What Kind of Hierarchies Do We Encounter in the Study of Art from 1400-1600?

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What kind of hierarchies do we encounter in the study of art from 1400-1600?

Ideas of the Renaissance

The hierarchical phenomenon operating between the years 1400-1600 shaped and organised Renaissance society, heavily defining codes of conduct and correct communal correlations. What’s more, it was a comprehensive and widespread concept that manifested from various angles in Italian Renaissance art. Hierarchical influence can be encountered when considering the contention between several aspects of Renaissance art, and the bearing this classification and ranking process had on the canon of art history was considerable given the periods place in it. Specifically, this ladder of position operated within the competitive frameworks between the liberal and mechanical arts, Early Renaissance and High Renaissance artists, male and female artists, patrons and their employees in the practice of patronage, genres of art works, and painters and sculptors. When trying to understand how a period is structured and works as a whole, consideration of the hierarchies operating within it reveal some clear points of focus. Societies generally work on a ‘pyramid of prestige’, and Renaissance Italy followed this rule. Each societal member had a place, and was expected to fully understand the boundaries this position placed upon them. Societal roles were clear, and every person was conscious of their social standing, whether it be that they were higher or lower than the next person. This broad spectrum placed nobility and ruling families at the top of the pyramid, such as the Florentine banking family, the Medici, and the lower class merchants, artists and pheasants beneath them. At a time when rank, age and gender determined everything about ones societal position, ones family name and birth status was inevitably going to hold considerable weight in regard to where one…...

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