Business and marketing in 20th century art

Essay by tinkabelle18University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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In the past the concept of art combined with business and commerce was a common and accepted practice among artists and society. Renaissance and Baroque workshops were quite different from those in the twentieth century. Modern artists create 'high' art deemed enlightening, whereas artists from centuries past created art for specific purposes. In comparison to the artists of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, it is a valid statement to propose that twentieth century artists face a greater challenge to think in the strategic terms of business and marketing.

During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the artist was ideally identified as a 'craftsman'. The production of art was merely a job, similar to that of a carpenter or shoe maker; as such there was little economic or social difference between craftsman and artist. Even after becoming a distinguished painter, many artists continued to work on handicraft as well, for instance Antonio Pollajuolo continued to operate a goldsmith workshop.

This not to say that Alessandro Botticelli painted a baker's shop sign while painting his La Primavera 1482. Rather beyond their paintings, artists like Botticelli and Flippio Lippi were active painters of cassoni (wedding chests) and bridal plates which were considered handicraft items of a craftsman. Thus, being a craftsman enabled the artist to operate their workshops as business enterprises.

Furthermore artists of the Renaissance and Baroque worked in a commission or contracted based system of patronage, where works are specifically requested by a patron. The patron, usually the Church, or the wealthy and powerful merchants, would commission works. Both the artist and the patron would meet, and sign a legal document stating the materials to be utilized, set a date for completion and set a payment to the artist. This ultimately meant assurance for artists of these periods that the work of...