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In 1902, art historian, Aby Warburg, asserted that in Renaissance Italy, "works of art owed their making to the mutual understanding between patrons and artists. The works were, from the outset, the results of a negotiation between client and executant". This research seeks to examine patronage relationships in the context of politically fragmented Renaissance Italy to further our understanding of art's ability to promote political, ideological, or religious agendas. By referencing renowned works of art from the Italian Renaissance, I attempt to identify the significance of using culture and art as a rhetorical tool, rather than other more direct avenues, through economic inquiry. Contrary to a traditional patronage relationship pitting the interests of the patron and artist against one another, Renaissance Italy saw the unification of both parties’ interest in appeasing contemporary, future, and heavenly audiences. I illustrate the advantage of adhering to the standards of each intertwined audience, as both patron and artist are able to present themselves as servants of both the city and God, affording them positions of great influence within their communities. Finally, I discuss the increase in demand of commissioned artworks to help demonstrate the prevalence of contending ideologies and agendas being advocated by the competing families sponsoring them. This research contributes to ongoing dialogue about an individual's ability to act as a message-sender in a changing rhetorical landscape.

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Art, Renaissance--Italy; Art--Commissioning


Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture | Economic History

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Conference Proceeding

Economic Underpinning of Renaissance Italian Art