Painting and the Luxury Arts in Paris, 1490-1515: Objects and Their Urban Contexts

Baker, Katherine Eve, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Goedde, Lawrence O., Department of Art, University of Virginia

How do you deal with collaborative artistic practice, particularly in a context where production processes differed so greatly from those ascribed to the Artist, that imagined genius who works alone? How do you reconstruct an artistic tradition when you have just enough archival information to provide the names of artisans and brief glimpses of their careers, but rarely the actual objects they produced? This dissertation offers answers to these questions, while also presenting a methodological framework and approach to collaboration that can be used in the study of other artistic centers before the bifurcation of artists from artisans. Across four chapters, this study examines the varied creative and social lives of Paris' painters (chapter 1), printers and illuminators (chapter 2), tapestry weavers (chapter 3), and embroiders, goldsmiths, and ivory carvers (chapter 4), with an eye to patterns of cross - community relationships. To clarify and organize the different kinds of collaborative making that were prevalent in Parisian artistic production ca. 1500, a "taxonomy of collaboration" is used throughout the text: translational collaboration (from designs to finished objects in other media), homogeneous collaboration (production between members of the same profession), and hybridizing collaboration (objects that incorporate the labor of individuals from different artistic professions). Concepts that move beyond the limitations of art history's propensity for specialization that privileges a single medium, these categories also mark the usefulness of genealogy and urban history for the analysis of cooperative artistic relationships - - family members and neighbors being a readymade pool of potential collaborators. Completing this reconstructive process iii is the addition of a set of hitherto untranscribed documents: estate inventories that record the visual material of contemporary domestic spaces. Like genealogy and urban history, using inventories to approach the subject of Parisian artistic production from 1490-1515 can appear oblique. Their evidentiary Value, however, is cumulative. Each small addition, whether a newly attributed object or a social connection between artists, brings to light more information about this context, each detail adding to our understanding of this moment in French art.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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