Marketing Maximilian: The Visual Ideology of a Holy Roman Emperor

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Overview

"Larry Silver, one of the foremost scholars of our generation, offers fascinating insights into Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, one of early modern Europe's most complex and intriguing individuals. Almost all rulers dream of glory, yet few have matched either Maximilian's delusions of greatness or, as Silver shows, his successful manipulation of media. This brilliantly researched book is much needed. There is no comparable text in any language."—Jeffrey Chipps Smith, University of Texas, Austin

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Editorial Reviews

Sixteenth Century Journal

Larry Silver's Marketing Maximilian is an invigorating contribution to the literature on Maximilian I from one of the foremost scholars on this topic. Silver's numerous articles on Maximilian's artistic patronage have formed a foundation for study of this major, yet idiosyncratic figure, and this book provides a comprehensive summation of Silver's decades of study. Yet the book reaches beyond his previous work as well, providing a larger, synthetic framework for understanding Maximilian's ideology and its visual representations as well as offering new information and insights into his various commissions.
— Heather Madar

Austrian History Yearbook
Silver's book makes important contributions to our understanding of Maximilian as a political actor. . . . Silver . . . provide[s] the finest study to date on Maximilian's efforts to reformulate political practice. Marketing Maximilian provides more than simply a study of Maximilian; it offers insights into the changing political culture in early modern Europe.
— Darin Hayton
Sixteenth-Century Journal
Larry Silver's Marketing Maximilian is an invigorating contribution to the literature on Maximilian I from one of the foremost scholars on this topic. Silver's numerous articles on Maximilian's artistic patronage have formed a foundation for study of this major, yet idiosyncratic figure, and this book provides a comprehensive summation of Silver's decades of study. Yet the book reaches beyond his previous work as well, providing a larger, synthetic framework for understanding Maximilian's ideology and its visual representations as well as offering new information and insights into his various commissions.
— Heather Madar
Times Literary Supplement - Kevin Sharpe
Marketing Maximilian is an excellent study of the first ruler to exploit print for verbal and visual propaganda and an appropriately triumphant example of what can be achieved when, allowing the risk of anachronism, modern perspectives are applied to past problems.
H-Net Reviews - Joachim Whaley
Silver's book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the political culture of late medieval and early modern Europe.
Parergon - Lindsay Diggelmann
[I]n its attention to detail and its interpretation of complex iconography, Silver's study of Maximilian and his artistic entourage makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the early stages of the Habsburg imperium.
Print Quarterly - Susan Foister
One of the particular virtues of this intellectual biography is the way in which Silver illuminates connections between the intellectual and the spiritual, the visual and the physical worlds. . . . He also makes accessible to English readers much previous research available only in German.
Sixteenth Century Journal - Heather Madar
Larry Silver's Marketing Maximilian is an invigorating contribution to the literature on Maximilian I from one of the foremost scholars on this topic. Silver's numerous articles on Maximilian's artistic patronage have formed a foundation for study of this major, yet idiosyncratic figure, and this book provides a comprehensive summation of Silver's decades of study. Yet the book reaches beyond his previous work as well, providing a larger, synthetic framework for understanding Maximilian's ideology and its visual representations as well as offering new information and insights into his various commissions.
Austrian History Yearbook - Darin Hayton
Silver's book makes important contributions to our understanding of Maximilian as a political actor. . . . Silver . . . provide[s] the finest study to date on Maximilian's efforts to reformulate political practice. Marketing Maximilian provides more than simply a study of Maximilian; it offers insights into the changing political culture in early modern Europe.
From the Publisher
"Marketing Maximilian is an excellent study of the first ruler to exploit print for verbal and visual propaganda and an appropriately triumphant example of what can be achieved when, allowing the risk of anachronism, modern perspectives are applied to past problems."—Kevin Sharpe, Times Literary Supplement

"Silver's book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the political culture of late medieval and early modern Europe."—Joachim Whaley, H-Net Reviews

"[I]n its attention to detail and its interpretation of complex iconography, Silver's study of Maximilian and his artistic entourage makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the early stages of the Habsburg imperium."—Lindsay Diggelmann, Parergon

