In the essay “The Role of Women as Patrons during the Renaissance” the author discusses the women who broke the mold of subjugation and achieved fame and independence. Most of these women learned how to paint in their father’s workshops…
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The Renaissance humanists embraced Christianity and, therefore, the church was at the forefront in patronizing many artistic works of Renaissance (Conelli 2004). The Renaissance was largely marked by the return to classical ideas that brought about the age of awakening in Italy and northern Europe between 1400AD and 1600AD (Thomson 1984). During Renaissance, or born anew in French, artist were exploring new ideas and, this lead to a wide discovery of talent and innovation. During and before Renaissance, men ruled over everything from political to social. A woman at these times was supposed to get married, give birth to boys and stay loyal to her husband (Trager 1994). A Renaissance man was expected to be well educated in a way that he understood proficiently art and science and have cultural grace. Women of all classes were expected to perform the duties of a housewife, or work in the fields if they were peasantry women. For middle-class women, they helped run their husbands businesses while women of the noble class engaged in sewing, cooking, and entertainment. However, since the explosion of art and architecture presented opportunities individual’s growth, there were wealthy women who broke the mold of subjugation and achieved fame and independence (Chambers 1970). Most of these women learned how to paint in their father’s workshops while women of the high class had the opportunity to learn the art and practice architecture. Against this background, this essay examines the role of women as patrons of art and architecture during the Renaissance. Artistic Patronage Patrons of art had a significant role in the development of art in the Renaissance Europe. Patrons were not only customers of art but were also initiators of the same, and they often dictated on the art form and content (Chambers 1970). In most cases, art patronage was carried out by wealthy families of status, and it acted as a show of power. Art patronage was relevant for religious purposes, entertainment and as a source of political propaganda. As a result, the influence of the art was essential to the wellbeing of any artist. Artistic patronage was a formal undertaking with contracts defining the cost materials and dimensions of the project (Chambers 1970). For architectural works, the sketch of the project and the timeline, as well as the content of the piece, was contained in the contact form. A Patron of art or architecture offered a lot of support that placed him or her beyond the position of a mere customer. Art patronage originated from religious practices as noted by Tuscan merchant Francesco di Marco Datini of the 14th century that pictures moved ones spirit to devotion (Ciletti 1984). Therefore, the intention of any patron to any painting or curving was to devote such an art for religious purposes. Most portraits, placed at altering for a chapel, were meant to earn grace for the patron in redeeming her souls from the torments of purgatory (Ciletti 1984). This was the theme and the form that Medici family in the early Florence artistic and architectural patronage undertook. Moreover, patrons were portrayed in paintings of religious subjects like in the work of Jan Van Eyck’s Madonna of the Canon van der Paele (Chambers 1970).
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