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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Coronation of Charles V: The Largest and Most Important Gathering of Nobles in the 16th Century


HOGENBERG, Nicolaus (c.1500-1539). Gratae et laboribus aequae posteritati. Caesareas sanctique patris longo ordine turmas aspice. [Antwerp: 1540].

8 friezes, each consisting of four folios joined, float mounted and framed (frieze size 15 x 60 inches). EXCEPTIONALLY FINE engraved frieze totaling more than 40 feet in length.

Provenance: Early manuscript colophon; with the large engraved armorial bookplate of Antoine de la Mare, Sieur de Chesnevarin, councilor to the King Henry IV (ennobled 1590);  late 18th-century engraved armorial bookplate with count's crown and manuscript motto 'semper juncti', and ownership inscription "Picquot fils"; early 20th-century bookplate with cipher 'LR'.

'this is undeniably one of the most interesting and splendid works representing public processions in the 16th century' (Vinet).

THE VERY RARE SECOND EDITION OF ONE OF THE MOST CELEBRATED FETE ENGRAVINGS EVER PRODUCED, this issue with the space above the plates including Charles V's genealogy within elaborate cartouches by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau. Printed posthumously at the commission of Engelbert Bruning, as a propaganda tool for Charles V to distribute to the French nobility on his way through their county from Spain to Holland in 1540 to suppress the uprising against him in his home town of Ghent in 1540. It is therefore very likely that this is a presentation copy, to an antecedent of the first recorded owner Antoine de la Mare.

Recording the triumphal and majestic procession of Charles V (1500-1558), Clement VII (Giulio de Medici known as the "lord of all cunning" by his fellow Florentines), and all the Princes and Dukes of the Spanish empire, after Charles's coronation as Holy Roman Emperor at Bologna on 22 February 1530, St. Matthew's day. Charles V was the last Emperor to receive a papal coronation, and since he and Clement VII had often been on opposing sides of the complicated political divides of early 16th-century Europe, it was an event of tremendous historical significance, and a moment of supreme triumph for Charles V. The coronation procession depicted here was culmination of the festivities and celebrations that had begun upon Charles' triumphant entry into Bologna on the 6th December 1529. "Two crowns were placed upon Charles' head that day in San Petronio - the iron crown of the Kingdom of Italy, brought from Monza and hastily enlarged because it was too tight, and the crown of the Holy Roman Empire. Universal peace was eagerly and hypocritically declared; then it was time for the banquet... In the middle of the piazza 'a whole ox was there for the taking, complete with head and very long horns, stuffed with a wether, itself stuffed with chickens, capons, partridges, pheasants, pigeons, hares, thrushes and pigs, also whole; and because no one could turn it, they had devised certain winches, turned by various lansquenets who were standing around'" (Guadalupi).

As early as 1524, the year after Clement became Pope, Francis I of France's conquest of Milan prompted him to change his allegiance from Imperial Spain and to ally himself with other Italian princes (including the Republic of Venice) and France in the January of 1525. This alliance acquired Parma and Piacenza for the Papal States, the rule of Medici over Florence and the free passage of the French troops to Naples. However at the Battle of Pavia in February of 1525 Francis was captured by his bitter enemy Charles V and held captive in Madrid. So Clement re-affirmed his loyalty to Charles, signing an alliance with the viceroy of Naples. Once Francis was freed after the Treaty of Madrid  in 1526 Clement changed sides again, and entered into the League of Cognac together with France, Venice, Florence, and Francesco Sforza of Milan. Then he issued an invective against Charles, who in reply defined him a "wolf" instead of a "shepherd", menacing the summoning of a council about the Lutheran question.

Meanwhile troops loyal to Charles, led by Cardinal Pompeo Colonna pillaged the Vatican City and sacked Rome in 1527; Clement was held prisoner in Castel Sant'Angelo. The Pope was forced to change sides for one last time. On June 6, Clement VII surrendered, and  agreed to pay a ransom of 400,000 ducati in exchange of his life. He conceded Parma, Piacenza, Civitavecchia and Modena to the Holy Roman Empire.

In June of 1528 the warring parties signed the Peace of Barcelona. The Papal States regained some cities and Charles V agreed to restore the Medici to power in Florence. And, at last, in1530 Pope Clement VII crowned Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor: the pinnacle of Habsburg power, when all the family's far flung holdings were united under one ruler. After Charles's reign, his realms were split between his descendants, who received the Spanish possessions and the Netherlands, and those of his younger brother, who received Austria, Bohemia and Hungary.

This copy of "Gratae et laboribus aequae posteritati …" was formerly in the possession of the eminent de la Mare family of Normandy. Antoine de la Mare was ennobled by Henry IV in March 1590. Formerly a protestant King of Navarre, and then first Bourbon King of France, Henry IV very publically attended mass in order to secure the throne. During Henry IV's reign a number of prominent families who had supported his coronation and fought on behalf of the Protestant cause were ennobled under the edict of Nantes (or Toleration). During the reign of Louis XIV, however, many of these families had their patents examined in the 1660s; the implication being that their loyalty to a Catholic King was in question. It is recorded that the nobility of the de la Mare family survived this inquisition in November of 1668, and their Catholic descendants still live in Normandy today. However it is likely that some of Antoine's descendents were put to Louis's ultimate test: he built an army of similar families of protestant descent to invade the Netherlands and Flemish cities (with which Normandy had generally been on good trading terms). In 1685 Louis revoked the Edict of Nantes and barred Protestants from holding titles, and even being citizens. Those who would not convert to Catholicism were forced to leave, could face complete ruin, pay heavy fines, and suffer imprisonment.