"One of the particular virtues of this intellectual biography is the way in which Silver illuminates connections between the intellectual and the spiritual, the visual and the physical worlds. . . . He also makes accessible to English readers much previous research available only in German."—Susan Foister, Print Quarterly

"Larry Silver's Marketing Maximilian is an invigorating contribution to the literature on Maximilian I from one of the foremost scholars on this topic. Silver's numerous articles on Maximilian's artistic patronage have formed a foundation for study of this major, yet idiosyncratic figure, and this book provides a comprehensive summation of Silver's decades of study. Yet the book reaches beyond his previous work as well, providing a larger, synthetic framework for understanding Maximilian's ideology and its visual representations as well as offering new information and insights into his various commissions."—Heather Madar, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Silver's book makes important contributions to our understanding of Maximilian as a political actor. . . . Silver . . . provide[s] the finest study to date on Maximilian's efforts to reformulate political practice. Marketing Maximilian provides more than simply a study of Maximilian; it offers insights into the changing political culture in early modern Europe."—Darin Hayton, Austrian History Yearbook

Times Literary Supplement
Marketing Maximilian is an excellent study of the first ruler to exploit print for verbal and visual propaganda and an appropriately triumphant example of what can be achieved when, allowing the risk of anachronism, modern perspectives are applied to past problems.
— Kevin Sharpe
H-Net Reviews
Silver's book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the political culture of late medieval and early modern Europe.
— Joachim Whaley
Parergon
[I]n its attention to detail and its interpretation of complex iconography, Silver's study of Maximilian and his artistic entourage makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the early stages of the Habsburg imperium.
— Lindsay Diggelmann
Print Quarterly
One of the particular virtues of this intellectual biography is the way in which Silver illuminates connections between the intellectual and the spiritual, the visual and the physical worlds. . . . He also makes accessible to English readers much previous research available only in German.
— Susan Foister
Times Literary Supplement
Marketing Maximilian is an excellent study of the first ruler to exploit print for verbal and visual propaganda and an appropriately triumphant example of what can be achieved when, allowing the risk of anachronism, modern perspectives are applied to past problems.
— Kevin Sharpe
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691130194
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/14/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Silver is the James and Nan Farquhar Professor of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include "Peasant Scenes and Landscapes, Hieronymus Bosch, Graven Images, Art in History", and "The Paintings of Quinten Massys".

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Read an Excerpt

Marketing Maximilian The Visual Ideology of a Holy Roman Emperor
By Larry Silver Princeton University Press
Copyright © 2008
Princeton University Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-691-13019-4


Chapter One Introduction: Maximilian's Artworlds

Willibald Pirckheimer, learned Nuremberg patrician and close friend of Albrecht Dürer, relates the tale of his five-hour crossing of Lake Constance to Lindau with Maximilian (27-29 July 1499). Shortly after a crushing defeat at the hands of "rebellious" Swiss troops at Dorneck during the Swiss Revolt for independence, the emperor determined to dictate the events of his reign (res gestae) in Latin to a secretary. He asked for Pirckheimer's criticisms of his "soldier's Latin" (ista militaris latinistas dicteo), an obvious allusion to Julius Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, first published more than a quarter of a century earlier (1469, Rome; 1473 Esslingen). His ambitions were to narrate for historians of posterity.

This Latin autobiography project was short-lived, but from this brief dictation came the germ of all of Maximilian's literary projects as well as his ongoing relation to the graphic arts that would eventually illustrate them; moreover, from such beginnings stemmed Maximilian's continual use of scholarly advisers, such as Pirckheimer, to supervise and edit his texts.

Already as early as 1492, the humanist Heinrich Bebel pressed Maximilian to begin a Latin autobiography. In it he charts hislife as an oscillation between poles: the misfortune of his natal horoscope, counterbalanced by divine providence (Ergo notandum in posterum est semper deus misericors et e converso spiritus malus constellacionis sue). This dialectic lies at the heart of the later plot structure of Teuerdank, Maximilian's fictionalized, autobiographical, verse romance, and it finds echos in Weisskunig, especially chapter 22, "How the Young White King Learned the Art of Stargazing [Sternsehens]":"After this the young White King mastered political knowledge.... He thought it would be useful to recognize the stars and their influence; otherwise he would not completely understand the nature of men."

