chapter  1
45 Pages

Twelve Monuments, Five Altarpieces, Five Chapels, and a Fresco

Frari Patronage and Renaissance Venetian Political Economy

The works in question were supported by and expressive of an equally encompassing network of commercial and political endeavors through which a group of Venetian patrician families attempted to achieve and maintain the strongest possible international position for themselves and the Republic during the multiple grave challenges of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. In the late fifteenth century Fantin became capitanio of Padua, a member of the family married the daughter of a stradioto in Padua, and another joined Padua's wool guild. This involvement would seem to be reflected in the choice of Paduan artists, including Jacopo da Montagnana, for the chapel's frescoes. When the western galleys that produced their fortunes encountered difficulties in the 1480s, they received financial assistance from Zuan de Beolco, a Milanese noble and financier to the Sforza and other important Milanese families, who invested personally in the voyages and seems also to have been the catalyst for investments by numerous other Lombards.