The Politics of Acquisition: Venetian Objects in Italian Courtly Collections, ca. 1475-1525

Clark, Leah R. (2019). The Politics of Acquisition: Venetian Objects in Italian Courtly Collections, ca. 1475-1525. In: Cordez, Philippe and Schnitz-Esser, Romedio eds. Typical Venice? Venetian Commodities, 13th-16th Centuries. Turnhout: Brepols (In Press).

Abstract

This study examines how Venice features as a place of manufacture of and a point of purchase for quality goods in the Italian courts. It begins with Venetian objects in Eleonora d’Aragona’s collections, followed by a consideration of the interests of her children, Isabella and Alfonso d’Este’s in Venetian commodities. The objects considered include recognizable Venetian manufactures such as glass as well as items with more foreign origins such as Chinese porcelain. The terms by which objects were described, as well as the materials from which they were made, underline how the circulation of objects gave rise to a kaleidoscope of references to Venice. While the paintings of the studioli of Alfonso and Isabella d’Este have most often been the focus of their collecting habits in the literature, this chapter argues that paying attention to other categories of objects and materials such as glass and ceramics can also provide new insight into the spaces of collections and can inspire new approaches to the history of collecting in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

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