- Nassau on horseback: Meaning, form and function of Nassau equestrian imagery in the Netherlands since the 16th century
- Award date
- 8 May 2015
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Heritage and Memory Studies (AHM)
For more than two thousand years authorative men have been portrayed on horseback by way of marble or bronze statues, on coins or medallions, in tapestries and paintings, in print, and recently in film and on television. Much has been written about these objects, though generally the focus has been on their aesthetic qualities, and much less on their meaning and function. Yet it is their function, and particularly of Nassau imagery, that is the central issue of this dissertation.
The House of Orange-Nassau has a long and strong tradition of equestrian imagery, of which ca. 225 objects have survived. Since 80% of these were produced during the 16th and 17th century, the focus of this study is on the five stadholders: Hendrik III, William of Orange, Maurits, Frederik Hendrik, and William III. In the centuries since then, only Queen Beatrix employed equestrian imagery in an effective manner, which is also analyzed and interpreted.
This considerable number of Nassau equestrian images is surprising and raises the central question if there was an entrenched Nassau communication strategy, as it seems unlikely that these were solely made for reasons of self-esteem, and with no intended communication function.
Unfortunately, there is information of only six Nassau equestrian images concerning their genesis and the reception histories of two images: and even this information is lacking. Considering this shortage, the study relies upon the works themselves to act as main source from which artists and their patrons’ choices and intentions were deduced.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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