How do artists start commissions?


Juliana Anikias, the donor of the Vienna Dioscorides (6th century), had herself depicted, flanked by allegorical figures of generosity and wisdom, in a prominent illustration of the donated work (fol. 6 verso).

The (unidentified) patrons of Masaccio’s Trinity (ca. 1428) are depicted in a praying position, on a lower plane than the Virgin and St. John (as well as the Virgin and St. John on a lower plane than the three persons of the Holy Trinity).

Sharing the spatial environment with the characters of the sacra conversazione, although in a praying position, Piero della Francesca represents the commissioner of the work, Federico da Montefeltro (Pala di Brera, 1472).

Pope Julius II (here portrayed by Raphael) was one of the main patrons of the Renaissance, and largely responsible for the shift of cultural centrality from Florence to Rome, where he attracted artists of the stature of Michelangelo, with whom he had a stormy relationship (reflected in the film The Torment and the Ecstasy).

What was the relationship between the patron and the artist like?

The name of this contract is quite descriptive, a 360-degree all-encompassing perspective: recording records (record contract), composing (publishing contract), playing live (tour and concert production, or at least booking), communication and career opportunities (management), advertising and merchandising (image rights and trademarks).

In these cases, between 2 and 5 different contracts will be signed, which will be closely linked to each other, both formally by referring to each other in their wording (not always) and in an unwritten manner during negotiations with the artist, as the signing of one contract will be conditional on the acceptance of the others.

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The artist or band receives a percentage of the income generated by the records as consideration for his services as a performer, being the record label the one who will pay the production costs and will be in charge of the promotion.

In some cases, there are record labels that also deal with the promotion of concerts, or they have a company linked to them for the production of live performances, tours, festivals, etc. In such cases, the agreement consists of this promoter organizing the concerts of the artist or band, which in turn may receive a fixed fee or participate in the profits obtained.

Examples of patrons

Thanks to these experiences I expanded my training in psychotherapy where I use art to improve the emotional well being of people. Form of Life In my understanding art contemplates not only an artistic exercise as we usually understand it as a creative practice or simply verbs of action (painting, singing, playing an instrument, dancing etc) but also a critical experience with what surrounds us and linked to the idea of creativity is a different way of thinking, being and also feel the world.

In this sense, a bike ride can be a moment that awakens our creativity as long as there is a special experience and feeling, a restless question, something that makes it different in that instant of time.

I grew up surrounded by Art and Thought. My father, poet, writer of lives and painter, focused much of his life to show me closely which was that way. My mother in her transforming process through her passion and with her knowledge of Human Philosophy guided me through the paths of creation.

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What was the importance of the patrons

If you tell them that you live from your work and that you have to charge for it, they will surely not take you seriously, because they understand that you do it because you like it and, if so, you can do it without charging or at a low price.

In terms of work, the artist is often undervalued and socially the practice of art is not understood as a normalized profession, as could be practicing law or running a garage.

Surely when you decided to become an artist, including family and friends, they did not take you very seriously or advised you to choose any other profession that society considers more “formal” and stable.

A friend’s anecdote: “Dedicate yourself to sculpture? Okay, but it will be for weekends and vacations. You’re not thinking of leaving the office? It’s all very well as entertainment, but what are you going to live on?”.

There is the conviction that artists live on air and for the love of art, that they are generous, detached, always ready to give away their work, to collaborate altruistically with all kinds of social or cultural initiatives, out of an innate condition of philanthropy.

How do artists start commissions?
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