'A superb, information-packed book' The Art Book 'A vivid, lively account of a complex society in which art was made to express the wealth, status, worldly concerns and religious aspirations of its patrons.' Art Quarterly 'She writes authoritatively, drawing on a vast store of knowledge.' Frances Spalding, The Sunday Times 'A refreshing contrast to the abstraction and intellectual constipation that characterise much of the cultural history written in Italy.' Apollo A comprehensive study of the patrons of fifteenth-century Italian art, this book investigates the role they played in the evolution of the Renaissance and the revival of the styles and themes of the art of ancient Rome. This process was far from uniform: the classical tradition provided flattering models not only for absolute rulers of Italy's many principalities, but also for the republican governments of Florence and Venice, and even for the pope in Rome. Above all, these fifteenth-century patrons were Christian, and much of the art they commissioned gave visual expression to their religious beliefs and duties. This book examines how and why they financed their projects, what factors lay behind their choice of themes and styles, and the extent to which they themselves were involved in the final appearance of these palaces, churches, statues, altarpieces and fresco cycles which form a landmark in the history of European art.