Quiz about Patrons of Art and Architecture
Quiz about Patrons of Art and Architecture

Patrons of Art and Architecture Quiz


We usually know who created works of art, but the names of the people who commissioned or collected them may be obscure. This quiz asks you to identify several people whose aesthetic interests and generous funds have enriched both artists and art lovers!

A multiple-choice quiz by lanfranco. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
lanfranco
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
406,753
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
129
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. A monument commissioned by the wife of this middle-eastern imperial administrator became synonymous with the building type after she decreed that it be named for him. Eventually, it was included in a famous list of the great marvels of antiquity. Who was he? Hint

Gaius Cilnius Maecenus
Marcus Licinius Crassus
Croesus of Lydia
Mausolus of Caria

2. Most likely born abroad and as a mere commoner, this architecture enthusiast rose to power and was able to restore one of his capital city's most iconic monuments. He also designed a great pleasure dome and temple in the countryside. In the 18th century, an important representation of an ancient athlete was discovered there. Who was this cultured ruler, also known for an eponymous protective barrier erected in a country far from his own? Hint

Pericles
Augustus
Hadrian
Trajan

3. A late-medieval, northern-Italian financier, possibly worried about the state of his soul in view of his usurious ways, commissioned the decoration of a private chapel and hired a trailblazing talent to carry out the work. The result was a set of paintings that stopped the history of western art in its tracks and set it off on a new course. Who was this canny patron, who proved to be just as shrewd about art as he was about making loans? Hint

Gentile Portino da Montefiore
Andrea Pazzi
Palla Strozzi
Enrico Scrovegni

4. This French prince -- son, brother, and uncle of kings -- governed his nation as a member of a council of regents and counseled wisdom in the context of a prolonged and exhausting war with another nation. He is far better known, however, as the patron of a sumptuous devotional object, largely produced by members of one artistic family and left unfinished on his death. Today, it is widely regarded as the most valuable example of its genre in the world. Who was its original owner? Hint

Jean de Berry
Étienne Chevalier
Jean de Boucicault
Charles d'Angoulême

5. This fashionable and unusually well-educated (for her era) daughter, wife, and mother of Italian aristocrats communicated regularly with literary figures and commissioned a wide variety of artists to work at her court. Owing to a well-attributed drawing and letters found in her correspondence, it has been suggested that she is the actual subject of the world's most famous portrait of a woman. Who was she? Hint

Catherine de' Medici
Caterina Sforza
Isabella d'Este
Vittoria Colonna

6. Widely regarded as one of the most complex visual considerations of the art of painting ever produced, a certain great and not-fully-decoded work features not only a self-portrait of its creator but also a clever depiction of the creator's employer, whom the painter served as both artist and courtier. Who was this employer, whose patronage can be described -- quite literally -- as well-reflected in the work of art in question? Hint

Philip IV of Spain
Charles IV of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor

7. Few would have expected this high-born British gentleman, a man of largely pragmatic concerns, to take an interest in art. After all, he devoted most of his time and fortune to such practical projects as livestock breeding, crop rotation, and canals. And yet, he was also the early and ongoing patron of one of his country's greatest artists, to whom he afforded a private studio in his home and who recorded the house and estate in a series of important works, in a style that presaged later artistic developments. Who was he? Hint

Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington
Thomas Bruce, Earl of Elgin
George, the Prince Regent
George Wyndham, Earl of Egremont

8. This New Yorker-turned-Bostonian gathered both important writers and artists into her social circle and accumulated an astonishing art collection, partly with the help of the most eminent connoisseur of her era. She also patronized one of that era's most elegant portraitists, posing for a portrait that her husband refused to display publicly. Eventually, she built a historically-inspired museum to house her acquisitions, though some of them disappeared in a notorious and still-unsolved late 20th-century crime. Who was she? Hint

Claribel Cone
Alva Vanderbilt Belmont
Isabella Stewart Gardner
Louisine Havemeyer

9. In the first half of the 20th century, members of a powerful family well-known in business and philanthropic circles commissioned an important Latin American artist to produce a painting for a now-famous complex of buildings to be named for them. Unfortunately, the artist reacted to public criticism by including a politically-controversial figure that ultimately resulted in the work's destruction. What was the surname of the patrons? Hint

