I suppose it's time we gave some serious thought to preparing in a structured way for the AS History of Art exams this year. For those of you who are still contemplating sitting the exams, or those of you who are still not sure, I think it's best if, over the next few weeks, we take a look at some of the big themes that you will need to be aware of. One of the trickiest to get your heads around is Patronage. Fortunately, the excellent Smart History site has a great resource which uses Voice Thread to present a discussion of the story of the relationship between the city of Florence and the subject of David (the biblical prophet who was responsible for defeating Goliath and the Philistine army). This story centres of the artists Donatello and Michelangelo and takes in the shifts in context and meaning relating to a variety of representations of David over many years, beginning with the Florentine republic and including the possibly the most famous of all patrons, the Medici family.

I'd like you to listen carefully to the discussion on this Voice Thread and make some notes on the key points. By the end you should have a pretty good grasp of some of the key issues related to the theme of patronage. I would then like you to research another famous work of art and think about how issues of patronage contribute to our art historical understanding of it. Please include your observations here in the form of a comment or post.