Artibus et Historiae no. 67 (XXXIV)

2013, ISSN 0391-9064

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JOANNA WOODS-MARSDEN - The Sword in Titian’s Portraits of Emperor Charles V (pp. 201-218)

Portraits by Titian of the Emperor Charles V, dating from the period of his coronation in Bologna in 1530, show him brandishing a drawn sword as symbol of power, an attribute unique in the history of Italian portraiture. The significance of the unsheathed sword as symbol of the Cardinal Virtue Justice is outlined, and a connection to the doctrine of theory governing the relationship of Church and State, known as the allegory of the two swords, is proposed. It is concluded that contemporaries would have read the ‘naked sword’ as a reference not only to the two swords body of doctrine but also to Charles’ emergence in 1530 as temporarily triumphant in the centuries-long struggle between emperor and pope for power within Christendom.

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