The Open UniversitySkip to content

Dispersal, Exchange and the Culture of Things in Fifteenth-century Italy

Clark, Leah R (2017). Dispersal, Exchange and the Culture of Things in Fifteenth-century Italy. In: Jurkowlaniec, Grażyna; Matyjaszkiewicz, Ika and Sarnecka, Zuzanna eds. The Agency of Things in Medieval and Early Modern Art: Materials, Power and Manipulation. London: Routledge, pp. 91–102.

Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This chapter addresses the paradox of precious things in the fifteenth century as their value led to their circulation and dispersal yet individuals attempted to record their temporary ownership through inscriptions, arms and other identifiers. The inventories recording these objects allow us to trace their provenances, but these documents should not be seen as a means to an end, rather they highlight multifaceted approaches to people’s possessions and underscore the very transient existence of many early modern things. Traditional Art History has largely concentrated on the production and consumption of art works rather than their destruction and thus inventories and account books have often been examined with a focus on the acquisition rather than the dispersal of possessions. A closer look at account books, inventories and other documents, as this chapter argues, reveals a more complex cycle in which works were made, destroyed, purchased, loaned, exchanged, pawned and melted.

Item Type: Book Section
Copyright Holders: 2018 Leah R. Clark
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Value and Symbolic Practices: Objects, Exchanges, and Associations in the Italian Courts (1450-1500)Not SetSSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)
Keywords: Art History; material culture; agency of things; objects; Actor Network Theory; Renaissance; courts; pawning; jewellery
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > Art History
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 50643
Depositing User: Leah Clark
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2017 15:25
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 08:50
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU