This probably needs to be edited, I've put the warning about neutrality at the top for now (it can be taken out once someone with more knowledge on the topic has a change to look at it). - Tobin
Of course I'll dispute the statement that says:
the Humanists concentrated on winning the argument rather than having their facts and logic straight
... until the cows come home, but it was written by an avowed scholastic.
I'll re-write this article at some point but be aware I'm a humanist. I'll try to keep it neutral, though. I will concede the point that Italian princes blew huge chunks of cash on stuff, but then again the renaissance was the first time that they had huge chunks of cash to blow.
I'd disagree with 'the renaissence was the first time that they had huge chunks of cash to blow'. One of the reasons for the level of consipicous consumption during the Quattracentro was that the Med was going through a commercial recession - before that, you dumped spare money into making more money. During the recession, you could either lose it trying to trade goods or invest, or you could blow it on a nice palazzo or some paintings ...
Go do some reading on 14th C economics and then tell me that the quattrocento was a commercial recession. Holmes et al are very critical. Sure, the merchant princes were chasing trade and investments back in the 13th C but by the quattrocento they hadn't had things so good in "living memory".
I think you have your "recession" about 100 years too late. 1360 was very bad. 1480 was much better.
Anyway, it wasn't just the princes spending cash on palazzi. Look at what some of the Borgia popes blew their wads on, and it wasn't just their younger "sisters" or "nieces".