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The Economics of Renaissance Art

Federico Etro ()

No 2017:13, Working Papers from Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari"

Abstract: I analyze the Renaissance art market in Italy through a unique dataset on primary commissions between 1285 and 1550. Hedonic regressions on the real price of paintings allow me to advance evidence that the art market was to a large extent competitive, and that an important determinant of artistic innovation during Renaissance was related to economic incentives. Price differentials reflected quality differentials as perceived at the time (whose proxy is the length of the biography of Vasari, in the 1568 Edition of his Vite) and did not depend on the regional destination of the commissions, as expected under monopolistic competition with free entry. I show an inverse-U relation between prices and age of execution, which is consistent with a reputational theory of artistic effort, and a substantial increase of the real price of paintings since the 1420s. The latter suggests that artistic differentiation, deeper realism and innovations(as linear perspective) may have been driven by increasing profitability of the profession.

Keywords: Renaissance; Economic theory of art history (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N8 Z1 L1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul, nep-his and nep-ino
Date: 2017
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6) Track citations by RSS feed

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Related works:
Journal Article: The Economics of Renaissance Art (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: The Economics of Renaissance Art (2018) Downloads
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