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The Market for Paintings in Baroque Venice


  • Federico Etro


  • Laura Pagani



We study the art market in the XVI-XVIII centuries with an econometric analysis of a new dataset on original contracts between patrons and artists for commissions of oil paintings of historical subject in the Venetian Republic. Size of paintings, reputation of the painters as perceived at the time, type of commissions and aggregate demand shocks (the plague) a¤ect prices as expected. We ?nd evidence of contractual solutions to moral hazard problems: since quality was not contractable, prices were made conditional on measurable features correlated with quality as the number of human ?gures. We also ?nd strong evidence of price equalization between high-demand and low-demand towns due to painters?mobility. Finally, we provide support for the Galenson hypothesis of a positive relation between age of experimental artists and quality as priced by the market. The results are con?rmed for other Italian art centres.

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  • Federico Etro & Laura Pagani, 2010. "The Market for Paintings in Baroque Venice," Working Papers 191, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:191

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