The Business of Art: Contracts and the Commissioning Process in Renaissance Italy

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Yale University Press, 2005 - Business & Economics - 358 pages
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Contracts are the most informative records we have about the nature of commissioning prestigious works of art in the Renaissance. This book provides a framework for interpreting these important documents by surveying a body of contracts and related records concerning altarpieces and frescoes painted in Italy from the early fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries.

Michelle O'Malley structures her inquiry around a trio of fundamental questions concerning the language of contracts, the ramifications of stipulations for production and finance, and the means used to transmit information, particularly visual information, between a painter and his client. At the heart of the book is an analysis of the implications of the monetary decisions made by contracting parties. The author considers some of the most well-known works of the Renaissance, as well as little-studied and lost altarpieces and frescoes, to demonstrate the fundamental importance of negotiation to the gestation of a new work of art.


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User Review  - TheIdleWoman - LibraryThing

This book may be a bit dense for bedtime reading, but I used it quite a lot for my BA and from an academic point of view it's fascinating. It deals with all aspects of the commissioning process in the ... Read full review


The Value of Pictures
Trends in the Price of Altarpieces
Subject Matter
Contract Drawings

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About the author (2005)

Michelle O'Malley is head of the Centre for Research Support, School of Humanities, University of Sussex.

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