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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art


Sworn association, typically of merchants, craftsmen or tradesmen. Most guilds were associated with a particular town or city. They flourished in Europe in the medieval period and had considerable social, political, economic and religious power. Additionally, craft guilds often monitored training, standards of production and the welfare of their members. Significant patronage was provided by religious, social and commercial confraternities. Information on the activity of specific guilds is given in this dictionary within the relevant articles on cities and on countries (in the latter, especially under ‘Painting and graphic arts’ or ‘Art education’).

Richard Mackenney