Accueil / Actualités et liens utiles / Événements / Colloques et journées d’études / 27 oct. 2017, Mechelen : Urban Palaces of the (...)

27 oct. 2017, Mechelen : Urban Palaces of the Nobility in Early Modern Europe (1400-1750)

European palaces in the early modern era were more than mere residences of monarchs and high nobility. They represent one link in a broader residential system, where each element plays a particular role in place and time. Papers can explore urban palaces as part of this residential system and their functioning together with other residences. Which role do these urban palaces play and what is their place in the residential network of the nobility ?
Moreover, urban palaces were centers of power with a representative role, carriers of symbols of social and political authority. Case-studies might address how the location, architecture and internal organization reflect the high standing and prestige of the owner as well as possible interaction between the noble residences and the palaces of the reigning prince (emulation aspects ?). How is architecture used to express power to the contemporary observer ? Can we deduce from this similarities or discontinuities with contemporary court residences ? Or, in other words, are there typological similarities between these residences, transcending the boundaries of one city ?

Mechelen, 27 October, LAMOT Centre, 9.30 am – 6 pm

Setting the scene (keynote)
Dagmar Eichberger (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg), “The Court in Mechelen. A Hub of Political and Cultural Activities within a Network of Aristocratic Residences”

Session 1 : Urban Presences. The European Nobility and its Palaces in Town
Renate Leggatt-Hofer (Vienna), “Palais of the international high aristocracy in Vienna since the 1530s”
Stephan Hoppe (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), “Living nobly downtown. 15th and 16th-century urban palaces (Stadthöfe) in the Rhineland”
Alain Salamagne (Université François Rabelais, Tours), “Du duc de Berry à Jacques Cœur, les palais de Bourges”
Krista De Jonge (KU Leuven), “From Bruges to Mechelen. Burgundian and Habsburg noble palaces and their representative features”

Session 2 : Between Town and Country. The European Nobility and its Residence System(s)
Barbara Arciszewska (University of Warsaw), “Residences of Polish-Lithuanian nobility in Crown cities and private towns (1400-1750)”
Nuno Senos (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), “The ducal town of Vila Viçosa : a palace in its urban context”
Sanne Maekelberg (KU Leuven), “Heaven on earth – Charles of Croÿ (1560-1612) and his palace in Beaumont”
Bernardo García García (Universidad Complutense de Madrid/Fundación Carlos de Amberes), “Architecture at the Service of Royal Favourite. The Duke of Lerma’s Residential System (1599-1618)”

Closing words
Konrad Ottenheym (University of Utrecht)

Abstracts

Keynote : Dagmar Eichberger (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg), “The Court in Mechelen. A Hub of Political and Cultural Activities within a Network of Aristocratic Residences”
This paper investigates the interconnections between the Mechelen court complex on both sides of Keizerstraat and the cosmopolitan life within the city of Mechelen. The large square, the wide streets and the monumental Saint Rombaut’s church were the stage on which political and diplomatic activities were performed on special occasions. At the so-called ‘Court of Cambrai’ (then Keizerhof) and the ‘Court of Savoy’ several high-ranking members of the Burgundian-Habsburg family resided for a number of years or stayed for shorter periods of time. The most significant individuals were : Duchess Margaret of York, Archduchess Margaret of Austria, Emperor Maximilian I., King Philippe the Handsome, Archduke Charles (V), Queen Mary of Hungary, princess Eleanor of Austria, Archduke Ferdinand (I), princess Isabel of Austria, as well and later on as the three children from her marriage with the king of Denmark, Christian II.
During that time, many noblemen acquired a property inside the city walls (e.g. : Carondelet, Nassau, Egmont, de la Marck, Cortenbach) or constructed a large residence (e.g. : Busleyden, Lalaing, Croÿ) that would be fit to represent their elevated social status. Today, most traces of these buildings have perished so that the former situation has to be reconstructed from archival documents, prints, drawings, civic accounts, etc. It can be shown, that there once was a cluster of courtly residences that testify to the former significance of Mechelen as an alternative center of political activity.

