Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Patronage in the Renaissance

Patronage in the Renaissance

Guy Fitch Lytle
Stephen Orgel
Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 392
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Patronage in the Renaissance
    Book Description:

    The fourteen essays in this collection explore the dominance of patronage in Renaissance politics, religion, theatre, and artistic life.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5591-9
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. PART I. Introduction

    • ONE Patronage in the Renaissance: An Exploratory Approach
      (pp. 3-24)
      Werner L. Gundersheimer

      PATRONAGE, broadly defined as “the action of a patron in supporting, encouraging, or countenancing a person, institution, work, art, etc.,” has been clearly established as one of the dominant social processes of pre-industrial Europe.² It is virtually a permanent structural characteristic of all early European material high culture, based as it is on production by specialists. The effects of patronage are also pervasive in such diverse areas as appointments to secular and religious offices; the conception and creation of the structures and spaces within which people work, pray, and live; the execution of the artifacts of material and intellectual culture;...

  7. PART II. Patronage in the Church and State

    • TWO Court Patronage and Government Policy: The Jacobean Dilemma
      (pp. 27-46)
      Linda Levy Peck

      WHEN analyzing politics in the Renaissance state, historians have emphasized the importance of patronage practices to the stability of monarchy. Functioning informally within the constitutional elements of the state, patronage provided both the essential means by which Renaissance rulers gained the allegiance of the politically important and the primary method by which they integrated regional governments and elites into the state. In the case of England, striking differences have usually been drawn between the care with which Elizabeth husbanded the bounty at her disposal and the indiscriminate and lavish dispensing of patronage which characterized James I. Writers have emphasized that...

    • THREE Corruption and the Moral Boundaries of Patronage in the Renaissance
      (pp. 47-64)
      Robert Harding

      MANY historians and social scientists have pointed out that our modern conception of corruption tends to foreclose discussion of the subject in early modern European states. This is because we define corruption as subversion of the public interest or of the principles of conduct implicit in the idea of public office. In early modern states the present notion of public office did not exist, and the public domain was not clearly distinguished from private interests. The confusion of public and private interests inherent in feudalism was perpetuated through the early modern period by the existence of venality and patronage. This...

    • FOUR Religion and the Lay Patron in Reformation England
      (pp. 65-114)
      Guy Fitch Lytle

      ECCLESIASTICAL patronage was both a cherished legal right of many men of property and a major enigma facing religious reformers during the later Middle Ages and Reformation. In one sense, theadvowson(the right to name the next incumbent to a vacant Church living) was an unspectacular type of Renaissance patronage. But because of its sheer quantity and its integration into the structure of both society and Church, this form of ecclesiastical patronage represented a significant exercise of power (with much potential for influence or abuse) and a real and symbolic hurdle to any attempts at comprehensive reform of Church...

  8. PART III. Patronage and the Arts

    • FIVE Henry VII and the Origins of Tudor Patronage
      (pp. 117-164)
      Gordon Kipling

      HENRY VII’s avarice, like Richard III’s hump, is one of those verities of myth that influence our historical conceptions out of all proportion to the kernel of truth that they may contain. We all know Bacon’s Henry VII, that miser-king happy only in his “felicity of full coffers,” who carefully examined and signed each page of his treasurer’s account book throughout a twenty-four-year reign.¹ He unleashed Empson and Dudley upon his subjects, allowed himself to be bought out of his French war, and reveled in the invention of “Morton’s fork.” For us, his most fitting elegy remains Lord Mountjoy’s famous...

    • SIX The Political Failure of Stuart Cultural Patronage
      (pp. 165-188)
      Malcolm Smuts

      CHARLES I of England ranks among the leading patrons of art and literature of the early seventeenth century.¹ He amassed one of the two greatest collections of painting in Europe, lured foreign artists to London, and helped support men responsible for innovations that decisively influenced the course of English architecture, poetry, music, and portraiture until well into the eighteenth century.² Ben Jonson, Inigo Jones, and Van Dyck worked at his court; Rubens and Bernini accepted his commissions. Their work enhanced the majesty of Charles’s life, creating a magnificent setting for acts of state and conveying a carefully wrought image of...

    • Literature

      • SEVEN Literary Patronage in Elizabethan England: The Early Phase
        (pp. 191-206)
        Jan van Dorsten

        “IF only we had the Maecenases,” Martial complained in his Epigram VIII, lvi, “there would be no shortage of Virgils.”¹ The early Elizabethan period appears to bear out his remark: there was certainly no Virgil, and literary patronage too had reached a low point—or so it seems. “The immense output of literary work during the [later] Elizabethan age,” Phoebe Sheavyn wrote in 1909, “was fostered very little by any enlightened encouragement”;² and when at 101 years of age she read the proofs of the revised edition (1967) of her work, her somewhat Edwardian ideas were still being echoed by...

