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The Medici and Science

Instruments and Machines in the Grand-Ducal Collections

Florence, Museo degli Argenti
May 15, 2008 - January 11, 2009

From May 15, the Museo degli Argenti in the Pitti Palace is hosting the exhibition The Medici and Science. Instruments and Machines in the Grand-Ducal Collections, conceived by the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza and promoted in collaboration with the Soprintendenza per il Patrimonio Artistico, Storico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze) and the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze.
The exhibition, curated by Filippo Camerota and Mara Miniati, revolves around the prominent role that physical-mathematical disciplines played in Tuscany in the 16th-17th century, particularly from Cosimo I until Ferdinando II. The Medici were great patrons of instrument-makers and natural philosophers inasmuch as they, more than any other European ruler, were fully aware that scientific knowledge and the technological control of nature conferred stability and prestige on political power. For this reason, along their rich treasure of paintings, sculptures and jewels, the Medici sovereigns formed a notable collection of mathematical instruments. This close relationship between art and science emerges from the beauty and preciousness of many of these instruments, some of which are unique pieces and authentic works of art in themselves.
The Medici and Science highlights the alliance between art, science and political power by combining a broad selection of instruments from the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza with an equally ample selection of paintings, books and manuscripts coming from the institutions of the Polo Museale Fiorentino and from other prestigious Italian institutions.
The exhibition catalogue (I Medici e le scienze. Strumenti e macchine nelle collezioni granducali, € 40,00), edited by Filippo Camerota and Mara Miniati, is published by Giunti Editore, Florence-Milan.



The Medici and Science



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