Rockefeller
Hammer
Getty
Barnes

10. Child of a victim of a famous disaster, niece of a great art philanthropist, and wife of an important artist, this intellectual, cultural, and sexual libertine collected and promoted many European and American modernist art figures. Eventually -- and somewhat ironically -- she founded a museum to feature them in one of history's great sea-faring cities, in a country not her own. What was her name? Hint

Dominique de Menil
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney
Peggy Guggenheim
Lillie P. Bliss


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. A monument commissioned by the wife of this middle-eastern imperial administrator became synonymous with the building type after she decreed that it be named for him. Eventually, it was included in a famous list of the great marvels of antiquity. Who was he?

Answer: Mausolus of Caria

Ruler of a region of Anatolia, Mausolus of Caria (377-353 BCE) served the Achaemenid, or First Persian, Empire as a satrap -- a governor. On his death, his wife (and sister!) Artemisia built a great tomb and shrine for him at Halicarnassus, now in Turkey. Several sculptors were involved in the project, including Scopas of Paros (395-350 BCE), one of the most talented of late-classical artists. Called the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, Artemisia's spectacular tribute to her husband eventually made it onto the list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, compiled by various literati. Alas, the Mausoleum was destroyed by earthquakes during the Middle Ages, though it survived longer than the other Wonders, with the exception of the Great Pyramid at Giza, a far older tomb built for the Fourth Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu.

King Croesus of Lydia (595 BCE-?) and the Roman Gaius Cilnius Maecenas (70 BCE- 8 CE) have given their names to the very concept of great wealth. Croesus sponsored the building of another ancient Wonder, the second Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, around 550 BCE. Maecenas remains the classical exemplar of the generous patron -- among the beneficiaries was the poet Virgil -- so that today, both writers and artists are often heard wishing for a "Maecenas" to take an interest in their work.

Marcus Licinius Crassus (115-53 BCE) did not directly bequeath us the word "crass" (his cognomen can mean "grossly stupid" in Latin), but it wouldn't have been surprising if he had. The ancient Roman equivalent of a real-estate developer and slumlord, who reputedly rushed to house fires so as to buy properties cheaply from traumatized owners, the vastly-rich Crassus built a great deal in Rome but nothing of aesthetic note. Ironically, he has been portrayed many times in the arts, notably by Laurence Olivier in the 1960 film "Spartacus".
2. Most likely born abroad and as a mere commoner, this architecture enthusiast rose to power and was able to restore one of his capital city's most iconic monuments. He also designed a great pleasure dome and temple in the countryside. In the 18th century, an important representation of an ancient athlete was discovered there. Who was this cultured ruler, also known for an eponymous protective barrier erected in a country far from his own?

Answer: Hadrian

Scion of a Romano-Iberian family, the Roman Emperor Hadrian (76-138 CE) is regarded as one of the "Five Good Emperors," whose reigns from 96-180 CE encouraged a cultural efflorescence. Interested in Egyptian and Greek art and architecture, Hadrian was anxious to beautify Rome with new temples and cult statues. Among his projects was the restoration of the Pantheon, damaged by fire years earlier, and the building of an elaborate villa complex featuring elegant porticos and sculptures at Tivoli, in the Roman Campagna. There, in the 18th century, was discovered an important Roman copy of the Greek sculptor Myron's famous lost bronze of a discus thrower. Known today as the Townley Discobolus, this work resides in the British Museum.

In the UK, Hadrian is probably most famous for the wall he built to defend against such pesky northern peoples as the Caledonians (better known as the Scots). Like Hadrian's Villa, the wall's remains have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Both the Emperor Augustus (63 BCE-14 CE) and the Emperor Trajan (53-117 CE) were enthusiastic builders in Rome. The former allegedly boasted on his deathbed that he'd become ruler of a city of brick and left it a city of marble, while the latter is best known for the great column commemorating military victories in Dacia. General Pericles of Athens (495-429 BCE) led his city-state centuries before the Roman emperors under discussion, but his patronage of the great buildings of the Acropolis and of the artist/architect Phidias (c.480-430 BCE) functioned as potent inspiration for Romans and for statesmen-patrons down to the present day. The Acropolis remains the foremost symbol not only of Periclean Athens but of classical civilization in general, one that still resonates in the public buildings of countless towns and cities.
3. A late-medieval, northern-Italian financier, possibly worried about the state of his soul in view of his usurious ways, commissioned the decoration of a private chapel and hired a trailblazing talent to carry out the work. The result was a set of paintings that stopped the history of western art in its tracks and set it off on a new course. Who was this canny patron, who proved to be just as shrewd about art as he was about making loans?

