Money, Faith and Politics: coins and medals from the Vatican
As part of the measures to prevent COVID-19 pandemic, the Museum will be closed between 15 and 30 January.
Money, faith and politics are inescapable areas of both individual and collective existence. They account for some of the most powerful motivations of human agency. As history shows, the combination between money, religion and power — an alternative formulation of the initial triad — was able to generate the most remarkable, but also the most terrible achievements. In fact, it’s not without reason that people say ‘money is power’ and talk about the ’power of faith’.
The possibility of exhibiting coins and medals from the outstanding collection of the Vatican Apostolic Library created a special opportunity to reflect upon the interaction of these three dimensions. Unsurprisingly, Portugal and the Holy See will be in the spotlight.
The dialogue between the objects of the Vatican Library, Banco de Portugal and those of several Portuguese collections suggested four great subjects that embody an historically discontinuous but stimulating journey: money in the world of the Gospels, the coin issues of the Holy See, the political and diplomatic relations between Portugal and the Holy See and finally the role of coins and medals in the urban munificence of popes and kings.
The present exhibition is the fulfilment of a project originally scheduled for April 2020. The difficult situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic forced the temporary suspension of the venture. However, thanks to the joint effort of all involved entities, it is now possible to bring before the public a unique journey about coins in their historical relation with religion and power.
The Money Museum - Bank of Portugal would like to thank especially to José Tolentino Mendonça, the main promoterof this project, a personality of Portuguese culture, Cardinal of the Holy See and Director of the Vatican Apostolic Library, with whom this exhibition is organized.