Magnificence And Requence In The Renaissance

Decent Essays
The concept of magnificence and virtue was important to Renaissance rulers because they identified the higher social class that rulers belonged to (Woods, 2012, p. 177). This essay will attempt to highlight the importance of virtuous restraint in rulers within gender norms of the time, and contrast it with the idea of magnificence for Renaissance rulers using a contemporary written source and two main visual sources with equestrian scenes, one from the beginning and the other from towards the end of the time period known as the Renaissance (1420-1620). First there will be an overview of the written source before going on to analyse and discuss the works of art in turn.

During the Renaissance, there was a renewed interest in Classical philosophy,
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206). Titians’ 1548 equestrian portrait “Charles V at Mühlberg” (1) suggests that Charles V took his tutor’s advice to heart. The large (335 x 283cm) oil on canvas equestrian portrait of the king tightly framed in a landscape was commissioned to commemorate a victory won. As such it is a symbol of magnificence, the size and the fact that a north European ruler commissioned a well-known Italian painter to paint him, is indicative of expenditure as a virtue. However, the lack of the battlefield or the vanquished indicates restraint and magnanimity following Erasmus’ advice to “not consider yourself superior” when a victory is won over an enemy (Erasmus, 2012, [1997], p. 86). Similarly, the figure of Charles V is small in comparison to the painting as a whole and this might have reminded viewers of his modesty. The composition is similar to the equestrian statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (2) (Woods, 2012, p. 205), which shows the influence classical art and thinking had in Renaissance royal culture, however, their poses are quite different. Charles V’s arms are down to his side and the lance is held at an angle, which indicate that although he was victorious, modesty and duty were important to…show more content…
269), but they had an additional set of rules to follow as well, that of the faithful, dutiful wife or regent. Giovanni Dominici in his 1416 treatise “Rule for family management” suggests that women use their wealth in more subdued fashion, such as fixing churches (Dominici, 2012 [1860], p. 106). The fact that Erasmus used negative gendered terms such as “girlish pride” or “misguided as any woman” comparing them with “idiot courtiers” and “common people” (Erasmus, 2012, [1997], p. 84) is indicative of what female rulers throughout the Renaissance were up against. Caterina Sforza was one of these rulers. She commissioned a small (7.5 cm. diameter) portrait medal (4) attributed to Niccoló Fiorentino c.1488 commemorating her ascension. The use of these medals goes back to ancient and classical times, when Caesar was minted on coins. The function of these widely circulated medals was to commemorate and solidify claims to the throne. Later, with the introduction of the printing press, wood prints like the Dürer portrait of Maximilian (5) was circulated to the same effect. (the open
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