A Touch of Medici in Veneto: Ivano Costenaro mixes Finance and Art

Ivano Costenaro explains: ’The insurance company is my work, art is my passion.’ This reminds us of the Medici approach to banking – astute and cautious, loyal and personal, characteristics that appear to be at the base of the business philosophy of Ivano Costenaro. For without a stable financial base, how can one be an entrepreneur in art?

 With just a touch of the Medici nose but a head and face of hair of vastly more creative growth, Ivano appears as anything but a traditional insurance businessman. We hear the importance of personal commitment to clients that has built his insurance business over the past few decades. And once again there are memories of the Medici commitment to the “Populo Minuto”, the little people.

Whether all the staff and clients who visit this surprising Bassano office understand why every room is filled with modern art is not so important, because they will, eventually. Art permeates the aura of the offices and one large gallery has been devoted to art exhibitions, the last one having been a personal representation of Ivano’s outback tour of Australia and the likenesses that the aboriginal art inspired with the art of his friend, Federico Bonaldi, who passed away in 2012.

How did Ivano Costenaro come to insurance and art? Certainly not through formal education which he escaped at 15. His interest in collecting local ceramic art and pottery began in his youth. Avoiding discussing his fall into insurance with his brother, Ivano is willing to let us hear about his discovery of art. On top of the shelves in this meeting room is a plate. Close to 30 years ago, before the current forced austerity, the insurance business had a client who, though short of money, owned a plate created by Tono Zancanaro, with which he settled with Ivano.

One rose a summer does not make, but it can make a rose lover, and Ivano Costenaro had become an afficianado of modern art. This shows itself in the wide selection of works, museum pieces and collectibles in the offices, plus the regular exhibitions he hosts and a commitment to supporting cultural and artistic activities. With justifiable pride, he informs that the last exhibition was attended by over 500 people at its opening.

But business calls, and we are granted a gift of books relating to the artists and exhibitions that have inspired Ivano Costenaro and, in leaving, we note the large crucibles from gold refining, possibly awaiting flowers in spring.

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