The 15th century

Europe’s rediscovery that the classical civilization during the Renaissance was intimately associated with a cultivation interest in antiquities and also classical manuscripts. Following the instance of the Italian poet Petrarch, that in the late 14th century had actually not only assembled a famed library and collection of neck coins but also turned his study into a shrine come the Muses, it ended up being fashionable for rulers to create a room, or suite of rooms, well-known as a studiolo. The most commemorated example was created by Isabella d’Este, mam of Francesco Gonzaga III, at the ducal royal residence in Mantua (see also home of Este; Gonzaga dynasty). Decorated with paintings by Andrea Mantegna and other court artists, d’Este’s studiolo was designed to show off her impressive collection of jewelry, neck cameos, and sculptures.

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Venice and Florence

Venice to be the most necessary trading center in north Italy at this time and thus a magnet because that artists, that went there to market their work and also to buy rare pigments such as lapis lazuli. Native as early as the late 14th century, there is evidence of a totally free market operating: paints were readily available for sale on the Rialto Bridge, and there to be sales fairs during the feasts of the Ascension and San Rocco. Auctions additionally occurred, not only in Venice however in Florence as well.

From the 14th century onward, both cities had actually confraternities the secondhand dealers, well-known as rigattieri or strazzaruoli. These vendors originally traded in old clothing and leather but additionally came to transaction in objects pertaining come the bedchamber: cassoni (marriage chests), tables, chairs, tapestries, statuary, and also painted images. Through the early 15th century, Florence had end up being a tough mercantile republic in which artists completed fiercely because that commissions. From around 1430 there to be a comprehensive open sector for small devotional pictures and also items of residential furniture such together mirror backs and marriage chests. Back the art trade was increasing, prices for paintings remained short in the 15th century. It to be not until the 16th century the notions the “artists” being more elevated than “artisans” began to acquire currency.


Lorenzo de" Medici, detail from Procession that the Magi, fresco through Benozzo Gozzoli, 1459; in the Medici-Riccardi Palace, Florence.

The short Countries and Iberia

In northern Europe the art market started to construct in the late 14th century. That centred on the good mercantile urban of Flanders, such together Bruges; a court decision of 1466 refers to shops, counters, and art dealers in the town. If the many prestigious functions of arts were painted ~ above commission, they stood for a tiny and dwindling ratio of the overall artistic output in the short Countries. Tapestries continued to be the favoured kind of wall surface covering in the Netherlands and Flanders and also in the 16th century accounted because that a considerable proportion that the full value of exports from those regions, in huge part due to the fact that of the Medici penchant for collecting.


The Triumph that Christ, also known as the Mazarin Tapestry, Brussels, c. 1500; in the nationwide Gallery the Art, Washington, D.C.

In Spain a booming economy and high demand for luxury goods brought a substantial influx of works of art, artists, and also artisans. Important art sectors sprang up follow me the expedition routes to Santiago de Compostela, whereby a fast business emerged selling dedication books, small-scale religious paintings, and also carvings from Germany and the Netherlands.

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Beginning in the so late 15th century, improvements in navigation and also naval architecture permitted the Portuguese and also the Spanish to start a period of intensive trade with eastern Asia. Items that had been rather rare throughout the heyday the caravan-based trading, such together silks, ivories, and also porcelain, to be suddenly available in huge quantities; porcelain was particularly valued since the methods for its development were not yet well-known in Europe. The opened of trade v the ameri kindled a similar interest in ethnographic and also natural history specimens.