The Material Renaissance

O'Malley, Michelle and Welch, Evelyn, eds. (2007) The Material Renaissance. Manchester University Press, Manchester. ISBN 9780719076572

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Despite the recent interests of economic and art historians in the workings of the market, we still know remarkably little about the everyday context for the exchange of objects and the meaning of demand in the lives of individuals in the Renaissance. Nor do we have much sense of the relationship between the creation and purchase of works of art and the production, buying and selling of other types of objects in Italy in the period. The material Renaissance addresses these issues of economic and social life. It develops the analysis of demand, supply and exchange first proposed by Richard Goldthwaite in his ground-breaking Wealth and the demand for art in Renaissance Italy, and expands our understanding of the particularities of exchange in this consumer-led period. Considering food, clothing and every-day furnishings, as well as books, goldsmiths' work, altarpieces and other luxury goods, the book draws on contemporary archival material to explore pricing, to investigate production from the point of view of demand, and to look at networks of exchange that relied not only on money but also on credit, payment in kind and gift giving. The material Renaissance establishes the dynamic social character of exchange. It demonstrates that the cost of goods, including the price of the most basic items, was largely contingent upon on the relationship between buyer and seller, shows that communities actively sought new goods and novel means of production long before Colbert encouraged such industrial enterprise in France and reveals the wide ownership of objects, even among the economically disadvantaged.

Item Type: Edited Book
Additional Information: This book is the principal outcome of The Material Renaissance project, a collaborative research project conceived, organised and run by Michelle OMalley and Evelyn Welch, which received approximately £320,000 of AHRC and Getty Foundation funding between 2000 and 2004. It is the first study to address the issues raised by Richard Goldthwaite's discipline-altering argument for a consumer-led Renaissance in Italy and the research was steered by the editors to produce chapters that place the demand for art, the focus of Goldthwaite's examination, within both the environment of cultural buying and selling practices and the context of production and ownership in the Renaissance. The editors set the questions for the collaborative consideration of the interdisciplinary team in the workshops, conferences and field trips of the project, shaped individual research topics and fashioned the chapter texts into an integrated volume. The editors jointly wrote the Introduction and the Note on Currencies and Measurements and shared the editing of chapters. Each also contributed a chapter to the volume.
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Art History
Depositing User: Michelle O'Malley
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:01
Last Modified: 30 May 2012 08:41
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