DEMYSTIFYING ART COMMISSIONS

The monumental sculpture by Michelangelo in the Medici chapel at the Church of San Lorenzo

The monumental sculpture by Michelangelo in the Medici chapel at the Church of San Lorenzo

This New Year began in Florence, a city where the imprint of the influential Medici family’s status and patronage is ever present. The commissioning of sculpture and painting in the Renaissance by this wealthy and influential family is almost overwhelming. The Uffizi Gallery, once the banking offices of the Medici family, remains one of the largest and most impressive art collections in the world today.

Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, the first patron of the arts in the family, commissioned Brunelleschi to reconstruction of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, in 1419. Michelangelo was then commissioned to create the grand sculptured which surround the Medici family tomb within the chapel.

Who can forget the evocative image of the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli or the Primavera. Both paintings were commissioned by the Medici family in the 1400s and remain today two of the most famous paintings in art history.

The commission of art was at that time, and for many years to come, an elitist symbol of power, status and society. It was interesting to return to Sweden and the Art Agency, enriched by the Grand Duke of Tuscany’s passion for art patronage, and compare and reflect on how commissioning of artwork today has changed and to possibly demystify the preconception.

Botticelli’s  Birth of Venus  painted between 1477 and 1478 for Giovanni and Lorenzo de’ Medici

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus painted between 1477 and 1478 for Giovanni and Lorenzo de’ Medici


In 2018 the Agency was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on several commissions with clients in Sweden, Denmark and further a field. For me, the concept of a bespoke piece of art being created for an individual as a gift, personal art investment or a specific space is an exciting and challenging journey.

Commission work  Sunday Afternoon  - Marta Lafuente

Commission work Sunday Afternoon – Marta Lafuente

One of the most rewarding commissions was painted by the Catalan figurative artist Marta Lafuente. A Swedish couple fell in love with the mixed media work of Marta early in 2018. They had been captivated by her unique style and composition whilst visiting an exhibition of her work at the Nordic Art Agency Pop Up in March. Fast forward to June and discussions had began to commission a surprise painting by Marta Lafuente as a gift for a special event from the wife to her husband. A budget was set, which was no more costly than an original work by Lafuente, and a painting concept was agreed.

The project took around three months and images were exchanged over email throughout the process so that the client was kept well informed. The final painting was delivered and the client was thrilled with the end result and so was her very surprised husband! The commission work represented something much more than a work of art, it was a journey and a creative process culminating in a very personal experience. Personally I adored the final painting and the clients reaction to the work. The commission was a fabulous experience.