The Calumny of Bankers: Who’d be a Senior Manager now? – Littleton Chambers

‘In 1494 Botticelli completed painting “the Calumny of Apelles.” It depicts an innocent painter, Apelles, who has been wrongly accused of capital crimes, dragged before the King’s throne by personifications of Slander, Ignorance, Suspicion and Envy. It hangs in the Uffizi today and is thought to have been commissioned by a Florentine banker. In the story Apelles is pardoned from death at the last minute when a third party tells the king that he could not possibly have committed the offence, but the painting captures the moment when Apelles seems inevitably about to meet a sticky end, surrounded and almost entirely enveloped by Slander, Ignorance and Suspicion. Was this commissioned by a worried banker, concerned that he might meet his professional end without the ability to put the record straight or see the underlying disclosure? In Renaissance Florence this is unlikely but it does seem to reflect (at least some) of the anxieties of those who work in regulated professions today, that they may be hampered from obtaining future employment because of their previous employer’s interactions with a regulator.’

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Littleton Chambers, 3rd April 2017