Joseph Grünpeck, scribe for both the Constance Latin dictation and eventual author of the Latin autobiography, was a cleric and noted Latinist from Ingolstadt, also noted for his astrological prognostications. In 1497, he had presented Maximilian with a Latin drama, featuring a morality play in which the monarch himself was asked to choose, like Hercules, between Virtus and Fallacicaptrix, virtue and base pleasure. In August 1498, Grünpeck was crowned a poet laureate by Maximilian. Taken on as a "confidential" or private secretary for the emperor during 1501, Grünpeck was stricken with the effects of syphilis and had to curtail his offices. He later added an update to the Latin autobiography, Commentaria divi Maximiliani, covering the years 1501 through 1505 and thus spanning Maximilian's reign from his Burgundian marriage to the successful conclusion of the Bavarian-Palatine War of Succession. But by this time, Maximilian had already abandoned the use of Latin for his autobiography in favor of the German vernacular. The early outlines of his German allegorical autobiography, consisting of two further books in German, Teuerdank and Weisskunig, can be documented to this period. Nonetheless, a final redaction in Latin, the Historia Friderici et Maximiliani, was compiled by Grünpeck and presented to Maximilian with drawn illustrations in Februrary 1516.

These drawings were produced by a young Albrecht Altdorfer, who like Grünpeck lived in Regensburg. Chronologically, the Historia drawings end with the emperor's siege of Kufstein (October 1504), although chapter 36, the final segment of the Latin text, speaks of Maximilian's forty-ninth year, that is, 1508. The emphasis of these drawings lies more on the interests and activities of the emperor and his father than on their full biographies; virtue and wisdom are the dominant qualities. For Maximilian especially, youthful training, particularly in the martial arts (chapters 5-6) as well as adult accomplishments (including tournaments, masquerades, hunts, and language abilities) within his "open" administration, fill out the illustrations. These feats anticipate the central third of the later Weisskunig text in German, discussing Maximilian's wide-ranging training, as well as the side towers, also devised by Altdorfer, added to the Arch of Honor, a set of woodcuts that depict the emperor's personal qualities. At one point in his examination of the Historia drawings, however, even Maximilian clearly found their panegyric excessive. Alongside one drawing (no. 36) he added the remark "better [to have] posthumous praises" (lyber laudis post mortem). Such supervision by Maximilian himself of both text and image is entirely characteristic of his involvement with other artistic projects. He personally lined through two Historia drawings (nos. 12 and 46), both of which adopt the fascination in Grünpeck's text for celestial portents of the death or advent of great kings-here Frederick III (fo. 30r) and Maximilian (fo. 85r), respectively-because of his own later vision, less favorable to such astrological determinism. On two drawings of battle scenes Maximilian notes that a more comprehensive treatment in text and illustrations would appear later and more fully in "weysk," that is, Weisskunig. This notation shows that he was already clearly planning a fuller series of illustrated dictated texts to record his lifetime accomplishments, particularly those most worthy of imperial leadership-victories on the battlefield.

