What is the course about?
Royal patronage is responsible for some of the most exquisite paintings, artefacts and decadent building projects. Discover some of the key patrons from the Renaissance through to the middle of the seventeenth century and learn how they set about building up their collections and/or affirming their power.
Exploring a different theme each week, we will study the main motivations behind the building of new palaces and private rooms including Isabella d'Este (1474–1539) and her unique creation of a 'studiolo' and the vast and imposing El Escorial of Philip II of Spain (r. 1556–98). Competition was a driving force behind the collections of Charles I of England (r. 1625–1649) and Philip IV of Spain (r.1621-1665) and a means via which to display wealth and confirm their royal power. For artists like Rubens and Velazquez, royal patronage provided the opportunity to achieve European fame, prestige and considerable personal wealth. Discover how female monarchs and rulers such as Marie de Medici, Queen and Regent of France (1600–1610, 1610–1617) and Henrietta Maria, Queen to Charles I were also able to use art to promote their own status in a man’s world.
What will we cover?
- Key art patrons and their collections from the Renaissance to the mid 17th century
- The changing relationship between patrons and artists
- How patrons used art to reinforce their status.
- How this competitive environment led to the emergence of the modern art market, of art dealers and auction houses and the gradual filtering of art collecting down the social strata.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify key art patrons from the Renaissance to the mid 17th century and identify at least two items from their collections
- Describe the relationship between at least two patrons and their artists
- Participate in discussions about the use of art to reinforce personal status.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for all levels.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught with lectures, slides, and discussions.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You might wish to bring a notebook. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might also be interested in:
VB438 - Arts of the empire-builders: Timurids, Safavids and Mughals
VB464 - In depth: early Renaissance
VB815 - In depth: late Renaissance.