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Unique artwork of limited-edition labels for wine bottles designed by Michelangelo Pistoletto
Michelangelo Pistoletto for Ornellaia 2010, the Celebration of its 25th Anniversary. Photo: Ivan Leon Cerullo.
Ornellaia has commissioned Michelangelo Pistoletto, one of Italy’s most important and influential artists, to interpret ‘La Celebrazione’ for Vendemmia d’Artista Ornellaia 2010. The artist has created labels for an extremely limited and individually-signed and numbered series of large-size bottles: 100 Double Magnums (3 litre), 10 Imperials (6 litre) and a unique Salmanazar (9 litre). Some of these exquisite bottles will be auctioned by Sotheby's during a charity event in London in May. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Royal Opera House Foundation in London.

Two important events will frame Ornellaia’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. An auction at Sotheby’s New York on February 23rd will star some exclusive pre-release lots of Ornellaia 2010 silk-screened bottles, including a first-of-its-kind 12-litre bottle made specifically for the anniversary. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Royal Opera House in London. On May 16th, Ornellaia will host a charity auction gala dinner at the Royal Opera House where 8 of the exquisite bottles created by Michelangelo Pistoletto for Vendemmia d’Artista ‘La Celebrazione’ will be the star protagonists. During the evening, Stephen Mould, Senior Director and Head of the European Wine Department of Sotheby’s, will conduct the charity auction of these lots including the unique Salmanazar (9 litres), 3 Imperials (6 litres), and 4 Double Magnums (3 litres). Those who wish can make a bid online after registering at www.vendemmiadartista.it or www.Sothebys.com. The proceeds of the auction will be donated to the Royal Opera House Foundation.

Michelangelo Pistoletto’s creation works around the fundamental themes of his art and explorations: the mirror. The spiral that entwines itself around the Double Magnum bottle; the sculpted, three-dimensional spiral on the one-of-a-kind Salmanazar; and the play of the varying forms of the Imperial bottle labels are all made of a special reflective material that is intimately connected with the motifs that the artist has been developing since the early 1960s. On the 3- and 9-litre bottles, the spiral creates a sense of infinity and higher aspiration, with the artist ultimately achieving a more intimate and spiritual expression. The 6-litre bottle labels are unique and represent a different composition of a 10-piece puzzle, each one with a different missing element of the puzzle. For the artist, the mirror, in its infinite realities, reflects both the spectator and the surrounding environment, introducing into the artwork a temporal dimension. The Art Curators for the Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project are Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Maria Alicata.

“A correlation exists between the cultures of wine and art, between Venus and Bacchus,” states Michelangelo Pistoletto. “Neither of them has a practical function, but both are undoubtedly powerful in activating the human spirit. Many artists have found in wine a source of inspiration; it propels the mind towards imagination, fantasy, and towards truth too — in vino is truly veritas. The mirror, in particular, expresses truth and stimulates the imagination. I decided to utilise the mirror for the Ornellaia project, creating its profile through curving, sensuous lines that transgress the traditional square shape of a wine label. I wanted this artwork to be fluid, flexible, dynamic, just like the flowing movement of a thought.”

“In order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ornellaia, we have created exclusively for vintage Ornellaia 2010 a special logo which is silk-screened in gold and ivory on each and every bottle, providing a unique and truly memorable experience,” says Giovanni Geddes, CEO of ORNELLAIA. "The Vendemmia d'Artista project aims at re-establishing the tradition and value of Renaissance artistic patronage in a modern key. Every year we commission an internationally renowned artist to produce a work of art and an extremely limited number of special labels that are in themselves works of art, and which capture the essence of the vintage and its personality. In the past four editions of Ornellaia Vendemmia D'Artista we have raised over 800.000 Euros through auctions of these special bottles, which have been donated to institutions related to the Arts. For the 2010 edition we have commissioned Michelangelo Pistoletto to celebrate the 25th anniversary.

Ornellaia 2010 is the 25th anniversary blockbuster - this will make everyone sit up,” says Serena Sutcliffe, MW Head of Sotheby’s International wine department. “And, in due course, drink up. From its dense, dark colour to its drenched berries nose, full of primary fruit, this is concentration in huge, velvety form. Coats the palate in majestic style.”

“One of the hallmarks of wine, like people, is its originality, and each growing year exhibits a personality that renders a wine from that year truly unique. Within the overall Ornellaia style, we take much effort in identifying, highlighting, and consolidating in the wine the distinctive qualities of each vintage,” says Axel Heinz, winemaker and Director of production of Ornellaia. He then points out: “Ornellaia 2010 reflects a particularly cool and late-ripening vintage in which the Mediterranean character finds a novel expression. The opulent richness steps back to let vivacity and complex aromatics prevail. The fruit is still present but fresh and vibrant. The texture is silky and slender but maintains the density typical of Ornellaia’s greatest expressions.”



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