Answer: Enrico Scrovegni

It's uncertain whether moneylender Enrico Scrovegni (d. 1336) was seeking to ensure a comfortable eternity for himself when he decided to dedicate an elaborate chapel to the Virgin of Charity in his native city of Padua. However, since the poet Dante condemned Enrico's father to Hell for usury in "The Inferno," it makes sense he might have been a touch preoccupied with his fate in the afterlife. What is certain is that he acquired art-historical immortality by his choice of the painter Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337) to execute the chapel's frescoes in 1305. Giotto, already an innovator, produced his masterpiece in the Scrovegni Chapel's 37 paintings, in which his classicizing and atmospheric illusionism, and his naturalistic human affect, marked a sharp break with stylized, Byzantinizing modes of representation. The chapel was vastly influential. With it, Italian Renaissance painting may be said to have made its debut.

Gentile Portino da Montefiore (1240-1312) was a cardinal who expensively built a chapel dedicated to St. Martin of Tours in the lower church of St. Francis in Assisi, a treasure trove of late-medieval/early Renaissance art. Not long before his death, Portino commissioned the exquisitely-refined Sienese artist Simone Martini (1284-1344) to decorate the space, and Simone interrupted his work on his own masterpiece, the "Maestà" for Siena's Palazzo Pubblico, in order to accept the job. The pay was surely better than that for a mere tax-funded commission.

Palla Strozzi (1372-1462) and Andrea Pazzi (1372-1445) were rich Florentine bankers, members of clans that jockeyed for power with the more storied Medici family and enthusiastic art patrons. Strozzi is best-known for the great "Adoration of the Magi" altarpiece that he commissioned in 1423 from Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427), an exponent of the International Gothic style and a direct heir to Simone Martini's curvilinear grace. Pazzi commissioned the groundbreaking Pazzi Chapel (completed 1443) at Florence's church of Santa Croce. Traditionally attributed, at least in part, to the great architect Filippo Brunelleschi (d. 1446), but probably comprising substantial contributions from others, it is in many ways an architectural descendant of Giotto's classicism, serenely translated into three, perfectly-equilibrated dimensions and equally consequential.
4. This French prince -- son, brother, and uncle of kings -- governed his nation as a member of a council of regents and counseled wisdom in the context of a prolonged and exhausting war with another nation. He is far better known, however, as the patron of a sumptuous devotional object, largely produced by members of one artistic family and left unfinished on his death. Today, it is widely regarded as the most valuable example of its genre in the world. Who was its original owner?

Answer: Jean de Berry

Jean, Duc de Berry (1340-1416) was the son of King Jean II of France, brother of Charles V, and uncle of Charles VI. Serving as regent for his minor (and later mentally-ill) nephew during the Hundred Years' War, he functioned as a voice of reason in an unstable era and a mediator between hostile factions. In his art patronage, however, he was rather less prudent. Willing to spend large sums on his passions, he commissioned at least three splendidly-illuminated books of hours -- devotional books for laypeople -- including the celebrated "Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry," partially illuminated by the Dutch Limbourg brothers ca. 1415 and now in the Musée Condé in Chantilly. The manuscript is most famous for its fine calendar pages, or "Labors of the Months," fancifully illustrating life in the countryside and at an aristocratic court. One of these, ironically, functioned as inspiration for a brief scene in the 1944 film version of Shakespeare's "Henry V," which celebrates the English victory at Agincourt that was disastrous for the French. Jean de Berry had fearfully anticipated that defeat and kept his unstable nephew from the battlefield.

The Très Riches Heures were eventually completed by other artists, but the Limbourgs -- Herman, Paul, and Johan -- will always be most closely associated with it. Sadly, they did not live to show the world what else they could accomplish. In 1416, they and Jean de Berry all died, probably in an outbreak of the plague. None of the brothers had reached the age of 30, and Jean's estate had been severely depleted by his extravagance.

