Political Corruption In Venice

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Although Smith recognized that guilds have the possibility to create political corruption in governments, this was not the case in Venice, as the Venetian government controlled the flow of commissions in the city: "Like virtually every other trade practiced in the city, the arts were protected and controlled by the state" (Brown 41). Since the government held control over the market, they would decide who would receive commissions to suit their own needs. For instance, one of the most frequent guilds to receive commissions in Venice was the Bellini family workshop. While many family workshops had broken up during the fifteenth century in Italy, they flourished in Venice. The head of the family, Jacopo Bellini, taught his two sons, Giovanni and Gentile, how to paint, and together they would execute commissions from the Venetian government, as "this period was admittedly more a commercial business than a vehicle for self-expression" (Brown 41). …show more content…
This is unlike modern artists today, as an artist can paint whatever he or she wants. Brown writes that "Court records suggest that territorial disputes were common, with carvers and painters each jealously guarding (though not always successfully) the exclusive right to practice their craft" (Brown 42). The Bellini family, therefore, was unable to produce anything other than paintings that the state commissioned. Since everything was regulated by the state, guilds in Venice held no political power (Brown 44), and instead they influenced the market through the restriction of members outside of the

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