Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 




The Early Modern Period

16th - 18th century


 


The smooth transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age is conventionally fixed on such events as the Reformation and the discovery of the "New World," which brought about the emergence of a new image of man and his world. Humanism, which spread out of Italy, also made an essential contribution to this with its promotion of a critical awareness of Christianity and the Church. The Reformation eventually broke the all-embracing power of the Church. After the Thirty Years' War, the concept of a universal empire was also nullified. The era of the nation-state began, bringing with it the desire to build up political and economic power far beyond Europe. The Americas, Africa, and Asia provided regions of expansion for the Europeans.
 



Proportions of the Human Figure by Leonardo da Vinci (drawing, ca. 1490)
is a prime example of the new approach of Renaissance
artists and scientists to the anatomy of the human body.

 

 


Spain and Portugal
 


1500-1800
 

 

Voyages of discovery and merchant shipping made Portugal and Spain the leading sea powers of Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Under  Philip II, Spain also became the major force behind the Counter-Reformation. A rapid economic and political decline took place in Portugal after 1580 and in Spain after 1600, accelerated by the often weak and conservative governments. This decline lasted until around 1750, when reforms associated with enlightened absolutism elsewhere were carried out in both countries. In the wake of the French Revolution, both countries fell under Napoleon's control.

 


Spain from the Catholic Kings to Philip II
 

The union of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon paved the way for the final defeat and expulsion of the Arab Muslim and the rise of the Spanish kingdom. Under Charles V and Philip II, Spain became the leading Catholic power in Europe.
 


1 Map of the Iberian peninsula in the time of Ferdinand II and Isabella I
 

Spain was unified 1 by the marriage of the "Catholic monarchs" 4 Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in 1469.


4 Wedding portrait of King Ferdinand II of Aragón and Queen Isabella of Castile by Agustinas de Madrigal
 


Gerard David  La Virgen de la Mosca


A detail of the painting La Virgen de la Mosca,
attributed to
Gerard David  or someone of the
circle of Jan
Mabuse



see also collection:

Gerard David

Mabuse


In 1492, they 3 drove out the last of the Iberian Muslim rulers from Granada and then completed the Reconquista through the expulsion or forced baptism of Jews and Moors.


3 The handing over of the key to Granada by the last
of the Muslim rulers after the city's surrender,
stone carving, ca. 1500


In the same year, 7 Christopher Columbus landed in America and claimed it for Spain.



The "Colombus map" was drawn circa 1490 in the workshop of Bartolomeo and Christopher Columbus in Lisbon
 


 Christopher Columbus by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio






see also  Christopher Columbus

 

 

 

 


7 Columbus returns with gifts from the New World,
by
Delacroix, 1839


Columbus and his Son At La Rabida,
by Delacroix ,1838





see also:


Eugene

Delacroix

 

 


6 The Escorial Palace, residence and place of burial for the Spanish kings since 1563,
built by Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera

The royal heir to the Spanish throne, Joanna the Mad, married the Habsburg Philip the Handsome, the son of Emperor Maximilian I, in 1496. When Isabella died in 150s. Joanna was already mentally ill and was unable to govern in Castile. After Philip's death in 1506, Ferdinand of Aragon established his rule overall of Spain.

Only after Ferdinand's death in 1516 was his grandson Charles I, who became the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1519, able to take up his inheritance. The Spanish cities rebelled against his Dutch advisors in 1520. Spanish conquest in the New World brought vast quantities of gold into the country but did not lead to any long-term improvements in the state finances. During his frequent absences, Charles left the regency to his wife Isabella of Portugal or his son Philip II.

When Charles I abdicated in 1556, Spain along with its overseas possessions, the Netherlands, and Italy, were inherited by his son, Philip II. He became the leading figure of the Catholic Counter-Reformation in Europe.

The extremely duty-conscious and hard working monarch took personal charge of the administration of the kingdom from his 6 Escorial Palace in Madrid.

He was determined to combat the spread of Protestantism in Europe by any means. This led to the secession of the Netherlands, where Calvinism was strong, after a protracted war that began in 1568.

 

 

 

Ferdinand II


Ferdinand II, by Michel Sittow (?), ca. 1500

king of Spain
byname Ferdinand the Catholic, Spanish Fernando el Católico

born March 10, 1452, Sos, Aragon
died Jan. 23, 1516, Madrigalejo, Spain

Main
king of Aragon and king of Castile (as Ferdinand V) from 1479, joint sovereign with Queen Isabella I. (As Spanish ruler of southern Italy, he was also known as Ferdinand III of Naples and Ferdinand II of Sicily.) He united the Spanish kingdoms into the nation of Spain and began Spain’s entry into the modern period of imperial expansion.

Ferdinand was the son of John II of Aragon and Juana Enríquez, both of Castilian origin. In 1461, in the midst of a bitterly contested succession, John II named him heir apparent and governor of all his kingdoms and lands. Ferdinand’s future was assured when he came of age, in 1466, and when he was named king of Sicily, in 1468, in order to impress the court of Castile, where his father ultimately wished to place him. In addition to participating in court life, the young prince saw battle during the Catalonian wars.

