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  5. Medals, portraiture and female power in Renaissance Europe (I): The women of the Spanish monarchy (MEFER)

Medals, portraiture and female power in Renaissance Europe (I): The women of the Spanish monarchy (MEFER)

Margarita de Austria, o de Parma (1522-1586). Medalla de Jacobo Jonghelinck, hacia 1567 Pulse para ampliar Margarita de Austria, o de Parma (1522-1586). Medalla de Jacobo Jonghelinck, hacia 1567
Isabel Clara Eugenia (1566-1633). Medalla póstuma de Jean Monfort Pulse para ampliar Isabel Clara Eugenia (1566-1633). Medalla póstuma de Jean Monfort
  • Timeframe: 2021–2024
  • Funding institutions: Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, 2020 Call for R&D+i Projects (PID2020-11433GB-100)
  • Lead researcher: Noelia García Pérez (Universidad de Murcia)
  • MAN researcher: Paloma Otero Morán
  • Members of the research team: Sheila Ffoillot (Mason University), María José Rodríguez Salgado (University of London), Anne Cruz (University of Miami), Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio (University of Vermont), Blythe Alice Raviola (Università degli Studi di Milano), Alison Luchs (National Gallery of Art, Washington),Tom Hockenhull (British Museum), Paul Froment (Bibliothèque nationale de France), Marta Pallag (Magyae Nemzeti Múzeum), Pablo Piqueras, Melania Soler, Emma Luisa Cahill Marrón and Alicia Cartagena (Universidad de Murcia)
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Female rulers enjoyed an unusual degree of prominence in the 16th century. Although many still questioned their ability to govern, the absence of a male heir or the frequent absence of the men at the head of their respective dynasties forced them to take the reins of power and become the centre of political and public life.

As female rulers did not have their own iconographic tradition, in contrast to their male counterparts, they devised new strategies of representation to portray themselves as strong leaders capable of handling even the greatest political responsibilities.

Prestigious, durable and an ideal means of circulating official images, medals were one of the most successful tools used by Renaissance women in power to shape and publicise their public profile, justify their political position, and reinforce their authority.

This project focused on medals commissioned and made by and for the women of the Spanish monarchy, using specimens from some of the finest European collections. The MAN has contributed its magnificent collection of Renaissance medals, the most important in Spain.

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