Giving a gift can be both delightful and challenging. It’s a gesture that evokes gratitude in the recipient and satisfaction in the giver. However, finding the right gift is not always straightforward, especially when it caters to pleasure rather than necessity.
Interestingly, the ancient Romans used the word “munus” to describe both a duty and a gift. It’s possible that many of us sometimes feel the weight of this dual meaning.
If you’re unsure where to begin, turning to the recipient’s passions can be a great starting point. If they deeply appreciate art, here are some suggestions that might be just right for you.
Books, catalogues, and monographs
While books might seem like a typical gift, they’re seldom unwelcome. Ideally, knowing which titles the person already has, or at least their favoured artistic era or style, ensures a meaningful gift without duplicates. Without this knowledge, it’s a good idea to lean towards monographs or guides from major museums.
For instance, Le Grottesche degli Uffizi by Valentina Conticelli and Francesca De Luca allows readers to explore the gallery ceilings, which are often unjustly overlooked by visitors, capturing the intricate symbolism of this beautiful decoration. Uffizi | Pitti, curated by Mina Gregori, serves as a reliable and updated source on artists and artworks housed in the two museums, from the 13th to the 17th century. It’s a book to peruse and revisit as needed. Monographs dedicated to Renaissance masters like Leonardo and Raffaello, or timeless masterpieces such as the Primavera by Botticelli are also excellent choices.
For a more unique pick, consider thematic essays where art history is seen and narrated through the lens of artistic techniques, materials used, and composition subjects. An example is Ars Medica nelle Gallerie degli Uffizi, edited by Donatella Lippi and Raffaella Bianucci. Using artworks from the Florentine gallery, this volume illustrates the evolution of medical culture over time.
While catalogues and monographs provide a comprehensive overview, thematic essays offer fresh perspectives that can pique the curiosity of even the most learned readers.
Clothing and accessories
While gifting clothing or accessories can be a gamble – not always sure to match the recipient’s taste and style – when you get it right, it’s a joy for both the giver and the receiver.
Tote bags are almost always a hit. These cotton bags (whether organic or recycled and certified) come in various colours and can be adorned with some of the art world’s masterpieces like the Medusa by Caravaggio, Nascita di Venere by Botticelli, or David by Michelangelo. They’re bound to please. You can also pair them with t-shirts and sweatshirts that allow art enthusiasts to wear their passion, such as a t-shirt featuring the Nascita di Venere shells. For those uncertain about sizes, bandanas, hats, and jewellery are perfect, offering something special and valuable.
Artistic reproductions and handicrafts
Prints and posters are excellent gift choices, bringing a slice of art history into any home. If you’re looking for an engaging and delightful present, puzzles are recommended. Assembling the various pieces becomes a fun activity for the entire family and offers an opportunity to observe details previously overlooked.
But art isn’t just about paintings. Consider miniature reproductions of historic figures and renowned sculptures, ideal as decor or collectables. From busts to full sculptures, choices are abundant, even in materials (crafts can be made from plaster, bronze, marble dust, or alabaster). If you’re in the mood for something more whimsical or wishing good luck, the Nano Morgante good luck charm and the Porcellino might be just what you’re looking for.
Stationery and home Goods
Art enthusiasts will undoubtedly recognize the renowned rear of the David by Michelangelo in the Sedere magnet that replicates its flawless features, or in the magnet set that also includes the majestic profile of this iconic sculpture. Their fridges eagerly await them. Generally, home goods and stationery items are affordable gifts that promise immense satisfaction and assured use for the recipients.
This category includes not just notebooks, pens, and erasers, but also unique and special editions, like the Perpetua pencil, which received an honorary mention at the Compasso d’Oro. It’s usable on both paper and screens and comes in various designs, featuring the Medusa by Caravaggio, the Angiolino Musicante by Rosso Fiorentino, or the Uffizi profile. Another simple yet always appreciated idea: solid soaps. Available in different colours and designs, these soaps are often collected and displayed because of their high-quality ingredients and craftsmanship.
For a truly special and sophisticated gesture, gift the ambience fragrance inspired by the Giardino di Boboli. This unique collaboration between Aquaflor and the Gallerie degli Uffizi captures the distinct aromatic notes of the UNESCO heritage garden. From the citrusy Limonaia to oakmoss, the Rosa Damascena Madame Hardy, to the sambac jasmine cherished by Cosimo III de’ Medici, it’s like gifting a piece of Florence.
Travel and tickets to art cities and museums
Even more impactful is gifting the art experience itself, especially if it’s a shared one. Exploring or rediscovering cities, ancient towns, and museum collections is the best way to nurture existing passions and discover new ones. Purchasing tickets to Italy’s major museums, whether for open admission or specific dates, can be the answer to multiple gift needs and can transform into a delightful outing with company.
Given that many museums have bookshops, it’s easy to find mementos among books and items related to the collections.
Shopping tips: considerations before making a purchase
If you’ve decided to buy your gift online, there are a few factors we advise you to consider before proceeding. The first, applicable to any online purchase, concerns delivery times: if you have a specific deadline by which you’d like to receive the package, ensure the estimated arrival aligns with that date, especially if the item is shipping from far away.
It’s also crucial to inquire about potential additional costs, like customs fees, and the general purchasing conditions such as insuring your order or the possibility of making a return, whether free or for a fee.
Lastly, but of great significance, when it comes to art reproductions (be it sculptures or items replicating a work of art), is their origin. The market has many items that are not officially licensed by museums. It’s essential to recognize that there are specific laws regulating the image rights of artworks, and it’s the duty of the users to adhere to them, supporting cultural institutions. BeCulture’s products are all licensed, and through royalty payments, they support museums and cultural heritage. Opting for licensed items and purchasing only certified merchandise, like those available on BeCulture, means directly contributing to the lifeblood of museums and the craftsmen who created them, ensuring quality and strict adherence to copyright norms.
Aren’t these vital requisites for a truly artful gift?