John II was careful about Ferdinand’s education and took personal charge of it, making sure that Ferdinand learned as much as possible from experience. He also provided him with teachers who taught him humanistic attitudes and wrote him treatises on the art of government. Ferdinand had no apparent bent for formal studies, but he was a patron of the arts and a devotee of vocal and instrumental music.

Ferdinand had an imposing personality but was never very genial. From his father he acquired sagacity, integrity, courage, and a calculated reserve; from his mother, an impulsive emotionality, which he generally repressed. Under the responsibility of kingship he had to conceal his stronger passions and adopt a cold, impenetrable mask.

He married the princess Isabella of Castile in Valladolid in October 1469. This was a marriage of political opportunism, not romance. The court of Aragon dreamed of a return to Castile, and Isabella needed help to gain succession to the throne. The marriage initiated a dark and troubled life, in which Ferdinand fought on the Castilian and Aragonese fronts in order to impose his authority over the noble oligarchies, shifting his basis of support from one kingdom to the other according to the intensity of the danger. Despite the political nature of the union, he loved Isabella sincerely. She quickly bore him children: the infanta Isabella was born in 1470; the heir apparent, Juan, in 1478; and the infantas Juana (called Juana la Loca—Joan the Mad), Catalina (later called—as the first wife of Henry VIII of England—Catherine of Aragon), and María followed. The marriage began, however, with almost continual separation. Ferdinand, often away in the Castilian towns or on journeys to Aragon, reproached his wife for the comfort of her life. At the same time, the restlessness of his 20 years drove him into other women’s arms, by whom he sired at least two female children, whose birth dates are not recorded. His extramarital affairs caused Isabella jealousy for several years.

Between the ages of 20 and 30, Ferdinand performed a series of heroic deeds. These began when Henry IV of Castile died on Dec. 11, 1474, leaving his succession in dispute. Ferdinand rushed from Zaragoza to Segovia, where Isabella had herself proclaimed queen of Castile on December 13. Ferdinand remained there as king consort, an uneasy, marginal figure, until Isabella’s war of succession against Afonso V of Portugal gained his acceptance in 1479 as king in every sense of the word. That same year John II died, and Ferdinand succeeded to the Aragonese throne. This initiated a confederation of kingdoms, which was the institutional basis for modern Spain.

The events of this period bring out the young king’s character more clearly. In portraits he appears with soft, well-proportioned features, a small, sensual mouth, and pensive eyes. His literary descriptions are more complicated, although they agree in presenting him as good-looking, of medium height, and a good rider, devoted to games and to the hunt. He had a clear, strong voice.

From 1475 to 1479 Ferdinand struggled to take a firm seat in Castile with his young wife and to transform the kingdom politically, using new institutional molds partly inspired by those of Aragon. This policy of modernization included a ban against all religions other than Roman Catholicism. The establishment of the Spanish Inquisition (1478) to enforce religious uniformity and the expulsion of the Jews (1492) were both part of a deliberate policy designed to strengthen the church, which would in turn support the crown.

The years 1482–92 were frantic for Ferdinand. In the spring months he directed the campaign against the kingdom of Granada, showing his military talent to good effect, and he conquered the kingdom inch by inch, winning its final capitulation on Jan. 2, 1492. During the months of rest from war, he visited his kingdoms, learning their geography and problems firsthand.

The conquest of Granada made it possible to support Christopher Columbus’ voyages of exploration across the Atlantic. It is not known what Ferdinand thought of Columbus or how he judged his plans, nor can it be stated that the first trip was financed from Aragon; the sum of 1,157,000 maravedis came from the funds of the Santa Hermandad (“Holy Brotherhood”). Nevertheless, Ferdinand was present in the development of plans for the enterprise, in the negotiations to obtain the pope’s backing for it, and in the organization of the resulting American colonies.

At the age of 50 Ferdinand was an incarnation of royalty, and fortune smiled on him. For various reasons, particularly for his intervention in Italy, Pope Alexander VI gave him the honorary title of “the Catholic” on Dec. 2, 1496. But he also suffered a succession of tragedies: the heir apparent and his eldest daughter both died, and the first symptoms of insanity appeared in his daughter Juana. He was wounded in Barcelona in 1493, but this was unimportant compared with the family injuries he suffered, which culminated in the death of Isabella in 1504, “the best and most excellent wife king ever had.”

In 1505, to secure his position in Castile, Ferdinand signed a contract to marry Germaine de Foix, niece of the king of France. This, too, was a political marriage, although he always showed her the highest regard. A stay in Italy (1506–07) demonstrated how badly he was needed by the Spanish kingdoms. Once more in Castile, he managed his European policy so as to obtain a hegemony that would serve his expansionary ends in the Mediterranean and in Africa. In 1512, immediately after the schism in the church in which the kings of Navarre participated, he occupied their kingdom and incorporated it into Castile—one of the most controversial acts of his reign.

