ORIGINS OF PRIVATE ART COLLECTION
According to Umberto Eco , pure enjoyment of beauty should not be weighed down by possession. However, rarely is anyone capable of such a “pure” enjoyment. I want to own a beautiful thing, to be able to admire it often, to share this pleasure with those who are nearby, and what to dissemble, I want others to also admire your treasures.
Scientists believe that gathering is one of the genetically determined predispositions of a person, one of his instincts. For millennia, people have collected not only items that had economic and consumer benefits, but also those that had special properties and were not subject to direct material use in order to satisfy personal needs for the sake of survival. For example, the inhabitants of the Yeni Cave (France) collected samples of stones and shells that had an unusual shape and color, which indicates the presence of an aesthetic feeling in our distant ancestors.
In traditional societies of the archaic, ancient and medieval eras, the collection, storage and presentation of certain objects seized from their utilitarian sphere for various reasons gradually developed. Among these motives, sacred, economic, socially prestigious, aesthetic, etc. should be mentioned. But the separation of individual objects from their chaotic set did not always turn these groups into collections.
Treasures in which were stored what was valuable and significant for the owner: family jewelry, coins, expensive utensils and valuable weapons cannot be called collections. Expensive objects that were collected in churches and monasteries: valuable manuscripts, objects of worship, etc. – also not yet a collection. Although cult objects and jewelry are sometimes works of art of the highest artistic level, only with the advent of secularism, freed from the utilitarian art, collection in the modern sense of the word could appear.
We will begin our consideration of the origins of collecting from the Renaissance. It was at this time that it became purposeful and massive, descriptions of collections appeared in order to popularize and attract the attention of connoisseurs and lovers. This phenomenon spreads later throughout Europe and causes the heyday of private collecting also in Russia in the 18th century.
The heyday of collecting in Italy of the 15th century was facilitated by a powerful spiritual upsurge in the country, an unprecedented flowering of fine and decorative art, and the discovery of works of ancient culture during excavations. It was the latter circumstance that gave the name to the era. The bearers of the humanistic worldview sought to “revive”, to make the role model of ancient artists and writers a role model.
Since the mid-15th century, interest in the beauty and rarity of objects has been growing in certain sections of society, and there is a desire to collect and display them in order to demonstrate their power and refined taste. Under the influence of humanists, an active, targeted search for items to replenish meetings begins. The new collection was also associated with the formation of historical consciousness in a person and the discovery of the specific value of works of art, with greater than before collectors’ interest in art collections.
The art collections of this time were characterized not only by the fact that they included works of painting, graphics, plastics, but also by the fact that they were appropriately presented for viewing and became carriers of humanistic content. The works of art in such collections carried a certain semantic load. The humanist Bartolomeo Facho in his book “On Famous Men” emphasized that collecting paintings and other objects is worthy of every outstanding person.
One of the first special rooms to house the collection was the office of the ruler or an influential person – “studiolo”, which in Italian meant a small room for research or reflection. The name and functions of the studios testify to the intellectual qualities of the ideal ruler of the Renaissance. There was a certain program in the decoration of the cabinets. Thus, the interior of the office of Federico de Montefeltro in Urbino included wall murals depicting the character of the owner with the image of buildings and landscapes, allegorical figures were in niches. On the frieze above the painting were placed portraits of philosophers, prophets, poets. The ceilings were painted with the emblems and mottos of the duke.
The ruling Medici dynasty in Florence, collecting rich collections and patronizing the sciences and art, turned its city into the cultural center of the Italian Renaissance. The Medici purchased works of the ancient past, as well as ordered paintings and sculptures by contemporary artists. Their collections were available to art lovers and artists. Almost all young Florentine artists, including Michelangelo, studied in their garden using antique sculpture samples.