Fine Art Collector | Spring 2018

© Copyright The National Gallery, London 2018

to commission works to enhance their own social status through his association. An example of which is the artwork known as the Arnolfini Portrait of c.1434 (Fig. 2) , which was most likely commissioned by a wealthy Italian cloth merchant called Arnolfini based in Bruges. Therefore, in addition to showing the changing status of the artist, the case of van Eyck also exemplifies the increase in patronage from wealthy individuals for artworks for their own private homes rather than commissions by the Catholic Church or donations to the same. This reveals changes in both subject matter and patrons,

which would continue to grow throughout the Renaissance. The change in artists’ status, and increase in private patronage of art during the Renaissance, coincides with the rise of Humanism inspired by intellectual ancient Greek and Roman teachings, undertaken by scholars, writers, and civic leaders. This began initially in Italy but spread throughout the whole of Europe. Humanism can be said to be a response to the challenge of medieval scholastic education, which emphasised practical, pre- professional and scientific studies. Under the influence of Humanism, scholars also paid attention to grammar,

© Copyright The National Gallery, London 2018


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