Beyond Murillo: New Data-Driven Research on the Painting Market in Early Modern Seville

Felipe Álvarez de Toledo López-Herrera

Abstract


While data-driven research has outlined the development of early modern art markets in Europe, the Iberian peninsula remains a lacuna in our knowledge. Seville fulfilled all the necessary prerequisites to support a sophisticated art trade. In the 16thand early 17thcenturies, it was a large metropolis of over 100,000 inhabitants, with a growing merchant class and access to foreign markets due to its role as port to the Indies. Yet its market for paintings remains understudied. 

In this paper, we employ the conceptual framework of art market studies to reexamine the Sevillian art market in the 16th and 17th centuries with new evidence. First, we present the first relational database of Sevillian painters, developed by digitizing and mining twenty volumes of archival sources published from 1899 to 2006. Using this information, we provide estimates for the number of painters in the city from 1475-1700.We then divide the market into primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, and explore the evidence for the existence of other actors and institutions vital to the art trade. Finally, we finish by presenting multiple avenues for research that might be pursued in the future.


Keywords


Art market; Seville; Sevilla; Guild; Dealers; Transatlantic trade; Database; Relational

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.23690/jams.v3i2.94

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