Shopping was as important in the Renaissance as it is today. This fascinating and original book breaks new ground in the area of Renaissance material culture, focusing on the marketplace and such related topics as middle-class to courtly consumption, the provision of foodstuffs, and the acquisition of antiquities and holy relics. The book investigates how men and women of different social classes went to the streets, squares, and shops to buy goods they needed and wanted on a daily-or a once-in-a-lifetime-basis, during the Renaissance period. Evelyn Welch draws on wide-ranging sources to expose the fears, anxieties, and social possibilities of the Renaissance marketplace and to show the impact of these attitudes on developing urban spaces. She considers transient forms of sales such as fairs, auctions, and lotteries as well as consumers themselves. Finally, she explores antiquities and indulgences, both of which posed dramatic challenges to contemporary notions of market value and to the concept of commodification itself.
Evelyn Welch is professor of Renaissance studies, Queen Mary, University of London, and was formerly reader in the history of art, University of Sussex. She is the author of Art and Authority in Renaissance Milan, published by Yale University Press, and of Art in Renaissance Italy.