This volume on the changing status of the artist in the early modern period draws on case studies to explore and question the notion that the later 15th and 16th centuries witnessed the emergence of the modern idea of the artist.
This book focuses attention on the theme of the artist and especially the changing status of the artist in the early modern period. In a series of case studies-some devoted to a single artist and others dealing more broadly with artistic practice-the authors explore and question the widely held notion that the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries witnessed the emergence of the modern idea of the artist. After an introductory discussion of some of the fundamental assumptions in modern Western culture about the artist as genius, the book investigates artists in Renaissance Italy, the various claims for status that they made, and the claims made on their behalf. The book then expands traditional art history's focus on Italy and examines artists and art production in Germany and the Netherlands during the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In two concluding case studies of Northern European artists of slightly later periods-Vermeer and Watteau-the authors consider factors that influence the status and reputation of artists during their lifetimes and after their death. This is the second of six volumes in the series Art and Its Histories, created to accompany the Open University undergraduate course of the same title.