Barbara Arciszewska (University of Warsaw), “Residences of Polish-Lithuanian nobility in Crown cities and private towns (1400-1750)”
The proposed the paper will be an attempt to analyze urban residences of the nobility of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with respect to their spatial and social context. Polish political and economic systems developed along the lines privileging landed class as well as feudal-like agrarian economy, which eroded the nobility’s links to the city and weakened the necessity of investing in urban residences for all but the richest aristocrats. The situation was somewhat different in the main centres of court life and political activity, where the elites had to spend significant amount of time serving at the court, participating in sessions of the Sejm, or attending tribunal proceedings. The paper will explore the aristocratic residences in the capital cities of Cracow, Warsaw, and Vilnius, as well as those in the Crown cities acting as parliamentary and judiciary centres (Piotrków Trybunalski, Lublin, Grodno) in order to examine their form as a vehicle for the strategies of dynastic representation. At the same time, the paper will aim to compare the form of these urban seats to aristocratic residences in the provincial private towns founded by these magnates (for instance in Zamość, Wiśnicz Nowy, Rydzyna).

Krista De Jonge (KU Leuven), “From Bruges to Mechelen. Burgundian and Habsburg noble palaces and their representative features”
In the Low Countries, the shift between different centres of gravity in the constellation of court residences also had consequences for the development of the noble urban residence and its typology. Together with the waning of its commercial activities, Bruges lost most of its significance as residence of the court at the end of the Burgundian era. At the same time, Mechelen was in the ascendance thanks to Charles the Bold (d. 1477) and his widow Margaret of York. Around 1500, the “manner of Brabant” became fully defined as the new way of building of the court and the higher nobility, not least thanks to the activities of the Keldermans masters of Mechelen, who rose to prominence under the early Habsburg rulers and their most important courtiers. Surprisingly, however, some features recognizable in contemporary Mechelen residences were first pioneered in the urban palaces of Bruges, specifically in the lower reaches of court society. Conversely, some elements present in late fifteenth and early sixteenth-century Mechelen urban palaces, especially staircases, seem absolutely innovative with regard to Bruges. This paper will also address the question of differentiation, since so many features were apparently shared by the ruler and by different strata of the nobility.

Bernardo García García (Universidad Complutense de Madrid/Fundación Carlos de Amberes), “Architecture at the Service of a Royal Favourite. The Duke of Lerma’s Residential System (1599-1618)”
Following the research results of the last twenty years, I wish to examine the whole residential system developed by the first Duke of Lerma during his high and exceptional position as Royal Favourite of the Spanish King Philip III. He consciously used architecture as a very useful instrument to show his power, to extend the influence and richness of his lineage, and to preserve his familiarity and privacy with the King and his personal entourage. This Residential System integrated urban palaces and castles (in Madrid, Valladolid, Denia, Ampudia, Lerma) with apartments linked with convents and colleges, pleasure and hunting residences, and a lot of pious foundations, but also with his apartments in the Royal Sites in relation with his numerous court offices and privileges. In this paper, I will consider the typology and uses of these residences, analyzing the integration and adaptation of this set into the King’s agenda.

Stephan Hoppe (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), “Living nobly downtown. 15th and 16th-century urban palaces (Stadthöfe) in the Rhineland”
In the late Middle Ages, the cities of Cologne and Mainz developed a broad culture of large urban estates or palaces, inhabited by the families of the lower nobility of the region and the local patrician families. From the other bourgeois houses they were set apart by their large estate and the stately manner of their architecture of stone and often provided with towers. Although most of these properties have been decimated since the 19th century and only very few remains can be seen today in the two cities, there is a rich array of various types of sources which allows the reconstruction of this architectural building type in various aspects. In my paper, I would like to introduce some important examples and discuss the different contexts in which they have been used. Examples include prominent buildings like the Hackeneyhof (c 1500) in Cologne, chosen by Emperor Maximilian I as an accomodation, or the Königsteiner Hof (1464/65) in Mainz, built by the governor of the newly appointed archbishop of the Archbishop after his conquest of the city.

Renate Leggatt-Hofer (Vienna), “Palais of the international high aristocracy in Vienna since the 1530s”
Ferdinand I of Habsburg first attempted to make Vienna his central kingly/imperial residence in the middle of the 1520s and realized this goal already in the 1530s. Right away, the Austrian, Bohemian and Spanish high aristocracy started to establish their own town palais in Vienna, turning the city into the central residence of the Habsburg court. A kind of noble centre along Herrengasse, close to the king’s palace, emerged. In 1566 there existed already 59 noble palais out of 925 recorded bourgeois houses in Vienna. This paper wants to provide an overview ; it also tries to place these first noble palais within the network of the Habsburg dynastic and imperial influence, as well as discussing the relationship to the country residences of the nobility.