ABPC records no copy of any issue at auction since 1983. Brunet III, 250; Lipperheide Si4; Mitchell, Italian Civic Pageantry in the High Renaissance, p.21 ('none of the early editions seen'); Gianni Guadalupi "Bologna, 6 December 1529", FMR Magazine, number 22, pages 121-142, reprinted from "Mappa Mundi"; Vinet 553.

Analysis by Professor Konrad Eisenbichler, University of Toronto, Based off his examination of the Arader and New York Public Library exemplars

A dating of the various editions of Nicolaus Hogenberg’s prints of the “Post-Coronation Cavalcade of Emperor Charles V and Pope Clement VII” has been attempted by several scholars, most notably by William Stirling Maxwell (1875) and, more recently, by Christian von Heusinger (2001).1 The most reliable sequence at the moment is von Heusinger’s, who advances the following chronology:

1st edition: 1535
40 engravings by Nicolaus Hogenberg (no genealogical cartouches present) printed in Mecheln by Hogenberg in partnership with Engelbert Bruning folios lettered A-EE+12 unlettered folios each plate measures ca. 36 x 29.7 cm

2nd edition: 1540
40 engravings by Hogenberg with cartouches by Jacques Androuet Du Cerceau. There exist two printings of this edition, as follows:

a) a unique copy printed on parchment currently conserved in Wolfenb├╝ttel.
Its plates measure 35.8 x 29.5/30 cm. The images have been coloured, gilded (with both gold and silver). The sequence contains an extra title page not found in any other copy that displays a very elaborate architectural design (possibly by Du Cerceau) framing a note referring back to Charles V’s genealogy outlined in the cartouches. Von Heusen suggests that this copy of the print may have been the official prototype presented to Charles V and thus identifies it as edition IIA and then identifies the subsequent paper edition as IIB.

b) multiple specimen printed on paper printed in Antwerp on commission from Engelbert Bruning each plate measures c. 36 x c. 29/30 cm.

3rd edition: 1610
40 engravings by Hogenberg
printed in The Hague (Hagae-Comitis) by Hendrick Hondius the Elder (1573-1650). No genealogical cartouches present (von Heusinger claims they were erased). Each plate measures c. 33/33.5 x 30 cm (significantly shorter than earlier editions). Folios marked: A, 1-38, [40] (von Heusinger claims the letters were lost when the plates were trimmed at the bottom).

4th edition: 1619
40 engravings by Hogenberg
Printed in The Hague (Hagae-Comitis) by Hendrick Hondius the Elder (1573-1650). No genealogical cartouches present (von Heusinger claims they were erased) no measurements are given by von Heusinger, but the Paris copy has been cropped to 23 x 30 cm. Plate A bears Hondius’s signature: “Hh excudit.” Last plate [40] “DIVO”, bears Hondius’s imprint: “Hagae Com. Henr. Hondius excudit”

1 Stirling-Maxwell, William. The Procession of Pope Clement VII and the Emperor Charles V after the Coronation of Bologna on the 24th February, MDXXX, Designed and Engraved by Nicolas Hogenberg and Now Reproduced in Facsimile with an Introduction. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, George Waterson and Son; London: Hamilton Adams and Co.; Paris: J. Rothschild; Amsterdam: Frederick Muller, 1875. Christian von Heusinger, “Einige Bemerkungen zur Editionsgeschichte des Triumphzugs Kaiser Karls V. und Papst Clemens VII. nach der Kaiserkr├Ânung am 24. Februar 1530 in Bologna von Nicolas Hogenberg. Mit einem Anhang: Der Holzschnittfries von Robert Peril” (in Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, 43 (2001): 63-108.

5th edition: post 1619?
Von Heusinger points out that there is also a fifth edition (which he does not date), but it appears to be a unique copy extant only in Amsterdam at the Rijksmuseum, Bibliothek (call number: 329-A-5).

This fifth edition seems to be the same as 1619 edition, but at pl. 39 the headless man leaning out the right margin has had a head drawn in to complete him.

This specimen was previously in the possession of the book-seller F. Muller and then of C. Moyet, who apparently sold it to the Rijksmuseum in 1859.

The exemplar in the Arader Collection is clearly the second edition of these prints, printed posthumously in 1540 in Antwerp on commission from Engelbert Bruning. It is based on the 1535 plates, as is evident in the lettering of the plates (subsequent editions use numbers and not letters to indicate the sequence of plates) and in the size of the images, which are generally 35.5 x 30 cm (in later editions the plates are significantly shorter, generally measuring 33 x 30 cm).

