Medieval and Early Modern Centre: Global Middle Ages seminar
The Botti Family in Sixteenth-Century Florence: Cultural Patrons and Trans-Atlantic Merchants
Speaker: Nicholas Scott Baker, Macquarie University
There are two tales that can be told about the Botti family in sixteenth-century Florence. The first positions them as minor players in the cultural circle centered on the Medici court in the middle decades of the century who amassed a significant art collection, including paintings by Raphael and Andrea del Sarto, and prints by Albrecht Dürer. The second locates the family at the frontier of Europe’s expanding economic horizons in the period: establishing a branch of their commercial firm in Cadiz in 1519 and developing a commercial network that extended from the Levant to the Caribbean. In either case, the family has remained largely unstudied by both economic and art historians. In particular, no study has yet attempted to weave both tales into a coherent whole, instead each has been considered in isolation as if these two aspects of the family’s life were discrete and unconnected. In this paper I want to align the cultural and commercial in a way that better reflects the realities of sixteenth-century Florence and also consider how this interwoven, single narrative fits might help us to think about the Italian Renaissance in a global perspective.
Kevin Lee Room,
Level 6, Lobby H,
Image: Alonso Sánchez Coello View of Seville with the Flota de Indias (late 16th c.)