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A Study in the Social History of Art
Editor: Paolo Coen
Recent interest in the economic aspects of the history of art have taken traditional studies into new areas of enquiry. Going well beyond provenances or prices of individual objects, our understanding of the arts has been advanced by research into the demands, intermediaries and clients in the market.
Eighteenth-century Rome offers a privileged view of such activities, given the continuity of remarkable investments by the local ruling class, combined with the decisive impact of external agents, largely linked to the Grand Tour. This book, the result of collaboration between international specialists, brings back into the spotlight protagonists, facts and dynamics that have remained unexplored for many years.
Seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish paintings were aesthetic, intellectual, and economic touchstones in the Parisian art world of the Revolutionary era, but their importance within this framework, while frequently acknowledged, never attracted much subsequent attention. Darius A. Spieth’s inquiry into Revolutionary Paris and the Market for Netherlandish Art reveals the dominance of “Golden Age” pictures in the artistic discourse and sales transactions before, during, and after the French Revolution. A broadly based statistical investigation, undertaken as part of this study, shows that the upheaval reduced prices for Netherlandish paintings by about 55% compared to the Old Regime, and that it took until after the July Revolution of 1830 for art prices to return where they stood before 1789.