Power in the city. The cultural impact of traditional urban elites on absolutist rulership and princely courts in the XVIth and early XVIIth centuries

Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, Bruges, Belgium, August 18 – 20, 2016
Deadline: Jan 4, 2016

In this panel we would like to challenge the view that in Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Europe, cultural attitudes and display
held by the older urban elites merely reflected the mentality of the ruling aristocracies of Europe. We take Florence as our term of
comparison. During the transition to princely, absolutist (i.e. Medici ducal and grand-ducal) rule in the sixteenth and early-seventeenth
century, traditional Florentine patrician families once and for all lost the political and administrative power they had enjoyed during
republican times. Conspicuously, however, they managed to retrieve a substantial hold on the courtly and governmental environment in the new
constellation. In doing so, they stuck to a considerable extent to their traditional, familial and civic self-identity. These urban ways
and attitudes also coloured their cultural habitus. Thus these old Florentine patrician families had a noticeable impact on the shaping
and development of the cultural aspects of the new Medici court and rulership.

With this panel, we hope to find an answer to the question how far the Florentine situation could be compared to that of other important
cities in Europe. These would be cities that saw the development of stable and splendid princely courts and governments within their
territories, during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. In particular, we wonder about the situation in Italian cities such as
Mantua, Ferrara, Genoa, Milan, Naples, or Palermo, and outside Italy in cities such as Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Toledo, Vienna, Munich, Dresden, London, or Copenhagen. We would like to invite papers addressing the attitudes of long-standing city-elites in the field of art and architectural patronage (this would include, but is not limited
to: construction of city-palaces and squares, villa’s, gardens, chapels, churches, other religious institutions, civic institutions,
fresco-cycles, panel paintings, sculptures, and applied arts). How did these attitudes compare to those held by the princes, their relatives,
and their courts as these developed within the old limits of their cities’ territories?

Please submit a 250 word abstract for a 20 min paper, a one-page CV, and specifications of any A/V requirements to prof. dr. Henk Th. van Veen, and Klazina Botke by January 4, 2016: florentinepatricians@rug.nl
All submissions will be acknowledged and successful presenters notified by January 18, 2016.

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