Chroniques De Hainaut Analysis

1231 Words5 Pages
Ducal Identity in the Chroniques de Hainaut Although presentation miniatures have a long history in illuminated manuscripts, the presentation miniature of the Chroniques de Hainaut to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, achieves the height of this genre. Generally attributed to Rogier van der Weyden based on connoisseurship, the miniature excels in its painstaking attention to detail and delicacy. This attention spills over into the composition and iconography, using a system of devices, mottos, and heraldry to establish Philip the Good’s identity and political strategies. I will argue that the Duke establishes his identity as separate from his predecessors through heraldry, and positions his son, Charles the Bold, as the rightful heir to…show more content…
On June 19, 1369, Philip the Good’s grandfather, Philip the Bold, married Margaret of Flanders. Margaret of Flanders was the daughter of Louis of Mal, Count of Flanders, a region which practiced female inheritance. Therefore, when Louis of Mal died in 1384, Philip the Bold became Count of Flanders. To honor this, Philip the Bold’s son, John the Fearless, adds the Flemish coat of arms to the center of his personal heraldry. Later, Philip the Good further alters the heraldry when he adds the important territories of Limburg and Brabant. This carefully constructed mix of Burgundian territories forms Philip the Good’s coat of arms as seen in the Chroniques de Hainaut. Philip the Good’s coat of arms appears centered above the miniature. The addition of Brabant and Limburg differentiate him from his father, John the Fearless, who was a controversial figure ambiguously murdered by the Dauphin. The inclusion of the major territories on Philip’s coat of arms implies that Philip unifies the territories into a single entity. Under Philip, the once disparate territories can peacefully coexist as they do on his coat of…show more content…
He also wears the same clothing as his father, but made of a different, more colorful and elaborate fabric. Charles the Bold is visually the heir to the Burgundian throne, just by the way he mimics his father. The presentation of Charles as essentially a miniature Philip the Good assures the viewer that Charles will not stray from his father’s methods of diplomacy. Charles appears to be in motion, as do others in the miniature. He leans towards the knight in green, shifting his weight onto his left foot. Although it is a slight motion, it registers in the viewer’s eye. This depicts him as an active, rather than passive, court member. By this miniature’s account, Charles the Bold practices to become the Duke of Burgundy by engaging in court life, even though he is only twelve years of age in this image. In case the miniature too subtly depicts Charles’ involvement in Burgundian politics, the heraldry on the borders clarifies any doubts. As the heir to Burgundy, Charles serves as the Count of Charolais, a traditional title for anyone set to be the next Duke of Burgundy. Less traditionally, Charles the Bold simultaneously serves as Count of Boulogne. The artist represents both Charolais and Boulogne among the heraldry in the border. This reiterates that Charles more than inherits his future position as Duke of Burgundy, but also earns it through

More about Chroniques De Hainaut Analysis

Open Document