A conversation with Vittorio Sgarbi: Disintegration, culture and the perils of terrorism

Beyond being an art critic who has published over 40 works, Vittorio Sgarbi is a polyhedral able to articulate along the domains of art, politics, economics and social affairs. Most importantly, all his interviews, monologues or lectures have one distinct common factor: culture.

Sgarbi is 63 years old and is recognized as a prominent personality in the Italian public arena. He attained a degree in philosophy with a specialization in history of art, after which he started his career as art critic. Among the many roles he has been appointed to, the most important are curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale and Expo Ambassador of the Arts in 2015.

official Facebook page

"> Sgarbi speaking at an art event. Credit: Sgarbi's official Facebook page

Sgarbi speaking at an art event. Credit: Sgarbi's official Facebook page

Parallel to his role as art critic he also pursued a political career. He was a member of the Italian Parliament multiple times, a member of the Municipal government of Milan and Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities. He has also been elected mayor of the Sicilian town, Salemi.

Since the outset of his career, he has been a controversial TV personality, distinguished by a caustic dialectic that goes beyond any sort of formality and that at the same time is considered genial. With the birth of the Internet, his persona became a viral phenomenon.

After a strong brawl on television in which he called his counterpart a “goat”, he became the involuntary creator of a neologism. Nowadays, the term “goat” is in fact used in the Italian language to indicate an individual that is scarcely educated in a specific field.

Vittorio Sgarbi is currently touring in the main Italian theaters presenting his book on the Italian painter Caravaggio. At the end of one of his book presentations, Global Young Voices met with him for more than an hour and conversed on terrorism and social integration, the Vittorio Sgarbi way.

The interview was edited for time and clarity.

Interview and video by Andrea Carsana

Text and translation by Camilla Curnis

Cover credit: Courrierinternational.com


Andrea Carsana