Patronage, Art, and Society in Renaissance Italy

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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 on this 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.