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British novelist meets with Elon students in Italy

Author Tim Parks, curator of a major exhibition in Florence, Italy, met with Elon students spending the semester abroad.

Author Tim Parks with the Elon class in Florence, Italy.

Reviewed as “stunning” by the Wall Street Journal and as a “lesson” by the Financial Times, a museum exhibition in Italy highlighting the relationship between art and money became the classroom on Sept. 21 for 28 Elon students studying abroad for the semester in Florence.

There was a unique connection that brought the students to the exhibition, “Money and Beauty. Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities” which opened at Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi. The students had just read “Medici Money” as an assignment during one of their Florentine study abroad classes. The book’s author, Tim Parks, was one of the curators for the reviewed museum exhibition.

“Why not highlight that chance connection,” thought Tom Nelson, Elon's professor-in-residence this semester in Florence. So Nelson contacted Parks and arranged for an impromptu lecture on the relationship between money and art.

Park’s thesis was simple. “No bankers. No Renaissance.” The students met with Parks in the grand receiving room of the Palazzo Strozzi, part of an intellectually driven conversation with not only the author of their recently assigned book, but also with the curator of one of the year’s most widely acclaimed museum exhibitions.

Dan Anderson,
9/27/2011 2:27 PM