Correction: The Starving ArtistBad times don’t always make for good art.

Correction: The Starving ArtistBad times don’t always make for good art.

  • Words Salome Wagaine
  • Photograph Philotheus Nisch / Connected Archives

It is said that great art often has its roots in hard times; that the well of inspiration from which artists and creatives draw in times of economic collapse or social turmoil is far more generous than that available during periods of relative stability and prosperity. But do financial constraints make for finer cultural outputs?

Patronage has had a critical role in the production and ongoing support of fledgling artists. The sponsorship the de Medici family bestowed upon their native Florence and beyond resulted in the erection of the Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel and in establishing Florence as the city from which the Renaissance flowed. Not much has changed in the last five centuries: It was Charles Saatchi’s advertising wealth that supported the w...

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