Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V

Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V – Piaf – INVENT/80691 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)

Antwerp (Belgium) — 1559

In honor of an emperor and father: Charles V's sumptuous funeral procession in Brussels, orchestrated by his son Philip II and preserved for posterity in 34 masterful copperplate engravings

  1. The Habsburg and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500–1558) died on September 21, 1558 in San Jerónimo de Yuste

  2. His son Philip II (1527–1598 )had a funeral procession held in honor of his father in Brussels on December 29 and 30, 1558

  3. The impressive procession was documented in 34 masterly engravings by Joannes (1551–1605) and Lucas (1554–1572) van Doetecum

Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V

New Publication
Publisher's price (new)
1,490  
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V

The 34 masterly engravings of the Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V bring to life the procession that took place in Brussels on December 29 and 30, 1558, which honored the deceased Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and are thus an important testimony to this impressive historical event organized by his son and heir to the throne, Philip II (1527–1598). The artful printed work appeared in a total of eight editions in five languages and captured the procession for posterity. The Spanish National Library preserves a wonderful French copy of the second edition, published in 1559 by Christophe Plantin (1520–1589) and Hieronymus Cock (um 1510–1570). Joannes (1551–1605) and Lucas (1554–1572) van Doetecum were responsible for the highly expressive copperplate engravings, creating a true gem of Renaissance printmaking.

Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V

When Emperor Charles V (1500–1558) died at his retirement home in San Jerónimo de Yuste, Spain, on September 21, 1558, his eldest son Philipp II (1527–1598 ) was staying in the Netherlands. Immediately, the latter organized an impressive procession through the streets of Brussels, which took place on December 29 and 30, 1558 and was held in honor of his father, whom he had already succeeded as Spanish monarch in 1556. This impressive event was captured in sweeping prints by the engravers Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum and the publishers Christophe Plantin and Hieronymus Cock, which bring the procession to life retrospectively - both for the (wealthy) people of the time and for us today.

Emperor Charles V

Charles V descended from the House of Habsburg and was King of Spain since 1516. Three years later he was elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and finally crowned in Aachen in 1520. His reign was marked primarily by the emerging Reformation movement and his unsuccessful efforts to protect and renew the Roman Catholic Church. Despite numerous wars, he was also unable to realize his hegemonic ruling concept, according to which he considered himself superior to the European kings. In addition, the expansion of the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Suleyman I (ca. 1495–1566) kept him constantly on his toes. In 1556, marked by serious illness, he finally abdicated all offices and retired to a country house attached to the Hieronymite monastery of San Jerónimo de Yuste, where he was also buried.

Stirring images

After the splendid funeral procession in honor of the deceased Emperor, the brothers Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum produced 34 impressive copperplate engravings in 1559, capturing the scale and pomp of the procession. They show the many participants, all dressed in black, but also allegorical figures. Thus the empty throne of the ruler on the Ship of Victory is accompanied by the virtues Spes, Fides, and Caritas, which are hope, faith, and love. Almost all depicted persons are distinguished by inscriptions and often additionally carry flags or coats of arms. Thus, these masterful images are not only an artful testimony of the funeral procession, but at the same time an important historical document of this event, especially since the six pages of text provide further information.

The second of eight editions

The French-language printed work preserved in the Spanish National Library belongs to the second edition published by Christophe Plantin and Hieronymus Cock in Antwerp. The work was edited a total of eight times, partly in book, partly in scroll form, and was sold in the five languages of the empire: French, Spanish, Dutch, German, and Italian. The first five editions with 34 copper engravings of the procession were published by Plantin and Cock. Hendrik Hondius (1573–1650) released a sixth edition in The Hague with three additional engravings depicting a Dance of Death. The seventh and eighth editions were finally published in The Hague and Antwerp by Hondius and Gillis Hendricx (fl. 1640–1677).

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Procesión fúnebre en honor de Carlos V
Trauerzug für Kaiser Karl V.
Size / Format
41 prints in seven parts of various sizes / Max. 29.6 x 51.1 cm
Origin
Belgium
Date
1559
Script
Humanistic
Illustrations
34 colored copper engravings in different dimensions
Content
Four text pages with the proclamation of the death of Emperor Charles V and information about the organization of the procession, two text pages with the placement of the participants and 34 images of the procession
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V – Piaf – INVENT/80691 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
PIAF – Madrid, 2023
Limited Edition: 400 copies
Detail Picture

Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V

Chapelle ardente

This delicate pavilion architecture depicts the chapelle ardente of Emperor Charles V, where the body of the deceased monarch was stored along with the imperial regalia before being buried. The term Chapelle ardente, which means "burning chapel", lives up to the appearance of the pavilion with its hundreds of candles. Through the thicket of candelabras, some coats of arms can also be glimpsed.

Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V – Piaf – INVENT/80691 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Single Page

Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V

Ship of Victory

The center of the procession is the magnificent ship of victory, on which the Emperor's empty throne is situated. Two fantastical "sea horses" pull the ship, which is decorated with ornaments and paintings, while two other sea creatures bring up the rear with two Victory Columns.

The entire ship is studded with numerous coats of arms referring to Charles V's dominions. Sitting proudly at the prow and leaning on an anchor, the allegory of hope, Spes, gazes confidently ahead. In front of the empty throne, Fides, the allegory of faith, sits on a stool inscribed with "Christus" and holding a crucifix and chalice in her hands. At the stern of the ship, in flowing red robes, stands the personification of love, Caritas, attributed with a burning heart.

Funeral Procession of Emperor Charles V – Piaf – INVENT/80691 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Procesión fúnebre en honor de Carlos V

PIAF – Madrid, 2023

Publisher: PIAF – Madrid, 2023
Limited Edition: 400 copies
Binding: Black velvet over wood adorned with a metal coat of arms and cornerpieces. Facsimile and commentary come in a protective case.
Commentary: 1 volume
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
New Publication
Publisher's price (new)
1,490  
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