Via The Free Man:
In the early 1500s Albrecht Dürer was perhaps the most famous artist in northern Europe. A recent article in The Economist reports that he was also a shrewd businessman. In today’s world of popular artists — from Steven Spielberg to Lady Gaga — the pairing of business and “entertainment,” if regretted by some, is noncontroversial. But many still see the true artist and the profit-seeking business person as coming from radically different places.
Historically speaking, however, cases like Dürer’s seem to have been fairly common. Tyler Cowen explains in his book In Praise of Popular Culture, for example, that the artists of Renaissance Florence were men of business. Michelangelo and Raphael sculpted and painted timeless masterpieces for prelates and princes, but each had an eye for the bottom line.