Summer School 2021 - Course 25 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Summer School 2021 – Course 25

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Course 25

Might and Munificence: Court Patronage in Renaissance Ferrara, Mantua, Rimini and Urbino

Dr Michael Douglas-Scott

Summer School – Online
Monday 19 – Friday 23 July 2021

Course description

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, some of the most sophisticated courts of Europe were concentrated in a few small towns in north-eastern Italy. The most significant were at Ferrara, Mantua, Rimini and Urbino, each dominated by a ruling dynasty, respectively the Este, Gonzaga, Malatesta and Montefeltro.

From these families emerged some of the most magnificent patrons of the Renaissance in the visual arts, music, literature and humanist learning: Isabella d’Este and her brother Alfonso, Lodovico Gonzaga and his pleasure- loving descendent Federico, Sigismondo Malatesta and his arch-rival Federico of Montefeltro. Their reputations have been immortalised by Piero della Francesca, Andrea Mantegna, Leonbattista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci and Titian.

How did these rulers attract such major figures to work for them? What motivated them to spend so much on the arts? How could they compete with much larger, more powerful, and richer states in the patronage of sophisticated culture? How did their refined taste come to be adopted elsewhere in Italy and then influence much of European culture?

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