May 18, 2022 at 8:44 pm #4671Hans HellingerModerator
Emperor Maximilian I was the first in a new series of powerful Holy Roman Emperors, gradually rising to power toward the end of the 15th Century and into the 16th Century. His grandson would become the mighty Holy Roman Emperor / King of Spain Charles V.
Among the many rich territories which came under his control, Maximilian married into the house of Valois of the Dukes of Burgundy, and thus the overlordship of Flanders. This put him in (theoretical) control of one of the greatest centers of cultural genesis in the world at that time. And while Flanders is known mainly for the Great painting Masters who lived there (such as Jan van Eyk, Hans Memling, Hieronymus Bosch etc.) it was also a major center of book production. In towns such as Ghent, Ypres and Bruges they particularly specialized in the production of very beautiful illuminated books such as books of hours made for French princes and royalty.
Around the same time, in Central Europe, the art of print making via copper plate engravings, dry point, and woodcuts, had been invented by a series of cunning artists, and raised to a high art and a new industry. Many artists like Albrecht Dürer (whose wife hailed from the Low Countries) became rich and famous by selling prints of their work to large numbers of middle class people rather than just a few paintings to the extremely wealthy.
Maximilian took advantage of this by commissioning the creation of several ambitious, if not to say grandiose projects, including Freydal, Der Weisskonig, the ‘Triumph’ of Maximillian, and the armaments book of Maximilian. These told self aggrandizing stories, or catalogued his arsenal, and were illustrated with a mix of paintings and prints based from engravings.
The stories depicted range from absurd to prosaic, but the art is very good and often quite interesting for a variety of reasons. Artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Hans Burgkmair, Albrecht Altdorfer, and Leonhard Beck created the plates, many of which are extraordinarily beautiful.
For a variety of political and military reasons, most of these books ended up never being published, but the books, and their magnificent art, have been preserved. They are a valuable resource for gamers,
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.