The three wrong answers on this question also commissioned books of hours. Étienne Chevalier (1410-1474), Treasurer of France in the mid-15th century, hired Italian-influenced Jean Fouquet (1420-1481) to illuminate his, also in Chantilly. Jean de Boucicaut (1366-1421), Marshal of France, was the patron of the Boucicaut Hours, now in the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris. Its unknown artist is known simply as the Boucicaut Master. The most interesting example in this group was commissioned by Charles d'Angoulême (1459-1496), father of King François I. His book, completed around 1480 and featuring both illuminations and hand-colored engravings by different artists, includes references to myths, secular chivalric tales, and even erotic scenes in its fascinating historiated initials. It is now the property of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
5. This fashionable and unusually well-educated (for her era) daughter, wife, and mother of Italian aristocrats communicated regularly with literary figures and commissioned a wide variety of artists to work at her court. Owing to a well-attributed drawing and letters found in her correspondence, it has been suggested that she is the actual subject of the world's most famous portrait of a woman. Who was she?

Answer: Isabella d'Este

Daughter of a duke of Ferrara, Isabella d'Este was a Renaissance woman in both the chronological and cultural senses. Married in her teens to Federigo II Gonzaga, Marchese of Mantua (who cheated on her with Lucrezia Borgia), Isabella was closely involved in significant political events of her age, but was also one of its greatest art patrons, hiring such important artists as Giovanni Bellini, Titian, Giulio Romano, and Raphael. The brilliant Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) was Mantua's court painter under Isabella and decorated her "Studiolo," or private study, along with Antonio Correggio (1489-1534) and Pietro Perugino (1452?-1523) among others.

Some scholars have suggested that Isabella, rather than the cloth merchant's wife Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, is the sitter in Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" in the Louvre. Letters and a highly-finished drawing indicate that Isabella had commissioned a portrait of herself from Leonardo, but he apparently did not deliver it. Isabella=Lisa? Unlikely, but like much about the "Mona Lisa," this is a mystery that remains unresolved.

Like Isabella, Caterina Sforza (1463-1509), Countess of Forlì by her first marriage, was an educated woman who experienced a series of colorful political and military events on the front lines. By her third marriage, she became the grandmother of Cosimo I de' Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany, himself a major art patron. As a cultural figure, however, Caterina was more interested in alchemy than the arts. Vittoria Colonna (1492-1547), Marchesa di Pescara, was not so much a patron of the great painter/sculptor/architect Michelangelo (1475-1564) as his close friend and fellow poet. The two exchanged many letters and poems, and the artist made drawings for Vittoria.

On the other hand, Catherine de' Medici, one of two women in her famous family to become Queen of France, was an active patron of several artists, such as the refined portraitist François Clouet (1510-1572). The tomb for her husband, Henri II, that Catherine commissioned for the basilica of St. Denis saw her christened a "new Artemisia," after Artemisia of Caria who built the tomb named for her own husband, Mausolus.
6. Widely regarded as one of the most complex visual considerations of the art of painting ever produced, a certain great and not-fully-decoded work features not only a self-portrait of its creator but also a clever depiction of the creator's employer, whom the painter served as both artist and courtier. Who was this employer, whose patronage can be described -- quite literally -- as well-reflected in the work of art in question?

Answer: Philip IV of Spain

Three of the possible answers on this question were Habsburgs -- members of the family that ruled much of Europe for centuries and produced a battalion of generous art patrons. However, it was Philip IV of Spain (1605-1665) who employed Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) as his court artist. With his wife, Queen Mariana, and his small daughter, Margarita Teresa, he appears in Velázquez's fascinating work, "Las Meninas" ("The Maids of Honor" in English), completed in 1656 and one of the jewels of the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Precisely what "Las Meninas" means, aside from anecdotally recording the charming interruption of an apparent royal portrait sitting, has been much debated by scholars, who are convinced that it represents more than meets the eye. The theme of artistic status and prestige seems intertwined with the concept of art mirroring nature, as literally embodied in the mirrored image of the King and Queen. The painting also explores the essential participation of the viewer, standing beyond the picture plane, like the portrait's subjects, analyzing the individual pictorial elements of the scene, and also understanding the painting as a coherent whole and an illusionistic extension of her own space. It is no wonder that this intricate work has sometimes been described as a visual treatise on the practice and philosophy of art.

