The Value of the Renaissance Past in Contemporary Culture
What is the significance of doing Renaissance Studies now, not only in terms of the field per se, but in terms of what the field has to say to contemporary society? In the past, the field of Renaissance Studies has drawn themes and orientations from particular concerns of the moment, without losing its rigorous focus, and has given back crucial insights to those studying it. Could the same be said today? To facilitate a multifaceted answer, this book attempts to cover some of the principal areas of this interdisciplinary field within the humanities and social sciences. Contributors include specialists in history, languages and literatures, the history of science, cultural studies, art history, philosophy, sociology and politics.
Heinrich Lang 3 Renaissance Economies: Markets, Tastes, Representations
1 Introduction When in 1501 the merchant banker Alessandro Gondi ordered four Oriental rugs from his Florentine correspondent Niccolò Carsidoni, who was active in Pera, he not only referred to a well-established mercantile network, but he also had in his mind to fashion his domestic environment. In his letter to Carsidoni he explained: But I might ask you to send the said things to me via Ragusa and Ancona […] one rug for a large bed. This rug shall be fine and beautiful as much as possible, but it should not be a top quality item. It shall be made of hair, 5 2/3 braccia long and refined in so far you would judge it to be due for a person like me (i.e. at the same status) and for a nice room.2 Gondi belonged to a Florentine elite family. He had clear ideas about the practices of display and, hence, he described the objects he wanted 1 This essay derives from my current work on a project funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: DFG) ‘Markets – Networks – Spaces’ and is by no means an exhaustively elaborated article on the main subject. Here I am trying to give some insights based on some documentation collected from the archives I am working on. 2 Marco Spallanzani, Oriental Rugs in Renaissance Florence (Genova: 2007), doc. 115, 128: ‘Ma vorrei che dette chose mi mandassi per via di Rauggia e d’Anchona […] Uno tapetto per uno letuccio, che sia fine e bellissimo quanto pu...
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