Visuality and Animalia

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Equestrian Images of Mary of Burgundy

The great seals commissioned by Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, claimed political authority by reference to the equestrian seals of her ducal forbears. The dukes appear in combat while she is shown as a huntress. This project offers a series of historicized interpretations of Mary’s seals to reveal how viewers responded to the imagery, and why. Some of these readings corresponded to her objectives as the ruler of Burgundy, but others did not. Those in the latter category throw into question the utility of Mary’s imagery on the political landscape, not only in her lifetime but after her death when her husband and heir, Maximilian of Austria, was capitalizing on her image.


“The Utility of Mary of Burgundy’s Equestrian Seals,” in final manuscript form.


“Gender and the Utility of Mary of Burgundy’s Equestrian Seals,” presented at “Mary of Burgundy: The Reign, the Persona, and the Legacy,” Brussels and Bruges, 2015.