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The Patron's Payoff:
Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art
Jonathan K. Nelson & Richard J. Zeckhauser
With a foreword by Michael Spence

Book Description | Table of Contents
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"The book's interdisciplinary approach provides a blueprint for others who might test these concepts with patrons and periods necessarily omitted from this study. Common language and readable prose illuminate the theory and animate the relationships between works of art, patrons, artists, and audience. This book will be useful to art historians, cultural historians, economists, and others interested in the significance of the production and consumption of elite culture."--D.N. Dow, Choice

"These are all well-written, interesting, well-researched essays, varying in chronological range and in geographical focus."--Bernadine Barnes,

"[T]his volume is a model of how cross-disciplinary interaction can enrich the understanding of practitioners in two participating disciplines."--Neil De Marchi, Journal of Economic Literature

"The Patron's Payoff is impressive not only for its innovative interdisciplinary approach and the compilation of an extensive source material . . . the reading [is] very entertaining, and clearly shows that even high-profile science can be attractive and intelligible."--Mila Horky, Sehepunkte

"[This] book [is] an innovative examination of art, economics, and communication that should be required reading for all who admire Italy's grand masterpieces as well as those who have made the study of Renaissance art and architecture a profession."--Fredrika Jacobs, European Legacy

"One hopes that information economists will gain as much as art historians can from this book."--Sally Hickson, Renaissance and Reformation


"If the idea appeals to you, of going back in time to the extraordinary period of the Renaissance in Italy with the patrons and the artists . . . to understand the incentives and the constraints, the opportunities and the missteps, then you must give this book a try. For me reading the book felt similar to visiting a great art museum in the company of a knowledgeable, insightful, and engaging curator: a thoroughly rewarding experience."--from the foreword by Michael Spence, 2001 Nobel laureate in economics

"Nelson and Zeckhauser have written a pathbreaking study on the role of artistic and architectural commissions in Renaissance Florence which, by its new and sophisticated methodology, employing game theory used in modern economics and political science, presents a model for similar studies of patronage in every era. Their analysis of the commissioning game is a must read for anyone interested in the hows and whys of artistic patronage during an era particularly sensitive to the possibilities presented by conspicuous consumption."--James Cuno, president and director, Art Institute of Chicago

"This genial and imaginative collaboration of art history and economic theory offers a genuinely original perspective on the commissioning game, and employs the economics of information to evaluate the patron's payoff."--Dale Kent, University of California, Riverside

"The Patron's Payoff is an innovative study of the messages artworks in Renaissance Italy tacitly communicated about the men and women who commissioned them. Nelson and Zeckhauser make a compelling case that the currency of the payoff for patrons embraced such critical social values as honor, status, family alliance, and friendship. Building their analysis upon recent economic theories, the authors offer a suggestive model for research in Renaissance studies and beyond."--Louis A. Waldman, Villa I Tatti--The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies

"A stimulating and challenging work, The Patron's Payoff offers a plausible new approach to artistic creation that has the benefit of a known set of economic tools and results. An interesting marriage between art historical and economics perspectives."--William N. Goetzmann, Yale University

"In applying a distinctive economic theory to the area of Renaissance patronage, this book fosters an interdisciplinary approach to the study of early modern European art."--Adrian Randolph, Dartmouth College

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File created: 4/21/2017

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