiaramonte Bordonaro collection. Followed by dinner at Villa Chiaramonte Bordonaro (optional)

Thursday 29th June

10-13.30: Visit to Villa Tasca followed by lunch – transfer from Villa Tasca to Palazzo Butera is included in the registration fee

Palazzo Butera

15-16.30: Lecture: European collectors as patrons, Bertrand du Vignaud, Claudio Gulli II

19: Visit to Palazzo Mazzarino. Followed by dinner at Palazzo Mazzarino (optional)

Friday 30th June

Palazzo Butera

10-10.30: Lecture: Bertrand du Vignaud, Heritage at risk

11: Lecture: Andrea Rurale: Art Orientation VS Market Orientation.

12: Lecture: Piergiacomo Mion: A new model for Cultural Business. Key issues faced by art managers

15-16: The financing of restorations, museums and heritage. Attended by Bertrand du Vignaud, Claudio Gulli, Andrea Rurale, Piergiacomo Mion. Open to the public. 

16.15-17.30: A walk through the Historical Center of Palermo: restored churches, churches to be restored, curated by Claudio Gulli 

17.30-18: Gallery of Francesco Pantaleone

18.15: Meet with Alexandre Giquello and cocktail



In 1892, Ernesto Basile designs an extension for Gabriele Chiarmonte Bordonaro’s (1835-1914) villa to house his art collection. Gathered at the end of the 19th century, it included works by Giotto, Botticelli and Van Dyck. Today you can still see many of these works here, even though it was divided in three parts in 1950.


The origins of Villa Tasca date from the 16th century, but was restored with its current decorations beginning in 1855. It has since been called the “Villa Borghese of Palermo”, also because of the eight hectares of surrounding park, preserved to this day. It includes a swan lake and a temple to Ceres. Richard Wagner was a long-time guest of the villa, and during his stay in Palermo wrote much of Parsifal. The park opened to the public in 2020. The visit will be guided by Giuseppe Tasca owner and CEO of Villa Tasca.


Within walking distance of Teatro Massimo, Palazzo Mazzarino, currently belongs to Marquis Berlingieri. Historically one of the city’s most important Palazzi, because of its links to the Lanza family. In the Minerva Hall, where a sculpture of Valerio Villareale towers, you will also find the butterfly paintings by Damien Hirst. The Palazzo is a showcases for this type of cross-pollination between new and old. The visit will be guided by Marialda Berlingeri.


Contemporary art gallery founded in Palermo by Francesco Pantaleone in 2003, located at the Quattro Canti.


Alexandre Giquello is co-owner of the auction house Binoche-Giquello in Paris, he is president of Drouot and has purchased an apartment in Palermo at the Quattro Canti.

The course is generously supported by the Mansart Foundation.

For more information, visit: