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Harvey Miller
T. Chapman Hamilton
Pleasure and Politics at the Court of France. The Artistic Patronage of Queen Marie of Brabant (1260-1321)

328 p., 37 b/w ill. + 140 colour ill., 220 x 280 mm, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-905375-68-4
Languages: English
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (09/2019)
Retail price: EUR 125,00 excl. tax
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For her commissioning and performance of a French vernacular version of the Arabic Tale of the Thousand and One Nights – recorded in one of the most vivid and sumptuous extant late thirteenth-century manuscripts – as well as for her numerous other commissions, Queen Marie of Brabant (1260-1321) was heralded as an intellectual and literary patron comparable to Alexander the Great and Charlemagne. Nevertheless, classic studies of the late medieval period understate Marie’s connection to the contemporary rise of secular interests at the French court.

Pleasure and Politics seeks to reshape that conversation by  illustrating how the historical record reveals the queen’s important contributions to the burgeoning European court. This emerging importance of the secular and redefinition of the sacred during the last decades of Capetian rule becomes all the more striking when juxtaposed to the pious tone of the lengthy reign of Louis IX (1214-1270), which had ended just four years before Marie’s marriage to his son. That Marie often chose innovative materials and iconographies – ones that would later in the fourteenth century become the norm – to create these objects signals her importance in late medieval patronage.

Pleasure and Politics examines Marie’s life from her youth in Brabant, to her entry into Paris in 1274 and elaborate coronation held for the first time in the Sainte-Chapelle the following year, to her years as queen of France — often full of intrigue — and her long, productive widowhood, until her death and burial in 1321. With a focus on her Carolingian heritage joined to her status as French queen, her commissions include ceremonies, marriage treaties, and intercessions, as well as a stunning collection of jewels, seals, manuscripts, reliquaries, sculpture, stained glass, and architecture, that she gathered and built around her. This study also reveals Marie’s regular focus on and collaboration with family, friends, and artists, in particular that with the poet Adenet le Roi, and analyzes the dynamics of her patronage and its impact on contemporary and future women and men of the royal house.

Court, culture, politics, and gender - these are the themes that flow throughout Marie’s life and tie together the material effects of a long pleasure-filled life, enlivened by the politics of Europe on the cusp of a new age.

Interest Classification:
Book History, Manuscript Studies & Palaeography
Palaeography, Scripts & Manuscript Studies
Fine Arts & Performing Arts
Medieval painting

This publication is also distributed by: ISD, Marston
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