Patrons of Religious Renaissance Art and their Influence

Sarah Moore

Religion was an incredibly powerful element in Renaissance society. From the early Byzantine period through the Counter-Reformation, Christianity heavily influenced the arts, music, and society as a whole. Wealthy patrons were a vital source commissioning religious art pieces, but often this was their way of buying piety, having saintly representations of themselves included in the works as well as donating large sums to the church. This is, in similarity to purchasing indulgences, a way that the wealthy used their money, power, and influence to shape society. Overall, the ideas of the church first shaped the ideals of proper behavior in society, and the wealthy, privileged class reinforced those ideals by commissioning works of art that both benefited the church as well as depicted them in glory towards the heavens. The religious symbolism within their commissions allowed their piety and power to be recognizable to their publics. This served the dual purpose of showing their elevation in society and promoting their religious convictions. Therefore the wealthy members of society held a large amount of power in terms of promoting the religious ideals of the Renaissance.

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