Wealthy People Really Can Have it All

Image

Modern day displays of wealth differ substantially than those of the renaissance period; these can be anything from the donation of a bench in a city park to wearing a pair of designer shoes. During the Renaissance this was not the case, it was more common to display ones wealth in a more sophisticated way. This was accomplished by the hiring of an artist to create a one-of-a kind piece of art, which sometimes would even include the wealthy patron in the artwork. This idea of individual artistry came into question during the Medici families reign in the city as an aristocratic family. Having a majority of the cities wealth the Medici family, after having kept their wealth secret decided to celebrate their wealth and display it for all. They planned to display this in the most flagrant of ways, making essentially an exact copy of the David statue (the cities symbol) and placing it in their own house, therefore proclaiming their wealth to anyone who steps inside the house (Donatello).

Nowadays, stepping foot into someone’s house and seeing a piece of art is extremely common however does not have the same type of significance as it would have in the Renaissance era. For those who could not afford replicas of city symbols in their house, could include colors to embellish their art therefore displaying their wealth, such as blue paint a, “semi precious stone” (Donatello). The most prominent way to display ones wealth through art however was the addition of gold to the statue or other forms of wealth.

In my opinion, one of the most contrasting ideas on the topic of Renaissance was in fact the concept of wealth and class membership of the artists themselves. How is it that the Artists themselves were not members of the upper class when they would be paid so much to create these magnificent pieces of art in which, some even containing gold? (Donatello) From my knowledge what I guessed was that the opportunities were scarce, in that few jobs would be provided to these artists each year, there are only so many jobs as upper class members if they were fortunate.

With the beginning of humanism came the modification of the art created during the time period. For starters, I learned that it was not only the moral of people that was developing (in pro-humanist thinking), but also the art began to include and be centered around the sponsor themselves as they would often have themselves illustrated in paintings, artists would, “sign their work” and “write autobiographies and memoirs” (Humanism in the Renaissance) This evidence suggesting to me that this was the start of the reign of the artists in the Renaissance period, blurring the lines between the wealthy and the poor to form a humanistic culture.

Sources Listed:

zantine. “Smarthistory, a multimedia web-book about art: discussing Patronage and the Status of the Artist.” Smarthistory: a multimedia web-book about art and art history. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/patronage-and-the-status-of-the-artist.html

zantine. “Donatello – Smarthistory.” Smarthistory: a multimedia web-book about art and art history. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/Donatello.html&gt;.

“AAM—The Renaissance Connection: Lesson Plans: Humanism in the Renaissance.” The Renaissance Connection, from the Allentown Art Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2012. <http://www.renaissanceconnection.org/

” 3d Man Human Target Center Red Hit Royalty Free Stock Photo, Pictures, Images And Stock Photography. Image 9856503. .” Stock Photos and Royalty Free Image Subscription from 123RF Stock Photography . N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2012. <http://www.123rf.com/photo_9856503_3d-man-human-target-center-red-hit.html

Advertisements

7 comments

  1. becca0906

    Hi Allie! I really liked your post. I was really intrigued by your idea that the wealthy display their wealth differently in different times. How do you think that the rich display their wealth today if not through art, art be
    being much more common to find in someone’s home regardless of their social class than it was during the Renaissance? I was a little confused by your conclusion, in which you said that the Renaissance was the “reign of the artists”, as you said earlier in your post that artists were not members of the upper class. In what sense what it the reign of the artists – did they get special privileges that other classes and jobs didn’t?

    Great post!
    -Becca

    • allie0607

      Thanks Becca 🙂 The reign of the artists conclusion was referring more to the artists ability to obtain upward mobility during the Humanistic era following the renaissance period. To answer your question did they get special privileges..? the answer is technically no, as during the specific time frame i researched there were few artists that were identified as being wealthy. Thanks!

  2. becca0906

    Repost (sorry for the weird break in the last comment):
    Hi Allie! I really liked your post. I was really intrigued by your idea that the wealthy display their wealth differently in different times. How do you think that the rich display their wealth today if not through art, art
    being much more common to find in someone’s home regardless of their social class than it was during the Renaissance? I was a little confused by your conclusion, in which you said that the Renaissance was the “reign of the artists”, as you said earlier in your post that artists were not members of the upper class. In what sense what it the reign of the artists – did they get special privileges that other classes and jobs didn’t?

    Great post!
    -Becca

  3. claire1431

    Hi Allie! Great Post! I really enjoyed reading this, especially the contemplation between the wealthy and poor artists. It is interesting kind of how each different class constructs art. It is also interesting how important gold was, and also how people used it to display there wealth. Are you saying that those of the lower class were usually the artists? If so how did they afford to create such big art pieces, because you said best pieces of art generally used gold. Thanks!

    • allie0607

      Hi claire 🙂 thanks for your questions! to answer your first question, artists usually resided in the middle to lower class because of the rarity of obtaining a stable job opportunity, however this was not the case with all artists and some resided in the upper class society however that was rare. It is much similar today with the concept of “starving artists” as unlike working for a business and going each day and getting a stable income this is not the case with artists. To answer your second question, the person/people that hired that artist would fund the materials used to create the piece of art 🙂 Thanks!

  4. katiereindeer

    Hi Allie,
    Thanks for the great post! Why do you think that the Medici chose art to display their wealth, and why is that no longer the method that people use to display their wealth today? You said there weren’t very many opportunities for artists, is this because not much art was actually commissioned. Also I think that there were some artists that did live very luxuriously with the money they earned, which is extremely rare now.
    Katie

  5. sangj1n

    Hi Allie
    You did a great job of setting the example of poors and wealty people. It helped a lot to understand the difference. I think it would be a good idea to write why was it so expensive to have a piece of art. Generally I like your post! Thanks !

    Sangjin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: