Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Money and Beauty: Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities – new exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi

Masterpieces by Botticelli, Beato Angelico, Piero del Pollaiolo, the Della Robbia family, Lorenzo di Credi and Memling – the cream of Renaissance artists – show how the modern banking system developed in parallel with the most important artistic flowering in the history of the Western world. Money and Beauty. Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities, on view at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, from 17 September 2011 to 22 January 2012, explores the links between that unique interweave of high finance, economy and art, and the religious and political upheavals of the time.

The exhibition examines the birth of the modern banking system and the economic boom that it triggered, providing a reconstruction of European life and the continent’s economy from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Visitors will be able to delve into the daily life of the families that controlled the banking system and perceive the ongoing clash between spiritual and economic values. The story of the art patrons is closely linked to that of the bankers who financed the ventures of princes and nobles alike and, indeed, it was that very convergence that provided the climate in which some of the leading artists of all time were able to flourish.

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