Artibus et Historiae no. 7 (IV)

1983, ISSN 0391-9064

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JOHN F. MOFFITT - «Le Roi a la ciasse»?: Kings, Christian Knights, and Van Dyck's Singular «Dismounted Equestrian-Portrait» of Charles I

This iconographic study, by focusing upon Van Dyck's mounted representations of King Charles V - including the singular " dismounted equestrian-portrait " erroneously called Le Roi a la ciasse, generally interprets the Baroque equestrian-portrait as an essentially symbolic, specifically political, document, thereby refuting the currently accepted "genre-narrative" interpretations of this distinctive category of the 17th century State-Portrait. Specifically, this study interprets all the portraits of Charles I, Equestrian by Van Dyck as being representations of the "Christian Knight" theme (Miles Christianus). According to this author, this royal equestrian series drew upon both pictorial and textual sources. Among the latter, most prominent are Erasmus' Enchiridion Militis Christiani (1503) and Olivier de la Marche's Le Chevalier delibere (1488); and, among the former, most important are Durer's print of Der Reuter (1513) and Titian's Portrait of Charles V on Horseback at the Batt/e of Muhlberg (1548). As sh own here, Titian's highly influential Imperial-equestrian was deliberately planned as a reborn Miles christianus, as is made clear by reference to the published explanation (1559) for the re-appearance of the same motif upon Charles V's tumulus.

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