Thursday, November 17, 2005

Festival at Antwerp

Portrait The duc d'Anjou
"In Europe in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, important events in the life of a princely dynasty, such as marriage, the birth or christening of an heir, a coronation or a funeral, were celebrated by mounting a festival.

Religious festivals took place on saints' days and significant dates in the Church calendars. Festivals also occurred when a prince made a formal entry into a city, either at home or abroad. The term ‘festival’ refers as well to the artistic elements that accompanied these occasions, such as: theatrical, operatic or ballet performances; equestrian, aquatic or firework displays; temporary architectural constructions."

This extraordinary spectacle was decorated
with the arms of Antwerp and Anjou.

A whale bearing Neptune on its back.
" Festival books were usually published to honour the court or city which hosted the festival. As official publications, they tell us about the image the authorities wanted to project and offer us insights into inter-state alliances, rivalries and other political circumstances. They provide the names and relative standing of prominent courtiers and citizens. They tell us about the artistic styles of the period: its literature, theatre, visual arts and music, and its scenography and architecture. We learn something about economics, social organisation and the luxury trades.

But festival books do not always provide an accurate record of events. Sometimes prepared in advance of the occasion, sometimes seen from the limited viewpoint of an eye-witness, their accounts are ideal, and even idealised, rather than strictly factual."
Concord on the back of a huge seahorse.
La ioyeuse [et] magnifique entrée de monseigneur Francoys, fils de France, et frere unicque du roy, par la grace de dieu, duc de Brabant, d'Anjou, Alencon, Berri, [et]c. en sa tres-renomée ville d'Anvers 1582 at the British Library, part of the Renaissance Festival Books exhibition.
[The entry of François de Valois, duc d'Alençon into Antwerp]

The illustrations and 21 engravings for this book were completed by Crispin van den Broeck and Adam de Bruyn and the printer was Christophe Plantin. The text describes the journey from Dover, ceremonial investiture as duc de Brabant and François de Valois's entry into Antwerp.

1 comment :

R.H. said...

Festivals are still going. They're given various suburban names, but are really shopkeeper's festivals.
Yarraville festival was on last week. Lots of sales. Food, mainly. From cafes.

Good work.

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