Picturing Past Politics: French Kingship and History in the "Mirouer historiale abregie de France"

Daly, Kathleen (2005). Picturing Past Politics: French Kingship and History in the "Mirouer historiale abregie de France". Gesta, 44(2) pp. 103–124.

Abstract

This article examines evidence for the meaning and purpose of the iconography in cycles of miniatures for a historical text composed in the fifteenth century, the 'Mirouer historial abregie de France' (ca. 1451). This text could have been illustrated with a formulaic series of coronation and battle scenes drawing on existing models . It is here proposed, however, that the Oxofrd manuscript (Oxford, Bodleian Library ms Bodley 968) presents a careful pictorial exposition of a particular version of French history, centering on divine protection for the crown, the imperial vocation of French kings, and their role as protectors of the Church. The choice of topic and use of symbolism suggest that Noel de Fribois, notary and secretary, then counselor, of Charles VII of France (r. 1422-1461) may have developed the scheme for this manuscript, intended for Charles of Anjou, count of Maine, the king's cousin, or advised the artist (known as the Master of Charles of Maine).

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