The Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek stands apart from the majority of art history periodicals by its policy of devising every issue around a single theme. Recent volumes devoted to a single artist, such as Goltzius (vols. 42-43) or Bruegel (vol. 47), are of considerable methodological interest for the diversity of approaches, the often conflicting conceptions of the ‘true’ corpus of works, and the attendant interpretative problems. Other issues treat broader topics, such as Image and Self-Image (vol. 46) or Nature and Landscape (vol. 48; see also the review below of the Art Market, vol. 50). Reindert Falkenburg and the other members of the editorial team have made the Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek into an exceptionally stimulating publication. Their practice of announcing the topics of future issues and of publicizing calls for participation in the HNA Newsletter, among other venues, encourages all levels of scholars.
The nine essays in volume 48 focus on largely ephemeral events, ones with little or no pictorial records. Fortunately, there has been a great increase in scholarly interest in entries, banquets, pageants, rhetorical competitions, and funerals in the last decade or so. In his smart introduction, Mark Meadow emphasises the significance of oral memory at least on the local or regional levels. How did the preparations for and the enactment of an event, such as a tournament or a triumphal entry, economically, socially, and artistically impact a town? How did the occasion disrupt a town’s normal rhythms and temporarily transform its urban geography?
The first three articles, which emerged from a seminar taught by Meadow, form a tightly-knit group about Philip II. Emily Peters recounts the careful scripting of a great tournament held in Binche in August 1549 that was designed to introduce young Philip II to the Netherlandish nobles. The Spanish prince, the predetermined victor of the tournament, is presented as a worthy knight who loyally serves his father, Emperor Charles V. The main account of the tournament, published in Frankfurt in 1550, borrows its illustrations from Emperor Maximilian I’s Theuerdank (1517). I wish that Peters would have discussed this association since there are good reasons why Philip II or someone else sought to link the Spaniard with his illustrious imperial predecessor. Meadow addresses Philip II’s entry into Antwerp, the most elaborate of all his 1549 entries into Netherlandish towns. Using Cornelis Grapheus’s illustrated account, published in Antwerp in 1550, Meadow charts the Serlian-inspired triumphal arches as rhetorical forms and how the processional route intentionally followed specific communal boundaries. Stephanie Schrader gives a fascinating account of Charles V’s last years, his death, and the elaborate, if bodiless, funeral procession that Philip II staged in Brussels in 1558. The pageantry emphasized how Philip would be ‘greater’ than his father ever was. W. M. H. Hummelen’s loosely related essay looks at published illustrations of the stages prepared by civic rhetorical groups for various sixteenth-century triumphal entries. Hessel Miedema’s article on Hans Makart’s Entry of Charles V into Antwerp in 1520painting of 1878, now in the Kunsthalle in Hamburg, reveals how the Habsburg heritage continued to fascinate audiences centuries later. The portrait of the visiting Albrecht Dürer and the naked maidens of Antwerp clearly rival the young emperor for the viewers’ attention.
The remaining essays focus on later pageants. B. A. M. Ramakers explores the intriguing rhetoricians’ competition that was held in Haarlem between 22 and 31 October 1606. Twelve teams drawn from different towns in Holland vied with each other in the categories of allegorical coats of arms, processional entries, and symbolic plays. Margit Thøfner challenges the assumption that Denis van Alsloot’s paintings are neutral records of the Brussels ommegang of 1615. Commissioned by the Infanta Isabella possibly for her residence at Tervuren, the pictures celebrate the archduchess and the court’s support for Brussels’ patricians in their conflict with the local guilds. Jochen Becker observes that the common perception of the Northern Netherlands as a burgher society fails to consider the aristocratic claims of the Dutch nobility as manifested in the ostentatious wedding ceremony of Johan Wolfert van Brederode and Louisa Christina von Solms-Braunfels held in the Hague in 1638. The final essay by Freek Schmidt focuses on the huge peace temple that was temporarily erected on the Hofvijver in the Hague to celebrate the Peace of Aachen in 1749. Designed by Pieter de Swart, the temple was a platform for a massive display of fireworks on 13 June and a prime example of the prevailing French classical style that would influence Dutch architecture into the nineteenth century.
Jeffrey Chipps Smith
The University of Texas at Austin