In the recent issue of RA Magazine we explored the abundance of exhibitions
opening in Paris this Autumn. We also recommend two additional exhibitions opening in Europe this season, 'Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities' in Florence and the Nahmad art dealing dynasty’s collection of modern masters in Zurich.
Money and Beauty. Bankers, Boticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities
Amid much current suspicion of bankers, the Palazzo Strozzi, once home to a prominent Florentine banking family, is presenting a timely exhibition exploring the rise of modern banking systems alongside the cultural revolutions of the Renaissance, highlighting the simmering tensions in fifteenth-century Florence as extreme wealth met a renewed religious asceticism. Focusing on banking families like the Strozzi and Medici, the show evokes a culture of extraordinary prosperity, of startling artistic experimentation by artists such as Sandro Botticelli, but also of profound upheaval prompted by the church. The tragic culmination was the ‘bonfires of the vanities’ organised by the fundamentalist Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola, whose supporters burned everything from clothing and cosmetics to books and paintings, including, it is thought, works by Botticelli himself.
Money and Beauty. Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 00390552776461/06, www.palazzostrozzi.org
, 17 Sep 2011–22 January 2012
The Nahmad Collection
One of the most reliable sources for artistic gems in Cork Street, immediately behind the RA, is the Helly Nahmad gallery, whose shows of modern and Impressionist artists occasionally feature genuinely significant, museum-quality works. A lively presence in auction rooms for two generations, the Nahmad family (including Helly’s uncle David and cousin, another Helly) have amassed a vast collection, and 125 works feature in a Kunsthaus Zurich exhibition in October, the first ever show of their collection in a public gallery. The show features stunning pieces by Max Ernst, Matisse and Picasso. The exhibition presents a welcome chance to judge the strength of their collection as a whole, and in a museum, far away from the clamour of the salesroom.
The Nahmad Collection, Kunsthaus Zurich, 00410442538484, www.kunsthaus.ch
, 21 Oct 2011–15 Jan 2012