24 hand-coloured woodcuts, all fols are c. 29 x 40 cm, 63 x 480 cm (total size), paper, signed with initials.
Paper toned brown. Original paper mounted on canvas, mounted on wooden 5 boards (3 boards with 6 folios, 1 board with 4 folios, 1 board with 2 folios). At some places paper attached with use of drawing pins. Heavily overpainted with gouache, sl. affecting the visibility of the original woodcut. Final folio trimmed and missing part repainted by later hand. Scratches and paint stains throughout. A detailed condition report can be provided on request.
On his thirtieth birthday, on 24 February 1530, Charles V was officially crowned in Bologna by Medici Pope Clement VII, following a spectacular and majestic "Joyous Entry" into the city. "It was one of the most spectacular shows of the time, intended by Charles to impress upon the whole of Europe the dominance he had achieved in Italy and the power he commanded in his vast lands" (Armstrong 1999, p. 85). The coronation brought a conclusion to a long tradition initiated by Charlemagne as Charles was the last "Imperator electus" to be crowned by the Pope (with the exception of Napoleon I).
The event was recorded and immortalised by the Antwerp publisher and artist Robert Péril, based on sketches made on the spot. He produced twenty-four separate woodcuts, which when printed were stuck together in two strips, one above the other, forming a frieze nearly 5 metres long. These were most likely to be fixed to the wall of a room as a decorative, commemorative frieze offering a wide panorama of the event whereby the onlooker could see the whole cortège pass before his eyes, with printed captions to help him identify individual groups and characters. The retinue passing through allegorical gates consists of musicians, banner carriers, knights, prelates, bishops, cardinals and the high Habsburg nobility. Charles V and Clement VII take a central position under a baldachin with the imperial double-headed eagle at the middle of the upper strip. Placed proudly as the accumulation of the upper strip is Péril's self-portrait accompanied by his initials, and the date 1530. Péril, who would later also publish the large woodcut of the genealogical tree of the House of Habsburg, received the commission for this elaborate imperial procession from Margaret of Austria (1480-1530), regent of the Low Countries. While Margaret’s court artist Nicolas Hogenberg would record the same event in 40 etchings, Peril provided his visual version of the ceremony in 24 woodblocks. The tradition of large series of woodcuts to commemorate significant events in the House of Habsburg had already been firmly established by Charles’s grandfather Maximilian I, who in 1507 had hired Hans Burgkmair, Albert Altdorfer, Albrecht Dürer and others to produce a large woodcut frieze in 137 woodblocks.
The only other complete series of Péril’s frieze is the first state, now in the collection of the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp. This copy was luxury edition printed on vellum with contemporary hand-colouring. The text sections in the cartouches of the Antwerp copy have been written by Peril’s hand in French. Most likely, this edition was presented to the court of Margaret of Austria in Mechelen. A second state was discovered by Nijhof-Seldorff in the Albertina in Vienna, which encompassed only 23 of the 24 woodblocks (1st folio missing). The Vienna edition differs from the Antwerp edition in the placement of the Latin poem capitals above the figures and the inclusion of French text blocks in cartouches with gothic lettering. Until now the Vienna copy was believed to be unique. Our present woodcut series is the only recorded complete copy on paper of the second edition, identical to the Vienna state with the addition of the first woodcut. It has a later hand-colouring, based upon the original colours present in the luxury Antwerp edition slightly affecting the legibility of the woodcut. The figures in the frieze are accompanied by an ornamented text band of French gothic lettering in cartouches.
Ref. H. Nijhoff-Seldorff, "Der Triumphzug Karl des Vten zu Bologna von Robert Péril, Antwerpen 1930", Oud Holland 48 (1931), pp. 265-270. - J. Van der Stock, "Printing images in Antwerp", 1998, p. 95. - E. Armstrong, "Robert Peril and his 1524 privilege", Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 61 (1999), pp; 85-93. - R. Gerrits, "The ‘Triumphal Procession’ of Emperor Charles v and Clement vii in Bologna (1530): Printing and copying news in the Netherlands: Robert Peril, Nicolas Hogenberg and Martin Lempereur", De Gulden Passer 94 (2016), pp. 197-218. - Hollstein XVII:1.II. - Muller IV:377E.
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