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Apollo & Vulcan

The Art Markets in Italy, 1400-1700

Guido Guerzoni

Publication Year: 2012

Guido Guerzoni presents the results of fifteen years of research into one of the more hotly debated topics among historians of art and of economics: the history of art markets. Dedicating equal attention to current thought in the fields of economics, economic history, and art history, Guerzoni offers a broad and far-reaching analysis of the Italian scene, highlighting the existence of different forms of commercial interchange and diverse kinds of art markets. In doing so he ranges beyond painting and sculpture, to examine as well the economic drivers behind architecture, decorative and sumptuary arts, and performing or ephemeral events.
     Organized by thematic areas (the ethics and psychology of consumption, an analysis of the demand, labor markets, services, prices, laws) that cover a large chronological period (from the 15th through the 17th century), various geographical areas, and several institution typologies, this book offers an exhaustive and up-to-date study of an increasingly fascinating topic.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

Over the last couple of decades, the theme of the art market has become one of the most frequently studied topoi of Italian and international art history. And perhaps precisely because of this, it has become a sort of affirmation of a principle on which both the art historians and economic (there are few in Italy) historians agree, ...

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pp. xv-xvi

The roots of this book go back to May 1989, when, having finished my third year of university, I began to look for an advisor for my thesis in business administration. I had already found a subject: the relations between the art world and the economic world, from a historic and economic perspective. ...

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pp. xvii-xl

At the beginning of my research, there was not yet any historical-economical literature on the “art markets,” but my early analyses of the primary sources—especially those concerning the courts—and exploration in the more specialized art-historical literature convinced me that the production and consumption of artwork, ...

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1. Historiographies: The Perspectives of Economics, Economic History, and Art History

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pp. 1-28

Only recently have the art markets become a field of study for various scholars, even though it was not easy to gain their interest, after decades of embarrassment and omissions that explain the disgraceful conditions in which these circles found themselves, that the nobility of art contrasted with vile commerce, ...

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2. The Psychology and Ethics of Consumption: The Debate on Liberality, Magnificence, and Splendor

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pp. 29-44

For some years now my good humor has been menaced by the declarations of those who praise “Italy’s first-place standing with its historical artistic patrimony.” As much as I detest the patter of percentages tossed about freely (and anyway never less than 50 percent) to establish the exact proportions of our national pride, ...

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3. Demand Analysis: The Example of the Este Courts between the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

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pp. 45-78

For some decades now the word pair “art-court” has held sway in the titles of innumerable essays and monographs almost as though it were a catchphrase meant to be immediately understood by the most distracted reader. And yet, despite isolated attempts,1 the juridical-institutional profiles of court artists, ...

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4. Supply and Labor Markets: Organizational Structure, Management Techniques, and Economic Impacts of Ducal Este Building Yards in the Cinquecento

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pp. 79-106

The importance of the economic and occupational impact of a broadened artistic demand became, I believe, clearly evident in the previous chapter. In the light of those considerations I intend to examine the question by looking at what happened in the architectural field, an artistic area that early modern economic historians ...

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5. Services: The Economy of the Feast and the Feast of the Economy—Some Thoughts on Ephemera

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pp. 107-120

In the last thirty years the scholars of art and architecture and theatrical and musical historians have often met on a common ground that concerns the machinery and apparatus constructed on the occasions of the so-called ephemera: banquets, carnivals, spectacles of all sorts, fireworks displays, weddings, funerals, triumphs, arrivals, ...

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6. Prices: Known Facts and Unresolved Problems

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pp. 121-138

Dealing with the formation of prices of artworks and luxury goods is not simple given that price history boasts a past of a size and quality great enough to frighten anyone, since for almost half a century it constituted a nearly autonomous sector, and then become one of the principal areas of economic research. ...

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7. The Laws: The Birth of Cultural Heritage and the Impact of Preservation Laws on the Art Trade

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pp. 139-162

The legal factors are essential to understanding the dynamics of the art markets, even if their modes and their spheres of influence have not been carefully studied, with the exception of rare and circumscribed cases. In fact there are ample and varied cases of legislative provisions and legal resolutions that have had a notable impact on these commercial equilibria, ...


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pp. 163-206


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pp. 207-258


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pp. 259-260


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pp. 261-276

E-ISBN-13: 9781609173616
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611860061

Publication Year: 2012