Lecture: “Botticelli and the Management of Demand” on May 4, 2023 at 6PM

Michael W. Kwakkelstein | Director (NIKI) has the pleasure to invite you to the lecture “Botticelli and the Management of Demand”, by our scholar-in-residence, Michelle O’Malley, PhD. (Warburg Institute, University of London).

Botticelli and the Management of Demand considers some of the strategies Alessandro Botticelli employed to organise his workforce in the production of the paintings commonly identified as ‘workshop’ work. The paper examines the making of this body of pictures in the context of Botticelli’s simultaneous production of commissioned altarpieces, religious tondi, and mythological paintings. Considering the evidence of underdrawings and of the painted surface of pictures, it constructs a largely visual argument with three aims: to underline the sheer volume of work a late fifteenth-century business like Botticelli’s produced, to emphasize the kinds of managerial decisions Botticelli and other master painters commonly made in deploying their assistants, and to demonstrate the agency assistants enjoyed in the production process.

The lecture is open to the public free of charge. Pre-registration is required to guarantee seating or online attendance: niki@nikiflorence.org

Michelle O’Malley


Michelle O’Malley is Professor Emerita in Renaissance Art History at the University of London and the former Deputy Director of the Warburg Institute, London. She is the author of The Business of Art (Yale 2005), Painting under Pressure (Yale 2013) and articles on the economics and the production of Renaissance art and objects; she is the co-author of The Material Renaissance (Manchester 2007) and Re-Thinking Renaissance Objects: Design, Function and Meaning (Wiley-Blackwell 2010). In 2015/16 she was a Fellow at the National Humanities Centre in North Carolina. Her present project focuses on the management, production and contemporary understanding of pictures commonly called ‘workshop work’. The project aims to conceptualise Renaissance master painters’ workshops as integrated workspaces in which several artists with varying levels of skill and maturity engaged in production for two markets: both commissioned and direct-sale paintings.

Click here for Michelle O’Malley’s list of publications.