The desire to understand its roots, the past that blends with the present, the search for economic and cultural investments: this is antique trade, an art that was born and developed at the time of the ancient Romans who were interested in the masterpieces of ancient Greece. The Romans, when the original was not easy to find , used to make copies of those works, allowing future generations to benefit from these forms of art that otherwise would have been lost. During the Renaissance, a time when the phenomenon of Patronage encouraged the growing of arts, literature and science through the economic assistance of those artists and scientists, the art of collection increased significantly. It is during the Eighteenth century that the figure of the antiques dealer, which would evolve into the figure of the modern antiquarian, came to life.
In Italy, Florence has the most qualified antique dealers on the national territory, offering the best service in terms of collecting. Although the number of galleries has decreased, there are still fifty of them mainly located in Via Maggio and Via dei Fossi in the heart of the city. The most important event for both the Florentine antique trade and the international one, is the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato, which takes place in the wonderful Palazzo Corsini. The exhibition includes both Italian (almost the 80% of it) and foreign galleries (20%), five micro-enterprises with more than twenty-five employees including collectors, museum directors and journalists coming all over the world. In other words, the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato is a cauldron of various disciplines, cultures, arts, and expertise that makes this event a unique manifestation of the excellence and value of collecting.
Despite its high quality, it is important to take into account that the antique trade sector has gone through a radical change in the past few years. In the Seventies there was a high demand for Florentine Renaissance works. However, due to the scarce supply of these goods, there has been an increasing demand for baroque works. Recently, the work of interior designers and architects contributed to create a new form of art springing from both ancient and contemporary arts, stressing the attention to conjugate the present with the past and its story. Currently, the market is focusing on the most valuable pieces of which there is a higher demand.Florentine antique dealers offer their costumers works from the Twelfth century, from the astonishing School of Macchiaioli of Posillipo, including paintings, sculptures, and objects of the finest quality and artistic value.
At the national level, the Italian Association of Antique Dealers, founded in 1959 and located in Florence at Palazzo Corsini, has as a main objective to increase the value and quality of the Italian antique trade market. The idea of creating an institution to foster the prestige of art dealers developed during the First International Exhibition of Antiques in Florence, where the need to design an organization that keeps track of its members, guaranteeing that all pieces of work will not be sold without declaring the historical and artistic characteristics that constitute their authenticity, providing the necessary documents, including pictures, every restoration and so forth that could testify their quality.
At the local level, the Antiques Florentines Association can provide useful information to whoever is interested in the antique trade sector and whoever is looking for a guide to become part of this world; the expertise and passion of these antique dealers will, in fact, provide assistance to those who walking through the city that nurtured the Renaissance with Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Raffaello Sanzio wish to have something more than just beautiful memories.
Florentine antique trade market is framed through Palazzo Ramirex-Montalvo in Borgo Albizi, a location that can be traced back to the Sixteenth century, which host the prestigious Pandolfini Auction House, founded in 1887 by Cavaliere Luigi Pandolfini. The auction appeals amateurs, art collectors and dealers from all over the world and is an important source of information, prices, and tendencies within the market.
In brief, antique trade is a source of knowledge and expertise for those who want to be part of it for the first time and for those who have already been exposed to such valuable works of the past, which still are a source of inspiration in the present.