Art & Architecture

Kings and Connoisseurs: Collecting Art in Seventeenth-Century Europe

A vivid and exciting account of royal collectors, art dealers, connoisseurs, and the rise of old master paintings


Aug 15, 2023
8 x 10 in.
226 b/w illus.
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Old master paintings are among the most valuable and prestigious of the visual arts, and the best examples command the highest prices of any luxury commodity. In Kings and Connoisseurs, Jonathan Brown tells the story of how painting rose to this exalted status. The transformation of painting from an inexpensive to a costly art form reached a crucial stage in the royal courts of Europe in the seventeenth century, where rulers and aristocrats assembled huge collections, often in short periods of time. By comparing collecting and collectors at these courts, Brown explains the formation of new attitudes toward pictures, as well as the mechanisms that supported the enterprise of collecting, including the emergence of the art dealer, the development of connoisseurship, and the publication of sumptuous picture books of various collections. The result is an exciting narrative of greed and passion, played out against a background of international politics and intrigue.