The Soderini And The Medici; Painting, Power And Patronage; & Leonardo

Three new publications on the Renaissance

David Chambers | Published in
  • The Soderini And The Medici: Power And Patronage In Fifteenth Century Florence
    Paula C. Clarke - Clarendon Press, 1991 - x+293 pp. - £40
  • Painting, Power And Patronage: The Rise Of The Professional Artist In Renaissance Italy
    Bram Kempers - Allen Lane, 1992 - xiv+401 pp. - £25
  • Leonardo: The Artist And The Man
    Serge Bramly - Michael Joseph, 1992 - xvii+493 pp. - £20

Renaissance Italy and the operation within it of 'patronage' (a multi-functional word) are in different ways the subject of each of these three books, which otherwise have little in common.

Paula Clarke's is a close study of politics in fifteenth-century Florence, and 'patronage' here means calculations of interest and favour in that complex republic dominated by the Medici. She has analysed this domination from the stand- point of a potentially rival family, which lacked, however, equivalent financial resources or popular following; more precisely it is the standpoint of two brothers slightly tainted by illegitimacy, Tommaso and Niccolo Soderini. Although the approach is tangential, the result is a refreshingly lucid analysis of the regime; it is especially valuable concerning events after the deaths respectively of Cosimo de'Medici (1464) and his son Piero (1469) when continued predominance was at risk. We learn about opposition elements and the opportunism of collaborators, but also their lack of solidarity.

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