Former Italian Prime Minister’s Art Collection Deemed ‘Worthless’, Complicating Inheritance Process

The art collection of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who died in June, has been deemed worthless by leading Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, the BBC reported on Thursday.

Berlusconi, who had a net worth of €6 billion (about $6.4 billion), purchased many of the paintings and sculptures in his collection from late night televised auctions.

A whopping 25,000 paintings of Madonnas, naked women, and European cityscapes have been deemed of poor quality with little to no value. Only six or seven from the lot, according to Sgarbi, have any artistic worth.

Altogether, the collection has an estimated value of €20 million (roughly $21.2 million), with an average of about €800 (approximately $847) per painting.

Since Berlusconi’s passing, his descendants have had a difficult time managing the collection, which is held in a 34,400 square foot warehouse near his mansion outside of Milan. The warehouse costs nearly €800,000 (about $846,880) per year to maintain.

Additionally, a portion of the collection has been compromised by woodworms and, in some cases, the extermination costs would exceed the value of the artwork.

However, Berlusconi also owned higher quality paintings, including works by the Renaissance painter Titian and the Dutch master Rembrandt, which were housed at his primary residence.

London-based art dealer Cesare Lampronti who worked closely with Berlusconi for three decades noted that he was an impulsive buyer, adding, “He knew what he was buying was worthless.”

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