The classical adage “civilization follows commerce” took on new intensity in the Renaissance as mercantile and banking dynasties such as the De Medicis of Italy and the Fuggers of Germany established European-wide networks of commerce and became patrons of the arts and sciences. During this era, in fact, art itself became a business; hence to understand the interaction of these two forces requires multiple perspectives.
Sheryl Reiss is a specialist in Italian Renaissance art and architecture with particular interest in the history of patronage and collecting. She is also interested in topics including women and gender; archaism in early modern art; artistic and intellectual exchange between Italy and Northern Europe; and funerary art and commemoration. She has edited two books and published extensively on the economy of Italian art and patronage in the early-sixteenth century.