Princely Courts of the Early Renaissance
Italian Renaissance princely courts were expected to be opulent, therefore, there were no the sumptuary restrictions to follow. Wealthy aristocrats like Cosimo de’ Medici were not allowed to openly display their wealth. Princely wealth was attained through conquest rather than through mercenary endeavors, and an open display of splendor reflected to the common people the ruler’s power and reinforced their belief that the state was a healthy entity. The shifting power relations among the numerous Italian city-states fostered the rise of princely courts and control of cities by despots during the 15th Century. Princely courts emerged as cultural and artistic centers. Their patronage contributed to the formation and character of Renaissance art. The artistic and architectural holdings of such princely rulers were emulated by wealthy individuals throughout Europe. Similarly, the courts of aristocratic Italian Renaissance nobility of the Medici, Gonzaga, Este, and Sforza families competed to outshine each other. The leading Florentine family was the Medici. The Medici spent money on constructing churches, encouraging art and supporting charities. One of the Medici Popes, Leo X, was a notable patron of the arts in Rome. These families were patrons of the arts during the early Renaissance. There were two main systems of patronage in Renaissance Italy. A rich person could take an artist into his or her household and in return the artist would supply the patron artistic needs, or someone or some organization could commission a single work from an artist and employ him until that work was finished client. If the commissioned work was particularly complicated the artist could be on the client payroll for years. Other ways for acquiring works of art are, choose work that had already been completed, or buy one from a previous owner. Patronage could be collective or individual. There are some famous examples of group patronage in...
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