Money and Beauty. Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities 17 September 2011 - 22 January 2012


Eni is a partner of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi for the exhibition "Il denaro e la bellezza. I banchieri, Botticelli e il rogo delle vanità" (Money and Beauty: Bankers, Botticelli and the bonfire of the vanities) and the conference: "Finance and arts: Where is the Florence of the XXI Century?".
The exhibition, which will run from 17 September 2011 to 22 January 2012 at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, includes masterpieces by Botticelli, Beato Angelico, Antonio del Pollaiolo, the Della Robbia, Lorenzo di Credi, and tells the story of the invention of the modern banking system and the resulting economic development that rebuilt the European economy in the period from the middle ages to the Renaissance.
The conference will be held in Florence on the 18-19 November 2011 and aims to analyse the historic relationship between finance and art, also in relation to the phenomena of globalization and new markets.


Masterpieces by Botticelli, Beato Angelico, Piero del Pollaiolo,the Della Robbia family,and Lorenzo di Credi-the cream of Renaissance artists-show how the modern banking system developed in parallel alongside the most important artistic flowering in the history of the Western world. The exhibition also explores the links between that unique interweave of high finance, economy and art, and the religious and political upheavals of the time.
Money and Beauty. Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities recounts the birth of our modern banking system and of 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 can delve into the daily life of the families that controlled the banking system and perceive the ongoing clash between spiritual and economic values that was such a feature of it. The saga 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 humus in which some of the leading artists of all time were able to flourish.
The exhibition takes the visitor on a journey to the roots of Florentine power in Europe, but it also explores the economic mechanisms which allowed the Florentines to dominate the world of trade and business 500 years before modern communication methods were invented, and in so doing, to finance the Renaissance. The exhibition analyses the systems that bankers used to build up their immense fortunes, it illustrates the way in which they handled international relations and it also sheds light on the birth of modern art patronage, which frequently began as a penitential gesture only to then turn into a tool for wielding power.


Situated between Piazza Strozzi and via Tornabuoni in the heart of Florence, the Palazzo Strozzi is one of the finest examples of Renaissance domestic architecture.  It was commissioned by the Florentine merchant Filippo Strozzi and the foundations were laid in 1489 according to a design by Benedetto da Maiano.  A year later the project was given to Simone del Pollaiolo, known as Cronaca, who worked on it until 1504 but the Palazzo was only finally finished in 1538. The Palazzo remained the property of the Strozzi family until 1937, and since 1999 it has been managed City of Florence.  Since the Second World War the Palazzo has been Florence's largest temporary exhibition space. Among the major exhibitions held at Palazzo Strozzi have been the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (1949), 17th century Florence (1986),  Gustav Klimt (1992), La Natura Morta Italiana (2003), Botticelli e Filippino Lippi (Italy's most visited exhibition in 2004), Leon Battista Alberti (2006) and Cézanne in Florence (Italy's most visited exhibition in 2007). 

The City of Florence, The Florence Provincial Authority, the Florence Chamber of Commerce and an Association of private-sector partners joined together in April 2006 to set up a public-cum-private company to manage and promote Palazzo Strozzi. The Board of Directors is chaired by Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, who is a member of the European Central Bank's Executive Board.  Since July 2006, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi has successfully devised and implemented a rich and innovative programme of exhibitions, events and activities in the various areas of the Palazzo such as the Piano Nobile, the Strozzina and the Courtyard.

Taken from the site


Info: +39 055 2645155 

Opening times: Daily 9.00-20.00, Thurdays 9.00-23.00
Tickets sold until one hour before closing time

Sigma CSC
Ph. +39 055 2469600
Fax. +39 055 244145

Press office
Antonella Fiori
Ph. +39 347 2526982

Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi - Lavinia Rinaldi
Ph. +39 055 3917122
Fax. + 39 055 2646560

Sue Bond Public Relations
Ph. +44 (0)1359 271085
Fax. +44 (0)1359 271934

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