Medici dominance in the political and cultural life of Italy, and of Florence in particular has been well explored. Previous patronage studies have shown how the Medici invested great wealth in both private and public art and how the skills of Florentine artists and their products were an important part of the self-representation of Florence and the Medici in Italy and abroad. The six studies in this volume investigate the evidence for patronal interests expressed in a variety of commissions by different social groups and consider how far Medici activity as patrons can be considered paradigmatic. In examining the language in which the work was commissioned and received, the scholars explore the way the work of art reflects the patron’s needs, interests or allegiance. New evidence is presented of aspects of the relationship between the patron and artists. Topics covered include commissions for the religious and secular decoration of Florentine villas, the activities and aspirations of Florentine nuns, the early practice of collecting, and the artist’s response to the patron’s needs through the formal qualities of the works of art. The volume is introduced by Eckart Marchand and Alison Wright who provide an invaluable historical overview of the present state of studies in Italian and especially Tuscan Renaissance art patronage.
Contents: The patron in the picture, Alison Wright; and Eckart Marchand; The patronage of villa chapels and oratories near Florence: a typology of private religion, Amanda Lillie; Dancing nudes in the Lanfredini villa at Arcetri, Alison Wright; Lorenzo de' Medici's sculpture of Apollo and Marsyas, Bacchic imagery and the triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne, Ruth Rubinstein; The representation of citizens in religious fresco cycles in Tuscany, Eckart Marchand; Nuns and choice: artistic decision-making in Medicean Florence, Kate Lowe; Late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century painting contracts and the stipulated use of the painter's hand; Michelle O'Malley.