• The Prince's magnificence

    The Prince's magnificence

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The Prince's Magnificence

During the XV century Magnificence and Liberality were more and more numbered among the supreme Virtues...

... above par: they mainly manifested in the prince’s inclination to commission outstanding works of art and architecture by that means providing tangible evidence that he shunned accumulation of riches and power on his own behalf, as a despot, but instead was ready to deploy them to enhance the dynasty’s honour and prestige thus contributing to the common good.
This was the concept - which in the ensuing decades would have provided undisputable political justification for the great XV and XVI centuries urban achievements - initially underlying the art of illumination, ideal expression of courtly art.
Already at that period stigmatized as frivolous manifestations, conversely, all ostentations of magnificence fostered by the Este - and by Borso more than by any other - actually concealed an overt ideological and political message: «He is in great error whoever thinks neither high nor ambitious», Borso wrote in 1468 in reply to pope Pius II’s disdainful remarks, «for all we set out to do to exhalt the Household, we have accomplished it above all to possess good and perpetual reasons over Reggio and Modena as well as over our estates of the Empire now part of the dukedom, than to add to any other vainglory».
To the first duke of Ferrara, the patronage of works of art found no satisfaction in itself, but acted as instrument of political legitimation of the dynastic rule.

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