In his patronage in general, Philip IV amply displayed his credentials as one of the many Habsburgs who understood the ability of art and architecture to represent power and authority via aesthetic splendor. Similarly, his predecessor, Philip II of Spain (1527-1598), commissioned the celebrated "Poesie" -- a set of now-priceless mythological paintings completed in the 1550s -- from the Italian artist Titian (1490?-1576) and built the great Spanish royal residence El Escorial. Another relative, Rudolf II (1552-1612), one of the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperors, wasn't an effective ruler, but he was a serious art patron, with idiosyncratic tastes. These responded to such odd or hyper-elegant late-Mannerist artists as Bartholomeus Spranger (1546-1611) and Arcimboldo (1529-1608).

Finally, a later Spanish monarch, Charles IV (1748-1819), of the House of Bourbon, was the patron of court artist Francisco Goya (1746-1839). However, the cynical, satirical Goya, product of another age, viewed monarchy through lenses rather different from those worn by his artistic forebears -- as demonstrated by a comparison between Goya's royal family portraits and "Las Meninas".
7. Few would have expected this high-born British gentleman, a man of largely pragmatic concerns, to take an interest in art. After all, he devoted most of his time and fortune to such practical projects as livestock breeding, crop rotation, and canals. And yet, he was also the early and ongoing patron of one of his country's greatest artists, to whom he afforded a private studio in his home and who recorded the house and estate in a series of important works, in a style that presaged later artistic developments. Who was he?

Answer: George Wyndham, Earl of Egremont

The 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837) was an important Sussex landowner, deeply interested in making efficient, scientific, use of rural resources. He was also the fortunate owner of Petworth House, a manor dating back to the 11th century and sitting in the middle of a park designed by pioneering landscape architect "Capability" Brown. Egremont was sensible of the honor and anxious to adorn the place. Though it's not known how he made the acquaintance of artist Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), both men were progressives in their respective pursuits, which may explain their affinity. Living at Petworth periodically in the 1820s and 30s, Turner, whose subjective examinations of light and atmospheric effects subsequently had an influence on Impressionism and even Abstract Expressionism, made a series of visually-inventive paintings and drawings of the manor's interior and the surrounding landscape. He also painted 4 works depicting Egremont's favorite sites for a special "Carved Room," open to visitors today.

Egremont's appreciation for nature aesthetically interpreted also led him to patronize another British national monument, painter John Constable (1776-1837). He produced no legitimate heirs but did, astoundingly, father 40 illegitimate children (via at least 15 mistresses). Petworth and its Turners passed to one of these and eventually to the National Trust in the 1940s.

George, the Prince Regent, aka King George IV (1762-1830), has suffered from a poor reputation for several reasons, but as an art lover, he displayed interesting taste. The patron of such important painters as Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), George also dabbled in architecture and urban planning. From 1810, the architect John Nash (1752-1835) worked largely for the Prince, producing, among other works, the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, designed in a bizarre mish-mash of Chinese and Indo-Islamic styles creatively labeled "Indian Gothic". Richard Boyle, the 3rd Earl of Burlington (1694-1753) was less a patron of architecture than an architect himself -- a serious one. Lord Burlington helped popularize the work of the great northern-Italian late-Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) in Britain via drawings and publications. His own Burlington House in London and Chiswick House nearby are the best examples of Lord Burlington's neo-Palladianism.

Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin (1766-1841), is best-known to many people as either the thief or the savior (or both) of many of the Parthenon and other Acropolis marbles, removed from Athens in disputed circumstances in the very early 19th century, during Elgin's tenure as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Today they remain -- controversially -- in the custody of the British Museum.
8. This New Yorker-turned-Bostonian gathered both important writers and artists into her social circle and accumulated an astonishing art collection, partly with the help of the most eminent connoisseur of her era. She also patronized one of that era's most elegant portraitists, posing for a portrait that her husband refused to display publicly. Eventually, she built a historically-inspired museum to house her acquisitions, though some of them disappeared in a notorious and still-unsolved late 20th-century crime. Who was she?

