Hapsburg-Burgundian Iconographic Programs and the Arthurian Political Model: The Expression of Moral Authority as a Source of Power


Abstract (Summary)
This study will examine the art made for a select group of fifteenth-century European monarchs; all were Burgundian or had strong connections to Burgundy. The art was intended to illustrate the concept of Vicarus Dei in order to validate their rule. The hereditary monarchies addressed in this thesis based their royal authority upon the concept that God ordained a king or even a duke to rule in the terrestrial realm as God's representative, and this celestial authority was passed on to their progeny. The earthly ruler, therefore, emphasized this divine ordination in various symbolic ways in the arts. In order to further justify, establish, and legitimize the existence and reign of royal dynasties, sacred bloodlines were traced back to biblical and mythological sources. For this reason, the male ruler was often depicted in the guise of a legendary warrior or a warrior saint. Part of the mythology is that such a ruler cannot really die. He is akin to King Arthur, who according to Sir Thomas Mallory's Morte d'Arthur, was taken to a mystical realm from which he may one day return. This thesis also explores the iconography of mainly Burgundian royal brides, which emphasized characteristics and roles considered gender appropriate in the fifteenth century. Essential to the heavenly designed political system was the establishment of the female consort as a sacred vessel for bearing the awaited messianic male heir who was to continue the holy dynasty.
Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:fifteenth century european monarchs burgundian hereditary monarchies sacred bloodlines biblical and mythological sources morte d arthur


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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