Guilds


Guilds
   Associations of individuals who practice specific trades, their purpose to control standards and maintain the monopoly of their activities. Although the concept of forming associations with members who share a particular interest had existed since antiquity, it was not until the late Middle Ages that guilds came to play a key role in the urban economy. In England, France, the Low Countries, Germany, and Italy the earliest medieval guilds were related to the textile industry. By the 13th century, France was completely dominated by the guild system, with every trade, including prostitution, well represented. In Florence, guilds were ranked according to the occupations of its members. The 7 Greater Guilds were those in prestigious professions, such as banking, law, and wool merchantry, while the 14 Lesser Guilds represented the smaller craftsmen and businessmen. In processions, the order in which these guilds participated depended on this hierarchy. In some cases, members of guilds took part in government. In 14th-century Florence, for instance, only guild members were eligible for civic office and, in Venice in 1310, members of the painter's guild were involved in the crushing of a rebellion against their government.
   Guilds often generated art commissions. The Florentine Guild of Refiners of Imported Woolen Cloth, the Arte della Calimala, for example, asked Lorenzo Ghiberti to render the statue of St. John the Baptist (1412-1416) for one of the exterior niches at Orsanmichele. The Guild of Linen Drapers and Peddlers, the Arte dei Linaiuoli e Rigattieri, commissioned from Donatello the St. Mark (1411-1413), and the Guild of Armorers and Swordmakers, the Arte dei Corazzai e Spadai, paid for his St. George (1415-1417), both in the same location. In the North, Frans Floris painted the Fall of the Rebel Angels (1554; Antwerp, Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts) for the Fencer's Guild of Antwerp and Rembrandt the Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp (1632; The Hague, Mauritshuis) for the Surgeon's Guild of Amsterdam.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Guilds — • Voluntary associations for religious, social, and commercial purposes Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Guilds     Guilds     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • guilds — guilds·man; …   English syllables

  • GUILDS — In Antiquity There is evidence in the Bible of a certain unity among craftsmen. This appears to have played a role similar to that of the unions of artisans which assisted their members in the economic and social spheres in ancient Babylonia at… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Guilds —    Trade guilds date back to India (circa 2000 B.C.) and shoemakers artisan guilds developed during the Roman Empire. Most guilds required long apprenticeships before achieving master status and had strict rules in order to maintain quality and… …   Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

  • Guilds —    In Brussels, the word guild was at first reserved solely to designate the association of those engaged in the production and sale of cloth. Only at the end of the 14th century did the term begin to signify, in its plural form of guilds, the… …   Historical Dictionary of Brussels

  • Guilds — Trade or craft associations, much like trade unions, but usually confined to a town. Most towns had craft guilds. The merchant guilds sought protection from foreign traders, as well as agreement between their associates as to behaviour and prices …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • Guilds —    Associations formed to promote special objects, the members being bound together to observe certain rules and regulations for the attainment of these objects.    Formed in early times more especially for religious and trade purposes. The… …   Dictionary of London

  • Guilds —    Associations of merchants or craftsmen who obtained from the city authorities a monopoly in the trade or production of a cer tain branch of manufacturing or crafts (e.g., linen making, brewing, or goldsmithing). This medieval system of… …   Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands

  • guilds — ➡ Freemasonry * * * …   Universalium

  • GUILDS —    associations of craftsmen or tradesmen in the Middle Ages to watch over and protect the interests of their craft or trade, and to see that it is honourably as well as economically conducted, each with a body of officials to superintend its… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia


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