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Medici Bank Minister Pleads “No More Art, Please” in Newly Discovered Letters

In these recently uncovered fake letters, imagined to have come from the archives of the fake University of Italy School of the Arts at Florence (UISAF), the Minister of Medici Bank, Francesco Sassetti, pleads with the head of the Medici Family and defacto ruler of the Florentine Republic, Lorenzo de’ Medici, to stop spending the bank’s and family’s holdings on the arts.
Available exclusively on Art Here and Now.


From: Francesco Sassetti, Minister – Medici Bank
To: Lorenzo de’ Medici, The Magnificent

Dear Lorenzo,
Though your family has a long history of supporting artists, because of the recent financial and political difficulties, I must request that you consider abandoning this legacy of extravagance.
As I have been balancing this year’s expenditures, I can’t help but notice the exorbitant amounts it requires to not only pay for artworks, but to also house and feed these artists. Michelangelo Buonarroti has been living in your household for five years, in excess of $90,000 per year [currency adjusted to equivelant U.S. Dollars -ed.]. Surely he could rent his own apartment, and you could simply purchase any artwork from him you liked once completed? Must we be responsible for an artist’s entire livelihood and every material need?

We must protect the assets of The Bank and the Medici trust, for the bank’s members and the family, both current and future. These creative works and artist supports are a drain on these financial resources, deprive these members from larger profits, and serve no purpose except the pursuit of notoriety.

I plead with you. We must stop this reckless spending. The livelihoods of bank stakeholders and future Medicis depend on it.

Sincerely,
Francesco Sassetti, Minister – Medici Bank


Dear Francesco,
Your bold pleading is certainly brave. Perhaps you have a death wish.
Ah, ha, just a joke!
You have a long history with me, and my father before me. Only from someone so dedicated to our cause would these words be tolerated. Yet I am sure you are not the first to think them.

Even if I accepted your argument that art was wasteful, you act as though we aren’t losing money in more ridiculous, costly ways. May I ask, how many horses do you own? How many rooms are in your house? How many banquets have you held this year? How many guests have you fed? I’m sure you like to be questioned about your expenses as much as anyone. I mention this purely for example, not from any plan to deprive you of your lifestyle.

In contrast to The Bank’s and Family’s complete holdings, housing a few artists and funding their work is a handful of pebbles freed from a mountain. We could indeed just buy completed works, but if so, then where would the artist live and work to make them? Michelangelo’s last work took a year to complete. The Dome took almost a lifetime. By what means should they live to make this work we would later buy? If they took to the trades to sustain themselves, then when would they have time to make this work?

I find your logic faulty.
-Lorenzo


From: Francesco Sassetti, Minister – Medici Bank
To: Lorenzo de’ Medici, The Magnificent

Dear Lorenzo,
It is my wish to eliminate all waste, regardless of size, so that we may all realize our maximum profits and potential. You must agree that over time, these types of expenditures throughout your history add up to far more than pebbles from a mountain.
You righteously question my horses, even though we have never once questioned The Giraffe? How much did the buildings, heating, feeding and men cost for that one? And to what end?

It is not my concern, and should not be yours, where, when and how these artists produce the work. Men must choose their paths. If they cannot succeed to secure a living from one trade, they must pursue another. If the quality of their work cannot attract enough buyers to support more in the future, then perhaps their work is not of a quality worth making.

Please invest this money in important endeavors, instead of supporting those who cannot support themselves.

Sincerely,
Francesco Sassetti, Minister – Medici Bank


Francesco,

Enough. Go no further.

I am the highest power of this family, the Republic of Florence and places beyond.
In this area, we will continue in our family’s tradition.
I owe you no explanation or justification. As our Minister, you will do as I command you.

For future clarity, to end this discussion, and out of some respect of your long service, I will conclude with these thoughts.

You have gall to demand we not support those who in their trade cannot support themselves,
when for all of your life we have done the same for you.
Do you think counting our money is more important work than creating The Basilica?

When we are all dead and buried, very few people will remember you and I.

They will remember Michelangelo and Leonardo. They will remember Sandro and Brunelleschi.
They will remember Florence as the place those artists lived. And they will remember us, if at all, as the people who helped them.

From vague, unsure memory they may believe we were kings. In some ways we are kings, because we are wealthy and powerful.
And like kings, we have some duty to our country and its people. Through learning, engineering and art, this duty is fulfilled, bettering the people, and making Florence a destination for others who seek an enlightened life.

Without this impulse, our money and power amount to nothing.
The Bank is not important and will not be remembered. The money’s only real worth is the lasting affect it has on our country and our world.

Midas follows all the others:
Turns to gold the things he touches.
Where’s the joy in owning treasure,
If it doesn’t give you pleasure?
And where’s the sweet taste for a man
Who only feels his thirst forever?
Who’d be happy, let him be so:
Nothing’s sure about tomorrow.

The Medicis will one day be gone, but the art will remain forever.

- Lorenzo de’ Medici


Read more on The Medici Family, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Filippo Brunelleschi, Sandro Botticelli, Francesco Sassetti and Leonardo Da Vinci.

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posted by Trout Monfalco

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