Menarini Pills of Art: Art History in the time of a coffee

The union between the realms of innovation and art, both fundamental to Menarini’s corporate philosophy, has given rise to a project that has now garnered worldwide recognition and admiration: the Menarini Pills of Art.

The Pills of Art are short videos that recount the history of Menarini’s artistic publications through a simple yet engaging narrative style. In the clips, viewers are treated to intriguing anecdotes about renowned artworks that have been or will be featured in forthcoming Menarini Art Volumes.

Cameras venture into museums to unveil fascinating tidbits about the masterpieces of some of the most famous Renaissance painters. The videos are further enhanced by the eloquent narration provided by knowledgeable experts, historians, and curators.

This initiative has now been running for five years and underscores the inseparable bond between Menarini and Italy’s rich artistic heritage, reinforcing a virtuous connection that has led the company to publish art monographs dedicated to the masters of drawing, painting, and sculpture for over six decades, such as Caravaggio, Raphael, Botticelli, Parmigianino, and many others.


The beginnings, episodes and views

The publication on web channels officially kicked off in October 2018, marking the inception of an exciting journey. The first episode was filmed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where the director of the museum Eike Schmidt talked about the most intriguing aspects of Caravaggio’s masterpiece, “Medusa.”
From the very beginning, the goal of the Menarini Pills of Art was to give a modern twist to Menarini’s tradition of art appreciation and play with the double meaning of the word “pill”: one-minute videos presented by art experts that allow users to explore the beauty of a painting, a specific detail, or a renowned artist. In other words, to bring art within everyone’s reach, offering joy and contentment, in the time it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee.

Over the years, the releases have been consistent, and as of now, the playlist boasts an impressive 91 episodes, readily accessible on YouTube.

The Pills of Art cater to a universal longing for beauty, as stated by art historian Cristina Acidini, who authored Menarini’s latest monograph on Botticelli:

Art belongs to all. In our society, we have truly embraced the significant value of granting physical and cultural access to artistic masterpieces. And we can engage with art through various means: through short interviews, “pills”, for quick insights that enrich our personal culture, or through unhurried and guided museum visits that foster contemplation. In short, every approach is valid to ensure that art is an integral part of our lives, as it is created for humanity and should exist within society.


Adapting to the evolving communication landscape with new approaches

With an overwhelming global viewership with more than 18 million views worldwide, Menarini has taken a step further by launching a junior edition of the series, the Menarini Pills of Art Junior. In this version, a young art expert addresses even the most bizarre questions from children regarding the magnificent works of the Italian Renaissance. This refreshing shift in perspective aligns perfectly with the multimedia-savvy nature of the younger generations.

“Who are the characters in Primavera, and why are they dancing in an orchard instead of a ballroom?”, and again “Why is Medusa depicted on a shield?”
These are just a few examples of the questions asked by the young protagonists of Pills of Art Junior, available on the Menarini Group YouTube channel in Italian, English and Spanish, in order to educate and introduce timeless masterpieces to children, fostering an appreciation for art within their peer group.

The short videos, just like the classic “pills,” provide insights into the intriguing facts, undiscovered details, and noteworthy information surrounding the renowned artworks from the vast Renaissance heritage.

The Menarini Pills of Art initiative is truly remarkable as it successfully keeps pace with the times,” explains disseminator Claudio Sagliocco. “In many ways, these videos take the form of anecdotes, serving as compact pills of knowledge. In today’s social media landscape, where short reels or TikTok clips of a few seconds are the new trend, we strive to encapsulate the essence of a painting within a minute and a half, or at most two. We had the privilege of going often to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, courtesy of Director Schmidt, where we shared stories about the great artists featured in Menarini’s remarkable Art Volumes. For over 60 years, these volumes have dedicated a monograph each year to painters such as Botticelli, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and Leonardo. 

Our goal is to captivate and intrigue a diverse and young audience, enticing those who may not be accustomed to humanistic studies to delve into the world of art history. I believe it’s an exceptionally forward-thinking and intelligent proposition, and I am delighted to contribute to this project. The viewership numbers have at times been staggering, with even half a million views for a single video. The success stems from the accessibility of the clips, which have been translated into numerous languages, including non-European ones.”

The Menarini Pills of Art are just over a minute long, and as Sagliocco highlighted, they have achieved remarkable success with 27 million views in total. Each video is available in eight different languages, including Italian, English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Turkish, and Chinese. Through this process of internationalization, the Pills of Art have managed to captivate a wide range of users and pique their interest in art, constantly broadening their audience.