Conditions of Trade by Michael Baxandall Essay

1183 Words 5 Pages
In the article “Conditions of Trade,” 1 Michael Baxandall explains that fifteenth-century Italian art is a “deposit” resulting from the commercial interaction between the artist and the purchaser, who he refers to as a client. These works, as such, are “fossils of economic life,” as money, he states, plays an important role in the history of art. In contrast to our current perceptions of the relationship between the artist and art, “in which painters paint what they think best, and then look around for a buyer” the author examines how the content and form of these paintings were, determined by the customers. He states that the artists and clients were interconnected as specified in the legal agreements of subject matter, payment scheme …show more content…
Through the institutional authorization, Baxandall looks at integration of social, cultural and visual evaluation in a way that shows not only the visual art in social construction, but also how it plays a major role in social orders, from interactions between individuals to larger social structural orders.

Furthermore, he considers secondary sources in interpreting and analyzing the different artists’ paintings. Baxandall examines the importance of contracts, where marketing negotiations are made between an artist and their client. This includes detailed aspects in the content of the painting, the quantity and quality of materials used in the painting and the cost for labor in making the piece. He argues that although a painting is convincing and strong, the painting could, however, be reduced to nothing more than a constructional argument between the buyer and the seller, by explaining the mechanics through which the Renaissance artists went about to develop their talent. A painting in Italy during that period resulted in a social relationship between the painter, who produced the picture, and the client, who supported with the funding, provided for the project, had the intention to use it. He clearly suggests that the great materials and effort placed into an art piece, practice the groundwork in in-depth analysis of the painting in the fifteenth- century Italy. He looks

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