Luxury Arts of the Renaissance (1st Edition) by Marina Belozerskaya

By Marina Belozerskaya

Luxurious Arts of the Renaissance endeavors to come back to the mainstream fabrics lengthy missed as a result of ancient and ideological biases. the writer strains luxurious arts from their prestige as markers of ascendancy and discernment within the Renaissance to their next marginalization as extravagant trinkets unworthy of the prestige of artwork. through re-examining the gadgets themselves and their makes use of of their day, Belozerskaya demonstrates how luxurious creations developed either the realm and style of Renaissance elites. with no those paintings varieties the learn of Renaissance arts is impoverished and historical past misrepresented.

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Cupboard panel from the Studiolo of Francesco i de’ Medici. Florence, Palazzo Vecchio. Photo: Fototeca dei Musei Comunali di Firenze. Vasari himself painted one cupboard panel showing the origin of coral as described by Ovid in the Metamorphoses (fig. i-6). Having killed Medusa, Perseus . . made a bed Of leaves and spread the soft weed of the sea Above, and on it placed Medusa’s head. The fresh seaweed, with living spongy cells, Absorbed the Gorgon’s power and at its touch Hardened, its fronds and branches sti!

Champions of decorative arts comprised art educators and museum personnel, theoreticians and artists. The German scholar and architect Gottfried Semper, for instance, had contributed to the design of the Swedish, Canadian, Danish, and Egyptian displays at the Great Exhibition of 1851. He helped found the Austrian Museum für Kunst und Industrie (Museum of Art and Industry, 1852) and worked for a period of time at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Intimately involved with the physical objects, Semper pondered ways to classify them so as to furnish a more purposeful rationale for museum presentation and education.

Jean-François Melon, for example, sought to demonstrate the utility of luxury in his Essai politique sur le commerce (1734; trans. as A Political Essay upon Commerce, 1739), which inspired Voltaire’s defense of luxury against austerity in Le Mondain (1736) and was echoed in Diderot’s essay on “Luxury” in the Encyclopédie. Moral philosophers, meanwhile, decried luxury as socially and economically corrosive. François Quesnay and other physiocrats, or members of the school of French economists, viewed luxuri- t h e d e m i s e o f l u x u ry a r t s 37 ous expenditure as injurious to the social body and bankrupting to its economic health; they argued that riches ought to be derived from cultivation of natural resources, and workers and peasants ought to be viewed as the true wealth of the nation.

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