The layout of the Historia drawings suggests a one-to-one correspondence between chapters of text and their illustrations, including, prior to the section on Maximilian, a traditional dedication page illustration (no. 15, fo. 36r; fig. 1), in which the enthroned young grandson and heir, Archduke Charles, to whom the book is dedicated, receives it from the kneeling author, while a proud Maximilian stands beside and looks on. In addition to the correspondence of text and illustrations, as in the censored chapters on astrology, Benesch and Auer argue for the supervision and coordination of details by Grünpeck himself. Every indication, including the revisions demanded by Maximilian, suggests the real possibility of realizing Grünpeck's ambition of publishing this Latin text with woodcut illustrations made after the sketchy drawing designs. The author even produced an expanded, second edition, which he offered after Maximilian's death to his successor in Austria, his grandson, Ferdinand. A suggestion of Maximilian's overall activity with his secretaries is provided within the Historia drawings (no. 42, fo. 79r; fig. 2), where the king, seated at supper before a brocaded cloth of honor with two active, speaking advisers by his side, nonetheless also retains two scribes to record his dictations. In addition, a court fool is depicted entertaining in front of the table, while an extra (military?) court figure stands behind the secretaries at the right edge of the drawing. The accompanying chapter (no. 44) speaks de eius irremissibilibus laboribus, and it amplifies a previous chapter (no. 40), concerning the intelligence and working methods of Maximilian and his court, often exercised during hunts or at mealtimes (this is what is meant by the term "open" administration, utilized above). Marginal notations (Hoc etiam pingere), already contained in the original fragment of Latin dictation, indicate an original intention by Maximilian himself to produce an illustrated text. His dictated text of Weisskunig makes this clear: "And thus to make at the outset an explanation of my book I have added painted figures to the text with which the reader with mouth and eye may understand the bases of this painting of my book, which ground I have established, and in the same fashion have written and depicted chronicles, as I have seen such out of other chronicles of my predecessors." Thus, as Grünpeck's uncompleted Historia project already indicates, the pattern of Maximilian's literary and visual production of books was already embryonically defined at the very turn of the sixteenth century, and his own ambitions to provide the most modern publishers and graphic artists of print and woodcut found willing collaborators in the roles of secretaries, literary advisers, and artists.

