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A noble residence for a female regent : Margaret of Austria and the ’Court of Savoy’ in Mechelen

Dagmar Eichberger

Eichberger, Dagmar, "A noble residence for a female regent : Margaret of Austria and the ’Court of Savoy’ in Mechelen", dans Hills, Helen (éd.), Architecture and the politics of gender in early modern Europe. Aldershot, 2003. 25-46 und Abb. 1.1.-1.11.

Extrait de l’article

This chapter investigates the principal residence, the ’Court of Savoy’, of Archduchess Margaret of Austria (1480-1530), governor-general and regent of the Burgundian-Hasburgian Netherlands. Margaret of Austria is the first of a series of female regents who resided and ruled in this economically important part of the Holy Roman Empire. Margaret’s residence in Mechelen was one of the most significant princely courts in the early sixteenth-century Netherlands, which attracted the attention of humanists, international diplomats end artists alike.
This chapter examines the ways in which Margaret of Austria’s social rank and gender had a particular impact on the edifice itslef or on the interior decoration of her residence. The first part of this study looks closely at the architectural structure of the so-called ’Court of Savoy’ and the built environment surrounding the residence. Particular attention is paid to the living quarters inhabited by the widowed archduchess and to her garden. The second part of this chapter analyses how Margaret of Austria organized and interpreted theses spaces by carefully furnishing her rooms with a large variety of objects and artefacts. It argues that her identity as a female regent is clearly reflected in the way in which she decorated her residence.

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