Answer: Isabella Stewart Gardner

Unlike her namesake, Isabella d'Este, Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) was no titled aristocrat, but she was born to a wealthy New York textile merchant and married a member of the old Boston elite. Well-educated, well-traveled, and in possession of a great deal of money, she was impressed by Renaissance art patronage and determined to create a collection of her own. To help her achieve this goal, she commissioned pioneering art historian Bernard Berenson (1865-1959), and whatever questions have been raised about his activities -- there have certainly been some -- he did Isabella proud. Among other works, Berenson helped Isabella acquire, in 1896, Titian's great "Rape of Europa," one of the "Poesie" series mentioned above and originally commissioned by Philip II of Spain, from the financially-distressed 6th Earl of Darnley in the UK. The purchase price, 20,000 pounds (well over $2,000,000 in US dollars today) was then the highest ever paid for a painting.

Isabella also patronized John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), one of America's most sophisticated portraitists, who specialized in immortalizing the rich, famous and sometimes noble on two continents. While not nearly as scandalous a work as Sargent's controversial "Madame X," his portrait of Isabella showed just enough skin to cause her husband to insist that it not be made accessible to any potentially-titillated gawkers and gossips.

In 1898, after her husband's death, Isabella began to realize her dream of housing her art collection in a building worthy of its contents. The Gardner Museum, inspired by Venetian palazzi, opened in Boston's Fenway neighborhood in 1903. It is today one of the country's premiere boutique art museums, though one that suffered an irreparable injury on the night of March 18, 1990, when thieves stole 13 works, including a rare Vermeer and Rembrandt's only seascape. They have never been recovered.

Alva Vanderbilt Belmont (1853-1933) is notorious for forcing her daughter Consuelo to enter into a loveless marriage with the 9th Duke of Marlborough. (John Singer Sargent produced a spectacular portrait of the couple with their sons.) As a patron, Alva was primarily interested in architecture. Among her activities was the commission that she and her husband, William Kissam Vanderbilt, handed to Beaux Arts architect Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1905) for a "summer cottage" at Newport, Rhode Island. Unsurprisingly inspired by buildings at Versailles, Alva's 50-room Marble House is now a national historic landmark.

Prominent women's suffragist Louisine Havemeyer (1855-1929) and her husband Henry (1847-1907) were important collectors and patrons of the French Impressionists, partly under the guidance of American Impressionist Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Dr. Claribel Cone (1864-1927) and her musician sister Etta (1870-1949) were acquaintances of Gertrude Stein and through her became patrons and collectors of early 20th-century modernists, including Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin, and Cézanne. Today, the major part of their valuable collection is owned by the Baltimore Museum of Art.
9. In the first half of the 20th century, members of a powerful family well-known in business and philanthropic circles commissioned an important Latin American artist to produce a painting for a now-famous complex of buildings to be named for them. Unfortunately, the artist reacted to public criticism by including a politically-controversial figure that ultimately resulted in the work's destruction. What was the surname of the patrons?

Answer: Rockefeller

In the early 1930s, under the auspices of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960), the construction of Rockefeller Center in New York City began. The complex was designed in Art Deco style, but for the decoration of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (eponym of the television series "30 Rock"), Rockefeller accepted the advice of his art-savvy wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948). In 1933, he hired the great Mexican artist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) to paint a mural in the building. An avowed socialist, though one in not-particularly-good odor with the Communist Party, Rivera agreed to the theme, the contrasting of the Communist and capitalist systems.

However, when a New York newspaper complained that capitalism was being presented in a negative light, an annoyed Rivera inserted a portrait of Vladimir Lenin and refused to remove it when future vice-president of the United States Nelson Rockefeller requested that he do so. Despite attempts to save the mural, and loud protests from prominent art-world figures, "Man at the Crossroads" was peeled off the wall and obliterated. Rivera himself had said that he preferred destruction to alteration.

Fortunately, Rivera had had one of his assistants, Swiss-American artist Lucienne Bloch (1909-1999), photograph the work. He later reproduced it in Mexico City, though with changes, including an unflattering depiction of John D, Jr. The controversy has been dramatized in Tim Robbins' 1999 film "The Cradle Will Rock" and in the 2002 Julie Taymor/Salma Hayak biopic of Frida Kahlo, Rivera's wife.

