Collecting, exchange, and sociability in the Renaissance studiolo

Clark, Leah R. (2013). Collecting, exchange, and sociability in the Renaissance studiolo. Journal of the History of Collections, 25(2) pp. 171–184.



Collecting became an important practice for Italian élites, resulting in the emergence of novel cultural and political spaces, particularly in the fifteenth-century courts, amongst which may be numbered the studiolo. The literature on collecting has often focused on one specific patron and on his or her particular sensibilities and personality in relation to the materials collected. Rather than viewing collectable items as static objects, or simply as the reflection of a patron’s tastes, this study investigates the ways in which artefacts circulated, connecting diverse individuals across space and time. Material possessions are examined not only as repositories of monetary value, but as objects which could be imbued with political meanings, memories, and obligations. This study reveals that both men and women participated in collecting, their respective political roles often being manifested in the things they collected and exchanged.

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