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7-10 décembre 2011, Vienne : The Habsburgs and their Courts in Europe, 1400–1700. Between Cosmopolitism and Regionalism

A variety of visual and written sources demonstrate that the members of the House of Habsburg
devoted special attention to creating a ‘dynastic identity’ (e.g. “Fürstenspiegel”, panegyric and
emblematic literature). The aim of this conference is to trace a Habsburg dynastic ‘idiom’ in the
sphere of archducal/kingly/imperial representation, particularly at the residence courts, and to
consider its supranational features in contrast to regional ones. Court culture in Vienna, Madrid,
Brussels, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest will be examined and compared in detail – with a
double focus, looking for interactions both within the Habsburg network spread across Europe
and with local traditions. All topics of exchange should be worked out with the help of visual
media as used by the Habsburgs, and developed within one of the following four panels :

I. “Repraesentatio Majestatis” and Residency
The court residence is viewed as the nucleus of representation. Investigation should focus
primarily on the official apartments built by the Habsburgs, and their relation to the court
ceremonial. The main question is whether or not there was a model unifying the court
residences in Madrid, Brussels, and Central Europe. Particular attention should be devoted to
the display of codes and symbols of Habsburg princely representation. All visual media and
elements of performance (theatre, festivities, ephemeral art, etc.), including different sorts of
collections and collectibles (artworks, books, horses, plants, etc.), are expected to be
reconsidered in the context of their display.

II. Religious Practices and the Court
A decisive element of Habsburg dynastic identity was what might be called “Pietas Austriaca”
(Adoration of the Eucharist, of the Holy Virgin, the Holy Cross, and the Saints). In which way
were these specific religious practices displayed either in publicly performed liturgy or in
private devotion ? How were these practices reflected in the art, culture and architecture of the
court ? What about the sacred spaces at the Habsburg courts, their location, structure and
function in ceremonial and private life ? What about possible connections and interdependencies
between princely residences and religious buildings ? Can virtues like “Pietas” and “Modestas” be
seen as criteria for a reconsideration of Habsburg architecture ? Which differences or similarities
can be found between the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs in using “Pietas” ?

III. Habsburgs and Muslims
The long‐standing threat of the Ottomans in eastern Central Europe and of the Moors in Spain
provoked the construction of images and stereotypes of the enemies in faith. Were there similar
strategies in Spain and in Austria, and in particular within the context of court culture, for the
creation of propaganda presenting the Habsburgs as “defenders of the Catholic faith” ? Was there
any tangible influence of this image on Habsburg court culture ? Further issues are : Turkish
perceptions of Habsburg courts and palaces ; the possible role of Ottoman palaces as a rival
imperial model ; manifestations of the triumph over the Moors and the Ottomans in palatial art
and architecture.

IV. Regional Patriotism (Landespatriotismus)
The Habsburgs developed a supranational form of dynastic identity. Besides this, however, there
were other forms of identities articulated and cultivated by the local nobles in Bohemia,
Hungary, and Poland. They related namely to what may be called Landespatriotismus, in the
sense of their loyalty to the traditions of what they still saw as their ´homeland´. This panel
considers various forms of expression of Landespatriotismus in the visual arts of the palaces of
the time. Of particular interest in this context are works of art produced in Bohemia, Hungary, or
Poland, which glorify local saints or earlier rulers.

Convenors :
 Herbert Karner (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Commission for Art History, Vienna)
 Ingrid Ciulisová (Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art History, Bratislava)

Please submit your proposal (max. 350 words) for a 20‐30 minute paper before 30 April 2011 to :
Herbert.Karner chez
with a copy to
Pieter.Martens chez
coordinator of PALATIUM. 

Notification of acceptance before 30 June 2011. A collection of papers will be published after evaluating the conference’s results.

Languages : English and German – Paper abstracts only in English
Coordination and contact : Dr Herbert Karner
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Kommission für Kunstgeschichte
Dr. Ignaz Seipel‐Platz 2
A‐1010 Wien
Herbert.Karner chez

This conference is part of the Research Networking Programme PALATIUM. Court Residences as Places of Exchange in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1400-1700), financed by the
European Science Foundation.