While Grünpeck during his chronic illness was out of sight and mind of Maximilian, the emperor's literary plans turned around 1505 to his German-language autobiography, to be given the romance-like title, Weisskunig. For this project the center of supervision shifted from Regensburg to Augsburg, and from Grünpeck to Maximilian's most trusted adviser, Dr. Konrad Peutinger. Its title derives from the identification of the hero with his pure, white armor, which contrasts with the identifying arms worn by other kings, dressed in blue (France), green (Hungary), red and white (England), or distinguished by means of heraldic attributes (flints for Burgundy, fish for Venice). This tradition derives from courtly romances featuring knights in armor, such as Ulrich von Liechtenstein's Frauendienst, whose poet-narrator is the "green knight." Also foundational, the fifteenth-century Burgundian tradition, which Maximilian knew through his marriage (1477) to Mary of Burgundy, provided both fictional romances (Olivier de la Marche, Le chevalier déliberé, 1483; translated into Spanish for Charles V in 1522) and chronologies of splendid reigns (by such historians as Enguerrand de Monstrelet, George Chastellain, and Philippe de Commynes), as powerful models. The Weisskunig text was organized along the same lines as the Historia, in three parts: the history (here just the marriage) of Maximilian's parents; the birth and training of the young Maximilian; and finally, the chronicle of his military campaigns (1477-1513) against his fellow "kings." As Misch has outlined his ambitions, Maximilian "stylized" the events of his own life in order to provide a melodramatic romance as an apologia for his necessary, yet involuntary, wars as responses to the aggressions of his grasping or envious neighbors. At the same time, those victorious battles, as well as his own education and training, were conceived by Maximilian in terms of an ideal model, suitable for use as a "Mirror of Princes" for emulation by his successors. The outlines of the Weisskunig and Teuerdank texts were not dictated directly to Peutinger, but rather were given to a principal private secretary, Marx Treitzsaurwein (d. 1527), a man recorded in documents by 1501 and related to a family of armorers in Mühlau, near Innsbruck (where Maximilian's armor as well as the bronze statues for his tomb were cast; see chapter 2). The earliest indications of such planned texts appears in a memorandum book, datable to the period 1505-8, where Teuerdank is mentioned (fo. 169r), not yet split off in concept from Weisskunig. The earliest redaction by Treitzsaurwein of Weisskunig recounts the youth of Maximilian; it also includes corrections by the emperor. In essence, as secretary, Treitzsaurwein fulfilled the role of herald for his master's deeds, just as a fictional herald, Ehrenhold, the constant companion and witness for Teuerdank, holds the sole duty to sing the praises of his fictional lord. No clear distinction can be made between the emperor's own words and those of his "ghost writer." Treitzsaurwein was later authorized in 1526 by Ferdinand, Maximilian's successor, to publish an edition of Weisskunig, but the secretary's death the next year interrupted that project permanently. Various drafts survive, some with accompanying woodcut illustrations, such as the proof set (ms. F) submitted to Maximilian for captions around 1512, followed by another manuscript (ms. A; completed 1514) to be inspected for final revisions. In addition, a "Question Book" (ms. H, 1515), including eighty-two woodcuts and thirty-four drawings, as well as a "Control Book" served to clarify uncertainties concerning the selection and order of text and illustrations of details in mss. A and E prior to the final, definitive publication of Weisskunig. Peutinger coordinated all 251 illustrations for Weisskunig in Augsburg. He divided their artistic production almost equally between two local artists: Hans Burgkmair (118 images) and Leonhard Beck (127); Hans Springinklee and Hans Schäufelein were responsible for the other six illustrations. The nature of his concerns went beyond the recruitment and supervision of Augsburg artists and extended to technical issues, chiefly the cutting of woodblocks after the artists' designs by Formschneider. Peutinger had already enlisted Burgkmair to produce a multicolor (including overlay of gold or silver) equestrian portrait woodcut for Maximilian in 1508 for the occasion of his coronation as emperor-elect at Trent (chapter 3). He also utilized Burgkmair to design figures of ninety-two ancestors for Maximilian's intended publication of his Genealogy (chapter 2), for which he also enlisted a wood sculptor (Schreiner) and two block carvers (Formschneider). Among the Formschneider in Augsburg, one Netherlandish virtuoso craftsman, Jost de Negker, personally wrote to the emperor (27 October 1512) to claim credit for supervising the other cutters and for producing a chiaroscuro portrait of Maximilian's local Augsburg adviser and financial minister, Hans Paumgartner. Augsburg was also the headquarters of Maximilian's designated "printer for life," Hans Schönsperger, who invented Fraktur, or gothic German type, for the emperor's exclusive use. Peutinger's multiple projects for Maximilian, including Weisskunig, reach a climax in his letter to the emperor of 9 June 1516, where the illustrations of Weisskunig, Teuerdank, and Freydal, as well as the pictorial suite, Triumphal Procession, are all described as "designed, cut, and printed" (gerissen, geschniten und ausgemacht worden), while others are still moving along in the process, with five Augsburg cutters and one more in Nuremberg waiting for work.

From the surviving drawings of the Weisskunig we can glean some insights into the processes by which illustrations for texts were produced. Whatever designs were created by the artists, Burgkmair and Beck, have disappeared entirely, either destroyed during the process of transferring and carving them onto the woodblocks, or else not prized as objects in themselves for safekeeping. Nor do any drawings survive from Teuerdank or the Genealogy, Maximilian's other major publication projects. Yet in the "Question Book" (ms. H), thirty-four sketches made prior to actual woodcut designs remain, arranged according to their appropriate chapters; and a further fifty-two drawings, overlapping with the ones in ms. H, can be found in a similar volume (ms. G; Boston Museum of Fine Arts, formerly in Liechtenstein). Because these works duplicate each other as copies, they can be understood as "working drawings" for supervision and correction by the emperor prior to a final, "permanent" design to be cut for woodblock printing.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Marketing Maximilian by Larry Silver
Copyright © 2008 by Princeton University Press . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Chapter 1: Introduction: Maximilian's Artworlds 1
Chapter 2: Family Ties: Genealogy as Ideology for Emperor Maximilian I 41
Chapter 3: Translation of Empire 77
Chapter 4: Caesar Divus: Leader of Christendom 109
Chapter 5: Shining Armor: Emperor Maximilian, Chivalry, and War 147
Chapter 6: Magnifi cence and Dignity: Princely Pastimes 169
Chapter 7: Conclusions: Dynasty and/or Nation? 215
Notes 237
Bibliography 289
Index 301

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