Catherine Kovesi - Luxury in the Renaissance? Origins of a paradigm

February 20, 2013

The Power of Luxury: Art and Culture at the Italian Courts in Machiavelli’s Lifetime
The Australian Institute of Art History
The University of Melbourne
19 and 20 February, 2013

Session Four - Made in Italy Then and Now
Wednesday 20 February 2.00 pm

Catherine Kovesi
Luxury in the Renaissance? Origins of a paradigm

The Renaissance in Italy arguably saw the origins of modern day global and consumer culture. Indeed it was in this place and time that a vernacular word for luxury was first coined. However, this paper will argue that popular and scholarly representations of the Renaissance as an ‘Age of Luxury’ are problematic and not ones that the princely elite of Italy would have recognized. In teasing apart the origins of the meanings of ‘luxury’, a more complex picture emerges which enables a more meaningful understanding of Italy’s place in the so-called luxury trades.


Catherine Kovesi graduated with a BA (Hons) in History and Italian from the University of Western Australia, and completed her doctorate in History at the University of Oxford in 1991 with a Hackett Foundation Scholarship. She has held fellowships at Oriel College, Oxford and at the University of Western Australia, and in 2008 was a Craig Hugh Smyth Fellow at the Harvard University Centre for Renaissance Studies at 'Villa I Tatti' in Florence. Catherine teaches subjects in late medieval and Renaissance History, as well as an overseas intensive subject in Venice.

Image notes
The Ecstasy of Saint Francis. Sassetta. source wikimedia commons link

nb. Entry created May 5 2013. Dated to Feb 20 (date of presentation) for indexing purposes


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