Sanne Maekelberg (KU Leuven), “Heaven on earth – Charles of Croÿ (1560-1612) and his palace in Beaumont”
Situated in the south of Hainaut, the castle of Beaumont was one of the main residences of the Croÿ dynasty ever since it came into their possession in 1453. In 1519 Beaumont was erected to county in favour or William of Croÿ, lord of Chièvres. Three generations later, it was the favourite residence of Philippe III of Croÿ and Jeanne of Halluin, and their son Charles of Croÿ (1560-1612) goes on to make it into the early-set capital of the Croÿ administration. The residence – big enough to house three sovereign princes and their household - was an important presence in the urban tissue and far beyond, situated on a ledge looking out over the entire area. In this paper we will explore how the location and architecture of this urban residence contributed to the high standing the Croÿ held in the surrounding territory and even in the entire province of Hainaut.

Alain Salamagne (Université François Rabelais, Tours), “Du duc de Berry à Jacques Cœur, les palais de Bourges”
L’œuvre constructive réalisée sur une trentaine d’année entre 1380 et 1410 par Jean de Berry (1340-1416) est considérable, supérieure même à celle entrepris par son frère, le roi de France Charles V (1365-1380) puisqu’on a pu comptabiliser jusqu’à 17 châteaux ou demeures totalement ou partiellement réédifiées par ses soins. Le plus important d’entre eux fut le palais de Bourges construit de 1390 à 1400 sur lequel des recherches conduites ces dernières années permettent de proposer une nouvelle lecture, en soulignant l’existence à côté des bâtiments de représentation de corps-de-logis à usage uniquement résidentiel.
Fils d’un marchand pelletier (le commerce des peaux et des fourrures), qui fut en relation avec le duc de Berry, né entre 1395 et 1400, Jacques Cœur s’introduit dans le milieu des notables par son mariage en 1418 avec Macé de Léodepart, fille du prévôt ducal de Bourges. Armateur à partir de 1432, il va établir une série de comptoirs pour établir des relations directes avec l’Orient, qu’il découvre dès 1432 en visitant Alexandrie, Beyrouth, Damas… Adjudicataire de l’office de l’Argenterie royale en 1438, il fournit la cour, puis entre au conseil du roi après avoir été anobli en 1441.
Le palais ou « grant maison » qu’il fit construire à Bourges entre 1443 et 1451 est considéré comme un « unicum » de l’architecture française. Une relecture de ses caractéristiques (distribution, décor exemplaire de sa galerie, élévation) faite lors du dernier Congrès archéologique de France Berry 2017 sera présentée ici. Si des relations existent entre certains éléments de son architecture et les palais du duc de Berry, l’hôtel Jacques Cœur présente néanmoins des particularités remarquables aux origines de l’architecture de l’hôtel particulier français des années 1500.

Nuno Senos (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), “The ducal town of Vila Viçosa : a palace in its urban context”
Upon his return from exile in Spain in 1498, the 4th duke of Bragança, James, settled in his ducal town of Vila Viçosa and engaged in a major urban renovation project entirely conceived around the glorification of his lineage. He began by abandoning the castle where the family had traditionally been headquartered, replacing it with a large and luxurious palace just outside the medieval urban wall. In conjunction with this palace, work was done in the nearby Augustinian monastery, which would henceforth function as James’ mausoleum and that of his descendants. This setting was completed with the construction of a convent given to the Clarissas, which was to become the mausoleum of the family duchesses.
All of these buildings were under construction when James died, in 1532, and were continued by his son and successor, Theodosius, whose reform of the palace completed this urban system by opening a large square that brought together all three buildings in one of the most monumental urban spaces in the country.
With the square and its three distinctly Bragança buildings at its center, the urban renovation promoted by these two dukes further comprised the opening of new streets and squares destined to receive the palaces of the noble families that composed the ducal court, as well as the replacement of the old, medieval castle with a modern fortress, it too more concerned with the glorification of the Bragança than with defense concerns proper. All of these separate elements were, in fact, conceived of as a system, a network of buildings destined to give rise to the most complete ducal town in renaissance Portugal.