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) had been considered as a possibility for the 30 Rock mural, but he couldn't accept the commission because he was working on his great triptych, "The Dance," for the Barnes Foundation in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. Albert C. Barnes (1872-1951), a curmudgeonly art-loving (and art historian-hating) physician, who made his fortune by inventing the silver-nitrate treatment used in newborns' eyes, purchased much great art and promulgated some idiosyncratic theories. His collection may now be seen in Philadelphia, to which, after years of complex legal battles, it was moved in 2012.

Armand Hammer (1898-1990) made a fortune via oil investments and control of Occidental Petroleum. His art collection, featuring Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and modernist Russian art picked up on his many visits to the Soviet Union, now resides in the Hammer Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles. Hammer was a great-grandfather of actor Armie Hammer.

Also located in LA is the Getty Center, comprising a museum, research center, conservation institute, and other programs. The original museum in Malibu (inspired by an ancient Roman villa in Herculaneum) was founded by J. Paul Getty (1892-1976), another oil magnate and an art patron of eclectic tastes, who left a vast fortune for the establishment of a trust dedicated to the arts. Today, the Getty is admired for its classical and decorative arts collections, the fields in which its founder was most interested.
10. Child of a victim of a famous disaster, niece of a great art philanthropist, and wife of an important artist, this intellectual, cultural, and sexual libertine collected and promoted many European and American modernist art figures. Eventually -- and somewhat ironically -- she founded a museum to feature them in one of history's great sea-faring cities, in a country not her own. What was her name?

Answer: Peggy Guggenheim

Marguerite Guggenheim, aka "Peggy" (1898-1979), was just 13 years old when her father Benjamin (b. 1865) famously died in the sinking of the Titanic in April of 1912. Tales of his death focus on his and his valet's brave appearance in evening dress, "prepared to go down like gentlemen," and not on the fact that he'd been traveling with a mistress instead of Peggy's mother. (The mistress survived.)

Peggy might not have disapproved. An heiress drawn to the bohemian life, she took many lovers (Samuel Beckett was one), while also befriending such important artists as Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. Eventually she married German surrealist Max Ernst (1891-1976), though the marriage didn't last. Possibly under the influence of her uncle, Solomon Guggenheim (1861-1949), founder of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Peggy opened London and New York art galleries where she promoted the likes of Wassily Kandinsky, Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi, Alexander Calder, and Jackson Pollock. In the late 40s, moreover, she acquired a Venetian palazzo on the Grand Canal and turned it into a museum that is today a major institution for the exhibition of European and American modernists. It is run by the foundation that Peggy's Uncle Sol established in 1937.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942) is best-known to many people as the woman who, in the 1930s, successfully fought her sister-in-law for custody of her niece, Gloria Vanderbilt, later a fashion designer and mother of journalist Anderson Cooper. Less well-known is the fact that Gertrude was a professional sculptor trained in New York and Paris. As a patron, she supported new and young American artists, such as the members of the Ashcan School. Eventually, her collection became the core of the Whitney Museum of American Art founded by her. In a 1982 miniseries concerning the custody battle, Gertrude was played by actress Angela Lansbury, who turned in a nicely-edgy performance as the possibly bisexual but indubitably serious artist that Gertrude was.

Dominique de Menil (1908-1997), a French-American member of the wealthy Schlumberger family, was, with her husband John, a major modern art collector, architecture patron, and human-rights activist. The Houston-based couple commissioned their home from architect Philip Johnson (1906-2005); an awe-inspiring chapel from color-field artist Mark Rothko (1903-1970); and, in the 1980s, the building for the Menil collection, to house their acquisitions, from Italian architect Renzo Piano (b. 1937). The never-married Lillie -- sometimes called Lizzie -- Plummer Bliss (1864-1931), daughter of a US Secretary of the Interior in the 1890s, was another collector of important modernist artists who became founder of a museum. With Abby Aldrich Rockefeller among others, she helped establish New York's great Museum of Modern Art in 1929 and left much of her holdings to MOMA on her death only 2 years later. The bequest established the museum's permanent collection, on which it has been building ever since.
Source: Author lanfranco

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