From the ancient world onward, patronage of the arts was important in art history. It is known in greatest detail in reference to medieval and Renaissance Europe, though patronage can also be traced in feudal Japan, the traditional Southeast Asian kingdoms, and elsewhere—art patronage tended to arise wherever a royal or imperial system and an aristocracy dominated a society and controlled a significant share of resources. Samuel Johnson defined a patron as "one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help".
Rulers, nobles and very wealthy people used patronage of the arts to endorse their political ambitions, social positions, and prestige. That is, patrons operated as sponsors. Some languages still use the term mecenate, derived from the name of Gaius Maecenas, generous friend and adviser to the Roman Emperor Augustus. Some patrons, such as the Medici of Florence, used artistic patronage to "cleanse" wealth that was perceived as ill-gotten through usury. Art patronage was especially important in the creation of religious art. The Roman Catholic Church and later Protestant groups sponsored art and architecture, as seen in churches, cathedrals, painting, sculpture and handicrafts.
While sponsorship of artists and the commissioning of artwork is the best-known aspect of the patronage system, other disciplines also benefited from patronage, including those who studied natural philosophy (pre-modern science), musicians, writers, philosophers, alchemists, astrologers, and other scholars. Artists as diverse and important as Chrétien de Troyes, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson all sought and enjoyed the support of noble or ecclesiastical patrons. Figures as late as Mozart and Beethoven also participated in the system to some degree; it was only with the rise of bourgeois and capitalist social forms in the 19th century that European culture moved away from its patronage system to the more publicly-supported system of museums, theaters, mass audiences and mass consumption that is familiar in the contemporary world.
This kind of system continues across many fields of the arts. Though the nature of the sponsors has changed—from churches to charitable foundations, and from aristocrats to plutocrats—the term patronage has a more neutral connotation than in politics. It may simply refer to direct support (often financial) of an artist, for example by grants. In the later part of the 20th century, the academic sub-discipline of patronage studies began to evolve, in recognition of the important and often neglected role that the phenomenon of patronage had played in the cultural life of previous centuries..
Read more about this topic: Patronage
Other articles related to "art, arts":
... The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois ... It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either entity ... News World Report as one of the top graduate art programs in the nation, as well as by Columbia University's National Arts Journalism survey as the most influential art school in ...
... Bellas George Bellows (Chicago Academy of Fine Arts) Wafaa Bilal James Blomfield (Chicago Academy of Fine Arts) Stan Brakhage Christopher Bratton Nick Cave Francis Chapin Susanna ...
... Cultural Revolution, there was an overhaul of many of the arts, with the intention of producing new and innovative art that reflected the benefits of a ... At the same time, other art forms flourished in the People's Republic during the Revolution ... Another form of the arts which was influenced, much in the same style as was the traditional theatre, was popular song ...
... being the location of MASS MoCA, there are numerous art galleries spread throughout the city, and some old mills have been coverted to lofts for artists to ...
... The Lied Center for Performing Arts is a performing arts venue used primarily for orchestra concerts and theatre performances ... The Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center is a two screen theater located on the UNL City Campus ...
Famous quotes containing the word arts:
“Most arts require long study and application; but the most useful art of all, that of pleasing, requires only the desire.”
—Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (16941773)
“Eliot dead, you saying,
And who is left to understand my jokes?
My old Brother in the arts . . . and besides, he was a smash of
—Robert Lowell (19171977)
“The great end of all human industry is the attainment of happiness. For this were arts invented, sciences cultivated, laws ordained, and societies modelled, by the most profound wisdom of patriots and legislators. Even the lonely savage, who lies exposed to the inclemency of the elements and the fury of wild beasts, forgets not, for a moment, this grand object of his being.”
—David Hume (17111776)