Your run-of-the-mill contemporary art gallery is all white walls and empty space. No so at Sacripante Gallery in the Monti neighbourhood of Rome. Built in the 18th century as a convent by Cardinal Sacripante, for whom the gallery is named, the building today has interiors that mix rough plaster walls with bare cement floors. There are restored oak beams in some areas and old floor tiles in others. And dotted throughout are well-chosen pieces of furniture, from baroque-looking candelabras to plump velvet armchairs. It’s evocative. It’s atmospheric. And it’s got a bar.
That’s right – Sacripante Gallery has an on-site bar that, in terms of aesthetic, mixes a kind of turn-of-the-century pharmacy chic with 20s speakeasy vibes. It’s heady stuff. And it’s the perfect place to refresh after touring what the owners refer to as “lowbrow” art that they exhibit here a couple of times a year. In the past, Sacripante Gallery has exhibited everything from the photos of Martina Scorcucchi in Les Femmes Oublilees to local street artists Lucamaleonte and David Diavù Vecchiato.
There’s an offbeatness to Sacripante Gallery that proves compelling. The sacred history of the building and the curated rough-luxe nature of the interiors. The choice of art and the availability of booze. It’s a kind of lavish punk approach to art, and it’s taken the already art conscious city of Rome by storm. With only a few exhibitions a year, finding out what’s next at Sacripante Gallery is always high up on the list of priorities for any art-loving Roman.