Book Series Études Renaissantes, vol. 31

Mary of Hungary, Renaissance Patron and Collector

Gender, Art and Culture

Noelia Garcia Pérez (ed)

  • Pages: 232 p.
  • Size:210 x 270 mm
  • Illustrations:18 b/w, 32 col., 5 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2020

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58948-0
  • Paperback
  • Available

This collection of essays examines diverse facets of the cultural patronage and collecting of Mary of Hungary.


“(…) a series of truly insightful researches, with new and deeper insights about Mary of Hungary and the arts.” (Larry Silver, in Historians of Netherlandish Art Reviews, March 2021)

“The volume makes an important contribution to the scholarship devoted to Mary of Hungary, early modern female rulers, and Habsburg cultural patronage.” (Elena Calvillo, in Renaissance et Réforme, 44.2, 2021, p. 247)

“The volume is generously illustrated, including color reproductions of high quality as well as many black-and-white images. The volume is best characterized as the successful fulfillment of the authors’ goals: to evaluate Mary of Hungary’s relationship with the arts through patronage and collecting, and to see these activities as revealing her connections to the major figures and movements that helped to shape her life as a female ruler of note in the sixteenth century.” (Catherine B. Scallen, in Woman’s Art Journal, 43/1, 2022, p. 67)


Mary of Hungary’s extensive artistic patronage and the collections she formed of an array of artworks, objects and books were by no means an isolated phenomenon within the Habsburg dynasty. On the contrary, the Regent of the Netherlands and loyal adviser to her brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, emulated the examples of the Habsburg women who preceded her, and in turn provided an exemplar for those that came after. She continued the traditions, trends and practices her ancestors and peers had established, which had been initiated by female members of the Trastámara dynasty, most notably Isabel of Castile This collection of essays examines the cultural patronage of Mary of Hungary in the light of her multiple identities: a humanist-trained patron of the arts; a Habsburg princess closely implicated in the visual construction and projection of Charles V's political identity across the alliances and divisions of early modern Europe; and a female regent bound by the imperial, dynastic and political ideologies cultivated by the sixteenth-century Habsburg monarchs.

Beyond forming one of the most important art collections of the European Renaissance and playing a prominent role in the patronage of the artists she received under her protection, Mary used art to construct an image of herself that undeniably contributed to the consolidation and dissemination of both her political legitimacy and that of her dynasty among the courts of Europe.


Noelia García Pérez

PART I: Mary of Hungary in context

Challenging Images: Charles V’s relationship with art, artists and festivities.
Mía Rodríguez Salgado

Like Aunt like Niece? Assessing the value of Margaret of Austria’s collection for Mary of Hungary
Dagmar Eichberger

Alessandro Nogarola’s Rediscovered Vita of Mary of Hungary, Regent of the Netherlands
Annemarie Jordan Gschwend

PART II: Mary of Hungary and the arts

Mary of Hungary, patron and collector, from political to cultural history: the state of the question
Noelia García Pérez

Titian, Mary of Hungary, and Venus and Psyche
Miguel Falomir Faus

«A woman who is so much like a man»: Mary of Hungary, Female Rulership, and Portraits by the Leoni
Kelley Helmtutler Di Dio

A New Perspective on Mary of Hungary’s Labours of Hercules Tapestries
(Patrimonio Nacional, series 23)
Anne Sophie Laruelle

Female readings and dynastic bibliophilia on Mary of Hungary
José Luis Gonzalo Sánchez-Molero

Mary of Hungary, Patron of Music
Camilla Cavicchi