Umbrian Patrons 1480-1510; A Study in the Dynamics of Regional Patronage
Between 1480 and 1510 the churches of Northern Umbria underwent a period of palpable renovation and adornment. Recent scholarship has contributed an understanding of the artists contracted to undertake this work, who include the painters Signorelli, Perugino, Raphael and Pinturicchio. Such scholarship however, has focused on the artists and individual works, and not on patrons, or the sites of the commissions, giving a single dimensional understanding of these works, bereft of their social context. In addition Umbrian patronage of this period has been classed as backward-looking and lacking in innovation, and the output dismissed by art historians as peripheral to the history of art.
My research centres on three key urban centres to investigate the dynamics of patronage as a phenomenon in the region. The extent of works commissioned simultaneously within this small geographical area and the connections traceable among patrons means that research on Umbrian patronage has the potential to broaden our understanding of a significant area of art production in the Renaissance and to deepen our comprehension of the operation of patronage as a social practice.