In Search of the Patron: Late Antique Styles in Context

  • Bente Kiilerich University of Bergen
Keywords: art history, archaeology, patrons, patronage, mosaics, styles, Late Antique

Abstract

The people who commissioned artworks and monumental decorations in late antiquity are for the most part unknown. Even when names are recorded, it is often difficult to tell to what extent the demands of the patron determined the visual characteristics of a given work. Since styles were tied to workshop traditions and contentions, it can be argued that in most instances, the patron had but limited influence on stylistic properties. Evidence actually suggests that the style of a work often came about independently of the one who commissioned or purchased it. The style was conditioned by function and context. The article, therefore, proposes a functional paradigm for evaluating visual expressions, defining three main domains of representation: public monuments, religious programmes, and artworks. In search of the late antique patron, the conclusion reached is that the patron had most impact in the religious domain.

Author Biography

Bente Kiilerich, University of Bergen
Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies.
Published
2019-03-20