Patronage and Power
Ada Palmer and Eufemia Baldessarre
As classical culture became a tool of competition for the powerful, humanists and artists came to be expected ornaments of kingly courts, republican capitals, Church centers, and of any merchant household aspiring to political status. Florence’s celebrated Medici family began as wealthy bankers, but spent lavishly on art, scholarship, libraries, and public works, using the nobility of antiquity to win the respect and awe of peers and foreign powers. While relationships with patrons like the Medici were sometimes intimate and familial, serving a patron remained a form of unfreedom whose tensions shaped all Renaissance art and literature.