Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Fall 2015

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Art History

First Advisor

Julie Berger Hochstrasser

Abstract

Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689) utilized art in many ways to promote herself and assert power in Baroque Europe. Previous scholars have addressed either Christina’s use of art to safeguard authority as Swedish regnant, or her expressions of sovereignty as an erstwhile Protestant queen in Rome, but no scholarship to date has addressed the topic of how Christina’s patronage developed, or explored how motifs employed early on later reappeared. This dissertation brings together both sides of the equation to provide a comprehensive understanding of how Queen Christina’s patronage developed in Stockholm, and how her approach evolved as she became a fixture in Rome.

The deployment of the arts was necessary to assert Christina’s authority in a patriarchal environment and ultimately, to politically legitimize herself as an independent royal woman. An initial review of royal imagery of her father King Gustav II Adolf (1594-1632) provides the background for examination of early patronage promoting Christina, which drew upon Gustav’s precedents while beginning to establish her as a majestic leader in her own right. Originally the queen’s autonomy was limited by a constitutional rewrite as others steered her image for their own benefit, but Christina matured to make her own choices and developed an approach to patronage that continued throughout her life.

My research contributes to our understanding of Christina’s development as art patron by examining commissions that counteract this administrative system that restrained her sovereignty. Portraits from her majority rule relied on iconography and visual rhetoric to influence a select audience, while her coronation and abdication proceedings, by contrast, were multisensory public events that broadly proclaimed her capacity to rule. Hence my analysis ranges from the subtle reading of particular images to taking stock of the language of sheer pageantry of those more public visual displays.

After abdication Queen Christina had virtually no political clout, but as dowager regnant, she wielded art and patronage to maintain social standing and power. My research considers how Christina deployed the arts to craft her public persona and express her individuality within the male-dominated political structure of the Vatican even as others played off her remarkable abdication with patronage of their own. Christina’s approach was based on precedents developed in Sweden, and she applied them to her Roman situation with varied success. Through many challenges, scandals, and adversities, art was a potent vehicle both for Christina and for those around her to capitalize on her unique status in the history of Baroque Europe.

Public Abstract

Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689) utilized art in many ways to promote herself and assert power in Baroque Europe. Previous scholars have addressed either Christina’s use of art to safeguard authority as Swedish regnant, or her expressions of sovereignty as an erstwhile Protestant queen in Rome, but no scholarship to date has addressed the topic of how Christina’s patronage developed, or explored how motifs employed early on later reappeared. This dissertation brings together both sides of the equation to provide a comprehensive understanding of how Queen Christina’s patronage developed in Stockholm, and how her approach evolved as she became a fixture in Rome.

The deployment of the arts was necessary to assert Christina’s authority in a patriarchal environment and ultimately, to politically legitimize herself as an independent royal woman. An initial review of royal imagery of her father King Gustav II Adolf (1594-1632) provides the background for examination of early patronage promoting Christina, which drew upon Gustav’s precedents while beginning to establish her as a majestic leader in her own right. Originally the queen’s autonomy was limited by a constitutional rewrite as others steered her image for their own benefit, but Christina matured to make her own choices and developed an approach to patronage that continued throughout her life.

My research contributes to our understanding of Christina’s development as art patron by examining commissions that counteract this administrative system that restrained her sovereignty. Portraits from her majority rule relied on iconography and visual rhetoric to influence a select audience, while her coronation and abdication proceedings, by contrast, were multisensory public events that broadly proclaimed her capacity to rule. Hence my analysis ranges from the subtle reading of particular images to taking stock of the language of sheer pageantry of those more public visual displays.

After abdication Queen Christina had virtually no political clout, but as dowager regnant, she wielded art and patronage to maintain social standing and power. My research considers how Christina deployed the arts to craft her public persona and express her individuality within the male-dominated political structure of the Vatican even as others played off her remarkable abdication with patronage of their own. Christina’s approach was based on precedents developed in Sweden, and she applied them to her Roman situation with varied success. Through many challenges, scandals, and adversities, art was a potent vehicle both for Christina and for those around her to capitalize on her unique status in the history of Baroque Europe.

Keywords

publicabstract, Baroque, Drottning Kristina, Patronage, Power, Queen Christina, Sweden

Pages

xvi, 436 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 390-421).

Copyright

Copyright 2015 Nathan Alan Popp

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