A Forgotten World: Florentine Patricians as Patrons, Collectors, Cultural Brokers under Medici Rule (1530-1743)
March 3-5, 2011
Groningen, The Netherlands
An international conference on the cultural habitus of Florentine patricians during the principate of the Medici.
The flourishing cultural life of the Florentine patricians during the principate of the Medici has either been forgotten or ignored for a long time. There has been little interest in patricians as commissioners of palaces, villas and chapels, as participants in academies and confraternities, and in patrician engagement in art, literature, theatre and music. In the twentieth century historians have systematically portrayed the patricians as sycophant courtiers, only interested in gaining noble titles and estates. The fact that reality was much more complex and dynamic, has become clear only in the last two decades. Through groundbreaking research in the field of socio-economic history, prosopography and political science, the image we have of the Florentine patrician is now changing, These studies show that patricians, as a group, were still holding on to most of the economic and institutional power they had obtained in the fifteenth century. The studies also show that patrician diplomatic missions played an important role in the arranging of marriages and foreign politics of the Medici. Remarkably, this historical revisionism is taken up only by very few art historians, even though we now know that the contribution of patricians to the cultural dynamics of early modern Florence was highly significant.
The ambition of this conference is to discuss the cultural contribution of patricians to Florentine society and to approach it from an interdisciplinary perspective.By stimulating the debate on an international level, we hope to shed more light on the nature and intentions of patrician art patronage and their collecting activities in this period.
Confirmed speakers include: Jean Boutier (╔cole des Hautes ╔tudes en Sciences Sociales, Marseille), R. Burr Litchfield (Brown University), Mario Bevilacqua (UniversitÓ degli studi di Firenze), Janie Cole (I Tatti/Harvard), Donatella Pegazzano (UniversitÓ degli studi di Firenze), Gert Jan van der Sman (Universiteit Leiden/NIKI) and Henk Th. van Veen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen).
For more information and registration: www.rug.nl/let/florentinepatricians
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