The Arader exemplar is distinguishable from later editions by the following characteristics:

1) It contains no reference to the printer Hendrick Hondius or to The Hague

2) Its plates are about 2 cm. taller than those in later editions.

3) At folio 37 (not lettered or numbered), depicting the arch with the double-headed eagle and two lions spewing wine from their mouths, the Latin inscription AQVILA INTERMEDIOS LEONES VINV ALBV ET RVBRV FVNDENTES is placed below the image, in line with all the other Latin inscriptions in the series. In later editions this particular inscription is placed, instead, above the heads of the crowd. The repositioning of the caption in later editions was probably necessitated by the trimming of the lower edge of the plate, which would have damaged the inscription and obliged the touch-up engraver to reposition the caption elsewhere. A comparison of the Arader or the Urbania exemplars with the Hondius edition at the British Library,2 clearly reveals the extent of trimming of the lower edge present in the Hondius edition. The BL catalogues this exemplar as “The Hague, [1532?]”, but this is incorrect, given that in 1532 Hendrick Hondius, whose name appears on plate [40] “DIVO”, was still 40 years away from being born!

The Arader exemplar is the best preserved copy of the 1540 edition that I have seen, far surpassing in quality the rather damaged Urbania exemplar (published by Spike in 1999), or the imperfect copy at the New York Public Library tentatively dated “[Malines? 1530?]” (but in fact: Antwerp 1540), which lacks folio M and suffers significant mutilations on folios I-L and N-O.
The Arader exemplar is further noteworthy for the handwritten note that appears in the lower right corner of the plaque on plate A (“GRATAE ET LABO”). The note, in ink and in a sixteenth-century hand, identifies Johannes Secundus as the author of the epigram on folio A and reads: “Johannes Secundus in laudibus nicolai hoghenbergi [...] post coronationis imperatori Bononiae” (trans.: “Johannes Secundus in praise of Nicolaus Hogenberg ... after the emperor’s coronation in Bologna”). The middle portion of the hand-written note has not yet been deciphered and requires further study.

2 shelf-marked 144.g.3.(1), and available on the web at

The two exemplars at the New York Public Library are both catalogued as Spencer Coll., Neth 1530 and are kept together in a single box shelf-marked Spencer Coll. Neth. 1530. They are differentiated in the NYPL catalogue by their publication information, which is given as “[Malines?, 1530?]” for one copy and “Hagae-Comitis: Henricus Hondius Excudit, [159-?]” for the other. This publication information also appears in pencil on the exemplars themselves.

The NYPL [Malines?, 1530?] exemplar is actually “Antwerp 1540” (following von Heusinger’s chronology). I base this statement on several observations:

1) the plates are lettered (not numbered) and contain De Cerceau’s genealogical cartouches.

2) the sheets measure only 29 cm in height and an exceptional 35 cm in width (and not the expected 36 x 30 cm of the 1540 edition). The significant reduction in height can be attributed to the high level of physical damage present in this exemplar; in fact, been cropped at the top and at the bottom right up to the image. The significant increase in width might be attributable to the fact that the prints are separate (they have not been bound together); but this is a tentative guess and the prints ought to be re-examined once again with the specific intention of determining why and how they are so much wider than expected.

3) there is no record of a 1530 edition of Hogenberg’s print, so the date (though perhaps not the location) is clearly incorrect – as von Heusinger points out, Hogenberg was not given the commission to carve the prints until 1535 when Robert Peril’s earlier “privilege” for such a work expired and was not renewed.

The NYPL “Hagae-Comitis ... 159-?” exemplar is to be dated more correctly as one the two editions published in The Hague sometime between 1610 and 1619 (following von Heusinger’s chronology of editions). I base my claim on the following observations:

1) its plates are numbered (not lettered);
2) there are no genealogical cartouches present;
3) plate A bears the inscription “Hh EXCVDIT”;
4) plate numbered 36 (but actually 37 in the sequence) has the caption “AQVILA ... FVNDENTES” floating above the heads of the crowd (and not below it);
5) plate 39 (but 40 in the sequence) has the inscription “HAGAE-COMITIS: HENRICVS HONDIVS EXCVDIT” and below it “CVM PRIVILEGIO”;
6) the size of the image is 33 x 30 cm, significantly shorter than the 36 cm of the 1535 or 1540 editions, even though this is a well preserved exemplar that has not suffered any apparent cropping.

I trust this information will further enrich your knowledge of the wonderful specimen in your collection and of its distinct rarity on account of its imprint and quality of conservation.

I must confess that I am somewhat perplexed by the idea advanced by von Heusinger (2001) that Hendrick Hondius in the early seventeenth century would have erased the genealogical cartouches that were added to the plates in 1540. It seems strange to me, but perhaps the reduction in the height of the plates (from 36 to 33 cm), or changed political intentions, or simply a desire to return to an original “vision” of the event may have elicited the removal of the genealogical plates. I will continue to ponder this question in the hope of discovering a rationale behind the supposed cancellation.

Prof. Konrad Eisenbichler
Victoria College NF 308
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7

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