Menarini and art: a journey spanning 67 years

The Menarini Art Volume dedicated to Sandro Botticelli marks the latest chapter in a series that spans 67 years. The presentation event for this issue of the renowned collection, produced by the Menarini Group and dedicated to the great Renaissance master, took place on May 14, 2023, in the Salone Apollo of Palazzo Pucci in Florence. 

This was the perfect occasion to reflect on the evolution of the enduring relationship between Menarini and the world of art.

The inception of Menarini’s monographic books dates back to 1956, along with another perhaps less cited but equally important edition: Minuti Menarini, the periodic magazine of the Fondazione Internazionale Menarini, which, from its very start, combined science and art, upholding the ancient connection between medicine and humanism. With this goal in mind, from 1977 onwards, Minuti Menarini split into a scientific edition and an artistic edition, dedicated to the protagonists of Italian and global art, captivating an audience that now includes approximately 115,000 Italian medical professionals.

To really understand what makes this editorial work special, let’s take a quick trip back to post-war Italy: a rapidly transforming country, riding the wave of a booming economy and a cultural revolution fueled by the advent of television. Italians are shifting towards modern ways, and in the midst of this ongoing social makeover, our artistic heritage is both talked about and somewhat overlooked.

For many generations of healthcare professionals, Minuti Menarini represented the first major approach to the beauty of our territory and our artistic heritage,” explained Giovanni Carlo Federico Villa, a professor of Modern Art History at the University of Bergamo and director of Palazzo Madama in Turin,  “The Florentine pharmaceutical group had an extraordinary intuition: to build a canonical lineup, to bring the names of great artists to the attention of as wide an audience as possible and, through them, create sensitivity.

The goal of bringing the general public closer to the beauty of Italian art is a challenge that is more relevant than ever, developed by Menarini with great passion since the first Art Volume release, titled “Il Testimone d’Egitto” (“The Witness of Egypt”). It began as a simple newsletter about the land of the Pyramids, a reportage to discover the treasures of the Pharaohs. However, the response was keen and quick, and the company decided to continue the tradition every year with progressively richer and more in-depth publications.

The style and narrative approach have changed over time, and from the early stories and news, they have evolved into monographs that delve deep into the works and lives of some of the greatest Renaissance painters and sculptors in history. From Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo to Pontormo, Bronzino, Parmigianino: starting from the Tuscan Renaissance, with artists praised by Vasari such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, and Lorenzetti, the Art Volumes have covered the entire Italian territory

For example, with monographs on the “hybrid” Renaissance of northern Italy, influenced by the northern styles of Flemish painting, which laid the foundations for the Venetian tonalism of Giorgione, Lorenzo Lotto, and Antonello da Messina. Not to mention the great female figures of the Italian Renaissance, such as Artemisia Gentileschi.

The grand fresco of the Menarini Art Volumes continued with Titian, the first great European painter who elevated Italian art to an international level, up to the 18th century with Tiepolo, the last great painter who made Italian culture dominant in Europe.

Furthermore, as in the case of the latest edition on Botticelli curated by Cristina Acidini, former superintendent of art museums in Florence and president of the Academy of Fine Arts, the task of producing Menarini monographs has been entrusted to some of Italy’s greatest art historians: Rossella Vodret, who curated the volume on Caravaggio in 2009; Claudio Strinati, author of the Bronzino monograph in 2010; Antonio Natali, whose volume was dedicated to Rosso Fiorentino in 2006; Marco Versiero, who wrote the volume on Leonardo in 2015, just to name a few.

Over these 67 years, the Menarini Art Volumes have contributed to spreading the beauty of Italian art and highlighting the importance of our country’s incredible artistic heritage.


With the annual publication of art monographs, for almost seventy years, Menarini has had the ability, but above all the constancy and intelligence, to carry forward multiple messages: to make Italian painters known, safeguard our national artistic heritage, and make its singular exceptionality appreciated,” continued Giovanni Carlo Federico Villa. “These volumes bring the general public closer to the great Tuscan, Roman, and Venetian art of the Renaissance and beyond, year after year, with monographs dedicated to both well-known and lesser-known protagonists. The volumes have thus ranged from Beato Angelico, Antonello da Messina, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio to the Lorenzettis, Benozzo Gozzoli, and Pollaiolo. And this has allowed art historians to tell their stories, not through specialized essays or language aimed at colleagues, but through an easy to understand narrative.

Today, in a historical moment marked by the widespread distribution of digital content, Menarini has also created the web series Menarini Pills of Art, short videos designed to share anecdotes related to the masterpieces of Italian art. Almost 700 videos have been published on the Group’s official channels and are available in 8 languages, gathering 27 million views. The latest video unveils the singularities of Botticelli’s “Annunciation“, bringing to the screens of our phones, tablets, and computers that same evocative force that characterizes this iconic painting created in 1481.