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"The Politics of Devotion: Patronage and the Sumptuous Arts at the French Court (1374-1472)" argues for the significance of devotional art in the construction of legitimate political identity in late-fourteenth and fifteenth century French courts, establishing a model for patronage that highlights the role of the nobility in art produced in France during the Hundred Years War and its aftermath. This study focuses on two patrons: first, Jean de Valois, the duke of Berry; and second, the Jouvenel des Ursins, a recently ennobled family who owed their rise to power to their appointment to prestigious political positions. Jean de Berry's Petites Heures and Grandes Heures serve as examples of ducal patronage that combine elements of manuscripts associated with the late Capetian dynasty. Among these are the Belleville Breviary and the lost Hours of Jean le Bon, as well as didactic mirrors for princes, L'Estimeur du Monde and the Enseignements of Saint Louis, all intended to link the nascent Valois dynasty, whose legitimacy was contested during the Hundred Years' War, to the previous Capetian dynasty. The manipulation of devotional objects to create a context for the presentation of political propaganda is adopted subsequently by the Jouvenel des Ursins family to promote legitimate noble identity in both text and image. Surviving books of hours belonging to Michel, Jean II, and Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins provide evidence of the family's desires to promote their claims to nobility by emulating princely models of patronage. The chancellor of France under Charles VII and Louis XI, Guillaume was also the patron the Mare historiarum, a universal history that includes visual references to the family's connection to the ancient noble Orsini family of Rome, as well as represents Guillaume as following the model of royal patronage. Evidence of the Jouvenel des Ursins family's awareness of the material requirements of noble patronage is also represented in two fragments of a heraldic tapestry, and marshaled the developing medium of panel painting to recreate sumptuous objects. Both sets of patrons took advantage of markers of legitimate political identity to adapt sumptuous devotional objects to function not for prayer alone, but also for personal and family promotion. Through the patterns of patronage employed by Jean de Berry and the Jouvenel des Ursins, it is possible to explore the role of the visual arts in constructing nobility in France during the tumultuous period of the Hundred Years' War and beyond.
noblesse, Grandes Heures, Petites Heures, Jouvenel des Ursins, Jean de Berry, patronage, vivre noblement
Date of Defense
March 17, 2011.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Art History in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Stephanie Leitch, Professor Directing Dissertation; Lori J. Walters, University Representative; Paula Gerson, Committee Member; Robert Neuman, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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