Session: Power in the city.
The cultural impact of traditional urban elites on absolutist rulership and princely courts in the XVIth and early XVIIth centuries
In this session we would like to challenge the view that in Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Europe, cultural attitudes and display held by the older urban elites merely reflected the mentality of the ruling aristocracies of Europe. We take Florence as our term of comparison. During the transition to princely, absolutist (i.e. Medici ducal and grand-ducal) rule in the sixteenth and early-seventeenth century, traditional Florentine patrician families once and for all lost the political and administrative power they had enjoyed during republican times. Conspicuously, however, they managed to retrieve a substantial hold on the courtly and governmental environment in the new constellation. In doing so, they stuck to a considerable extent to their traditional, familial and civic self-identity. These urban ways and attitudes also coloured their cultural habitus. Thus these old Florentine patrician families had a noticeable impact on the shaping and development of the cultural aspects of the new Medici court and rulership.
With this session, we hope to find an answer to the question how far the Florentine situation could be compared to that of other important cities in Europe. These would be cities that saw the development of stable and splendid princely courts and governments within their territories, during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. In particular, we wonder about the situation in Italian cities such as Mantua, Ferrara, Genoa, Milan, Naples, or Palermo, and outside Italy in cities such as Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Toledo, Vienna, Munich, Dresden, London, or Copenhagen. We would like to invite papers addressing the attitudes of long-standing city-elites in the field of art and architectural patronage (this would include, but is not limited to: construction of city-palaces and squares, villa’s, gardens, chapels, churches, other religious institutions, civic institutions, fresco-cycles, panel paintings, sculptures, and applied arts). How did these attitudes compare to those held by the princes, their relatives, and their courts as these developed within the old limits of their cities’ territories?
Please submit a 250 word abstract for a 20 min paper, a one-page CV, and specifications of any A/V requirements to prof. dr. Henk Th. van Veen by Februari 1, 2016: firstname.lastname@example.org
All submissions will be acknowledged.
H.Th. van Veen, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Oude Boteringestraat 34