Monday, 12 October 2015

A Forgotten World. First post..

Welcome to our blog. We have created this platform to share our ideas on the nature and intentions of patrician art patronage and their collecting activities in Florence. But we also love to reach anyone who's interested in Florence and art history in general. We hope you enjoy it!   

Because this is our very first post, we would like to tell you a little bit more about our project.

Inventory, Archivio Salviati
Our research group at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen focusses on Florentine patricians and their art patronage under Medici Rule (1530-1670). The flourishing cultural life of the Florentine patricians during the principate of the Medici has either been forgotten or ignored for a long time. There has been little interest in patricians as commissioners of palaces, villas and chapels, as participants in academies and confraternities, and in patrician engagement in art, literature, theatre and music. In the twentieth century historians have systematically portrayed the patricians as sycophant courtiers, only interested in gaining noble titles and estates. The fact that reality was much more complex and dynamic, has become clear only in the last two decades. Through ground breaking research in the field of socio-economic history, prosopography and political science, the image we have of the Florentine patrician is now changing, These studies show that patricians, as a group, were still holding on to most of the economic and institutional power they had obtained in the fifteenth century. The studies also show that patrician diplomatic missions played an important role in the arranging of marriages and foreign politics of the Medici. Remarkably, this historical revisionism is taken up by very few art historians, even though we now know that the contribution of patricians to the cultural dynamics of early modern Florence was highly significant.

Noble man, Francesco Salviati
The ambition of our research group is to discuss the cultural contribution of patricians to Florentine society and to approach it from an interdisciplinary perspective. Questions we will address are: how can we designate the dynamics, already observed in economical and political studies, in the cultural field? How can we compare the cultural activities and ways of self-representation of the patricians, to those of the Medici? Did patricians facilitate or emulate the grand dukes? Or were they even seeking to rebel against them? Were the cultural objectives of the patricians homogeneous in character, or did they differ from one family to another?

We hope you got excited by all these questions. We know we are! And we are looking forward to sharing our findings with you here. 

See you again soon.


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