Patronage, Art, and Society in Renaissance Italy

Patronage, Art, and Society in Renaissance Italy

Patronage, Art, and Society in Renaissance Italy

Patronage, Art, and Society in Renaissance Italy


Patronage, in its broadest sense, has been established as one of the dominant social processes of pre-industrial Europe. This collection examines the role it played in the Italian Renaissance, focusing particularly upon Florence. Traditionally viewed simply as the context for the extraordinary artistic creativity of the Renaissance, patronage has more recently been examined by historians as a comprehensive system of patron-client structures which permeated society and social relations. The scattered research so far done onthis broader concept of patronage is drawn together and extended in this new volume, derived from a conference held in Melbourne as part of 'Renaissance Year' in 1983. The essays, by art historians as well as historians, explore our new understanding of Renaissance Italy as a 'patronage society',and consider its implications for the study of art patronage and patron-client structures wherever they occur.


The essays in this book for the most part began their lives as papers delivered at a conference—on 'Patronage, Art and Society in the Renaissance'—held in Melbourne in May 1983 as part of the 'Renaiss ance Year' organized by the Humanities Research Centre of the Aus tralian National University. Patricia Simons convened these meetings, which were attended by scholars from all over Australia and from abroad, and she and F.W. Kent have undertaken, in collaboration with J. C. Eade of the HRC, the subsequent editing for publication of the papers. When there are differences of opinion between contribu tors, the editors have not intervened. The short essays by Ian Robertson and Margaret Rose were not delivered at the conference but were commissioned as a result of their authors' contributions to discussion.

The editors would like to thank their respective departments for help of various kinds, and especially Bess Brudenell of the Department of History, Monash University, who did much of the secretarial and administrative work. At short notice J. D. Legge, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Monash, released funds for research assistance, which Erin Wilson competently provided. Financial help towards compilation of the index was forthcoming from Margaret Riddle, Chairman of the Department of Fine Arts, University of Melbourne. F.W. Kent is grateful to the Australian Research Grants Scheme for financial assist ance, and to Carolyn James for other help. Above all, the editors and contributors are grateful to the Director of the HRC, Ian Donaldson, and to his staff, for their patronage of an enterprise which both reflects, and has encouraged, the growing antipodean contribution to the study of one of the Old World's classic periods.

F.W.K. P.S.

Melbourne, November 1985 . . .

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