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patron[Lat.,=like a father], one who lends influential support to some person, cause, art or institution. Patronage existed in various ancient cultures but was primarily a Roman institution. In Roman law the lord was patronus (protector or defender) in relation to his freedmen and to others, known as his clients, whom he represented in the senate and before tribunals. Under the Roman Empire the term was applied to persons like MaecenasMaecenas
(Caius Maecenas) , d. 8 B.C., Roman statesman and patron of letters. He was born (between 74 B.C. and 64 B.C.) into a wealthy family and was a trusted adviser of Octavian (Augustus), who employed Maecenas as his personal representative for various political missions.
..... Click the link for more information. who supported artists and writers. Perhaps the most munificent patronage occurred in Italy during the RenaissanceRenaissance
[Fr.,=rebirth], term used to describe the development of Western civilization that marked the transition from medieval to modern times. This article is concerned mainly with general developments and their impact in the fields of science, rhetoric, literature, and
..... Click the link for more information. under patrons such as the MediciMedici
, Italian family that directed the destinies of Florence from the 15th cent. until 1737. Of obscure origin, they rose to immense wealth as merchants and bankers, became affiliated through marriage with the major houses of Europe, and, besides acquiring (1569) the title
..... Click the link for more information. , the SforzaSforza
, Italian family that ruled the duchy of Milan from 1450 to 1535. Rising from peasant origins, the Sforzas became condottieri and used this military position to become rulers in Milan. The family governed by force, ruse, and power politics.
..... Click the link for more information. , and many popes. Francis IFrancis I,
1494–1547, king of France (1515–47), known as Francis of Angoulême before he succeeded his cousin and father-in-law, King Louis XII. Wars with the Holy Roman Emperor
..... Click the link for more information. of France and his sister Margaret of NavarreMargaret of Navarre
or Margaret of Angoulême
, 1492–1549, queen consort of Navarre; sister of King Francis I of France. After the death of her first husband she married (1527) Henri d'Albret, king of Navarre; their daughter was Jeanne d'Albret.
..... Click the link for more information. were distinguished patrons of art and letters; a famous English patron was Lord ChesterfieldChesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th earl of,
1694–1773, English statesman and author. A noted wit and orator, his long public career, begun in 1715, included an ambassadorship to The Hague (1728–32), a
..... Click the link for more information. . Since ancient times Christians have honored patron saints as tutelary guardians of persons, institutions, places, and crafts. Historically, artists have depended on institutional (e.g., government and church) as well as individual patronage; Picasso's Guernica and Chagall's stained glass windows are examples of commissioned works. Universities and private foundations have also become important sources of patronage for artists.
1. a customer of a shop, hotel, etc., esp a regular one
2. See patron saint
3. (in ancient Rome) the protector of a dependant or client, often the former master of a freedman still retaining certain rights over him
4. Christianity a person or body having the right to present a clergyman to a benefice