      • EIGHT John Donne and the Rewards of Patronage
        (pp. 207-234)
        Arthur F. Marotti

        IN the Tudor and early Stuart period, patronage affected all aspects of English social, economic, and political life. Hence its influence on literature was inevitable. For most authors, patronage meant much more, however, than the financial support and social protection that allowed them to pursue aesthetic and intellectual enterprises. Often, as Lawrence Stone has noted, it provided “the necessary leverage to thrust them into comfortable jobs in the Church, the universities, and royal administration.”² Literary patronage was really inseparable from the systems of social and political patronage. Both amateur and professional, courtly and non-courtly writers, those who addressed recognized benefactors...

      • NINE Sir Walter Ralegh and the Literature of Clientage
        (pp. 235-258)
        Leonard Tennenhouse

        TO understand the historical meaning of Ralegh’s poetry and prose is to see his work in the larger context of a courtier’s constant concern with patronage and clientage. Since Ralegh, like all courtiers, was entirely dependent on the system of patronage for advancement, preferment, place, and profit, it is not surprising to find that his literary activity should reflect the vicissitudes of his fortunes. Few courtiers enjoyed Elizabeth’s favor as much as did Ralegh, and fewer still profited as much as Ralegh from that favor. Although the cultural myth suggested that the Queen’s patronage could be won and maintained through...

    • Theatre

      • TEN The Royal Theatre and the Role of King
        (pp. 261-273)
        Stephen Orgel

        MY ultimate concern in this essay is with royal patronage of the theatre in Stuart England, but I want to begin with a larger context and with certain related but, I believe, prior questions. My subject is as much involved with royal actors as with royal audiences, and I wish to consider first the kinds of roles and imagined worlds Renaissance monarchs caused to be created for themselves, and the kinds of theatres they required in which to perform those roles. I am starting, that is, with the role of king. My theme is expressed in the opening lines of...

      • ELEVEN Women as Patrons of English Renaissance Drama
        (pp. 274-290)
        David M. Bergeron

        IN the attempts to reassess the position of English women in the society of late Tudor and early Stuart times no one, to my knowledge, has looked very closely at their relationship to one of the most popular endeavors: namely, the theatre. We know, of course, that women were not allowed as actors on the regular stage; and yet they performed frequently in other dramatic entertainments, principally masques. Several writers have detected a decline in the status of women after the death of Elizabeth and the advent of the antifeminist Jacobean court, but I do not think that the issue...

    • The Visual Arts

      • TWELVE Artists, Patrons, and Advisers in the Italian Renaissance
        (pp. 293-343)
        Charles Hope

        ONE of the most celebrated documents about Renaissance patronage is the program provided by Isabella d’Este for Perugino in 1503 in connection with a painting for herstudiolonow in the Louvre, theCombat of Love and Chastity(Figure 12.1). This program was almost certainly devised by Paride da Ceresara, a Mantuan citizen of wide literary and intellectual interests. It specified the content of Perugino’s composition in great detail:

        Our poetic invention, which we greatly want to see painted by you, is a battle of Chastity against Lasciviousness, that is to say, Pallas and Diana fighting vigorously against Venus and...

      • THIRTEEN The Birth of “Artistic License”: The Dissatisfied Patron in the Early Renaissance
        (pp. 344-353)
        H. W. Janson

        THE termartistic licensehas a variety of meanings. In this essay I shall deal with only one of these: the changes made by an artist in executing a commission without prior authorization from his patron, or even against the patron’s explicit instructions.

        In the later Middle Ages, painters and sculptors were subject to the rules of their guild—rules specifically designed to regulate the relations between guild members and their customers. These customers, whether private individuals or, more often, public bodies, laid down the specifications of their commissions in elaborate and detailed contracts that not only dealt with delivery...

      • FOURTEEN Patterns of Preference: Patronage of Sixteenth-Century Architects by the Venetian Patriciate
        (pp. 354-380)
        Douglas Lewis

        IN two essays in this volume Charles Hope and H. W. Janson have examined painters’ intelligence and sculptors’ independence in the Italian Renaissance. I should like here to explore the theme of architects’ cooperativeness by examining some of their relations with their patrons. What I propose is to carry the discussion from the artists themselves to those sometimes neglected collaborators whose commissioning and funding were essential to the successive processes of inspiring and producing an actual work of architecture. And I should like to investigate these relationships within one small and self-contained world, that of Venice: first, because its uniquely...

    (pp. 381-382)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 383-390)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 391-391)