Just received some travel cases from Silverbrush for short handled brushes. The Monaco and Tuscany. $12 each and well made. When you think of all the gadgets and accessories that exist you have to wonder what people did in the old days when they had no money, or painting was a hobby for the wealthy. Today, it certainly is a leisure time activity. And on the decorative side, lots of casual painters buy stuff they will never use. Maybe an exercise in conspicuous consumption.
To imagine Da Vinci trucking around his stock on a nylon bag with casters with unfathomable. But, the students who took courses with Old Masters like Rubens, begs to ask if they carried some of their brushes and paints home with them every evening, and if so what did they use? Up until the Renaissance and even in Durer’s time, the role of painter was considered a craft, a guild like making carts or installing roofs. Caravaggio, after an unfortunate stabbing of a tennis rival, was pretty much a nomad, pitching canvas and easel up on the fly and almost spontaneously, hustling some cash and to keep moving ahead of the authorities. Since paint did not come ready made and unlike Betty Crocker had to be mixed from scratch with real pigments, I imagine Caravaggio may have had some kind of cart, like a traveling medecine show. If I was Caravaggio, a revolver in my brush bag would have been a precautionary measure.