a1 Professor, University of Venice, Ca' Foscari, Dipartimento di Economia, Cannaregio 873, 30121 Venice, Italy. E-mail: email@example.com.
a2 Assistant Professor, University of Milan Bicocca, Dipartimento di Economia Politica, Piazza Ateneo Nuovo, 1, 20126 Milan, Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We study the seventeenth-century market for figurative paintings in Italy analyzing original contracts between patrons and artists. We show that a number of supply and demand factors affected prices. We find a positive and concave relation between prices and size of paintings reflecting economies of scale. We show evidence of a positive relationship between prices and the number of figures depicted. Trade in paintings was sufficient to equalize prices between different destinations. Finally, we provide support for the Galenson hypothesis of a positive relation between age of experimental artists and quality as priced by the market.
We are thankful to Silvia Marchesi, Deirdre McCloskey, Luca Mocarelli, Piergiovanna Natale, Laura Onofri, Luciano Pezzolo, Giuseppe Tattara, Paolo Tedeschi, Valerio Varini, and two anonymous referees for helpful suggestions and David Galenson, Philip Sohm and Richard Spear for encouraging comments. We are especially indebted to Jean-Laurent Rosenthal for valuable comments and suggestions. The Gabinetto di Numismatica of the Sforza Castle of Milan provided significant help on monetary issues.