In 1513 Ferdinand’s health began to decay, although he was still able to direct his international policy and to prepare the succession of his grandson, the future emperor Charles V. In early 1516 he began a trip to Granada; he stopped in Madrigalejo, the little site of the sanctuary of Guadalupe, where he died. The day before his death, he had signed his last will and testament, an excellent picture of the monarch and of the political situation at his death.

Many considered Ferdinand the saviour of his kingdoms, a bringer of unity. Others despised him for having oppressed them. Machiavelli attributed to him the objectionable qualities of the Renaissance prince. The German traveler Thomas Müntzer and the Italian diplomat Francesco Guicciardini, who knew him personally, compared him with Charlemagne. His will indicates that he died with a clear conscience, ordering that his body be moved to Granada and buried next to that of his wife Isabella, so that they might be reunited for eternity. He died convinced that the crown of Spain had not been so powerful for 700 years, “and all, after God, because of my work and my labour.”

The Rev. Tarsicio de Azcona
 

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

 

Isabella I


Isabella I of Castile, Queen of Castile and León

queen of Spain
byname Isabella the Catholic, Spanish Isabel la Católica

born April 22, 1451, Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Castile
died November 26, 1504, Medina del Campo, Spain

Main
queen of Castile (1474–1504) and of Aragon (1479–1504), ruling the two kingdoms jointly from 1479 with her husband, Ferdinand II of Aragon (Ferdinand V of Castile). Their rule effected the permanent union of Spain and the beginning of an overseas empire in the New World, led by Christopher Columbus under Isabella’s sponsorship.

Early life
Isabella was the daughter of John II of Castile and his second wife, Isabella of Portugal. Three years after her birth her half brother became king as Henry IV. Despite the fact that she had a younger brother, Alfonso, and that her early years were spent quietly with her mother at Arévalo, Isabella was soon drawn into Castilian politics. She was brought to court when she was 13 in order to be under the king’s eye. At first the opposition to Henry IV gathered around Alfonso, but when the latter died in July 1468, the rebellious magnates naturally turned to Isabella. She did not, however, play the role thus designed for her, and the fruit of her wisdom was recognition as his heiress by Henry IV at the agreement known as the Accord of Toros de Guisando (September 19, 1468).

As heiress of Castile, the question of Isabella’s future marriage became a matter of increasing diplomatic activity at home and abroad. Portugal, Aragon, and France each put forward a marriage candidate. Henry seems to have wanted his half sister to marry Afonso V, king of Portugal. As between the Portuguese and Aragonese candidates, she herself, no doubt assisted in her decision by her small group of councillors, came down in favour of Ferdinand of Aragon. A third suitor, the French duc de Guiènne, was sidestepped, and without Henry’s approval she married Ferdinand in October 1469 in the palace of Juan de Vivero, at Valladolid. The prospect of an Aragonese consort led to the development of an anti-Aragonese party that put forward the claims of a rival heiress, Henry’s daughter Joan, known as la Beltraneja by those who believed that her true father was Beltrán de la Cueva, duque de Albuquerque. The king encouraged this group by going back on the accord of 1468 on the grounds that Isabella had shown disobedience to the crown in marrying Ferdinand without the royal consent. He now rejected Isabella’s claim to the throne and preferred that of Joan, for whom he sought the hand of the duc de Guiènne. Although Isabella and Henry were to some extent reconciled, the long-threatened war of succession broke out at once when the king died in 1474.


Reign
When Henry died Isabella was in Segovia, which was secured for her claim. She was supported by an important group of Castilian nobles, including Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza, the constable of Castile (a Velasco), and the admiral (an Enríquez), who was related to Ferdinand’s mother. The opposing faction, which put forward the counterclaims of Joan, included the archbishop of Toledo; a former supporter, the master of Calatrava (an influential military order); and the powerful young marqués de Villena. They were supported by Afonso V of Portugal, who hastened to invade Castile and there betrothed himself to Joan. The first four years of Isabella’s reign were thus occupied by a civil war, which ended in defeat for her Castilian opponents and for the Portuguese king (February 24, 1479). Upon the death of John II of Aragon in the same year, the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon came together in the persons of their rulers.

Spain emerged as a united country, but it was long before this personal union would lead to effective political unification. Ferdinand, indeed, in his first will (1475) made Isabella his heir in Aragon and openly declared the advantages his subjects would derive from the union with Castile. But each kingdom continued to be governed according to its own institutions. The two sovereigns were certainly united in aiming to end the long process of Reconquista by taking over the kingdom of Granada—the last Muslim stronghold in Spain. In the end, however, the conquest (which began in 1482) proved difficult and drawn out, and it strained the finances of Castile. Although some of the features of the campaign were medieval (such as the order of battle), others were novel. Isabella took a close interest in the conduct of the war and seems to have been responsible for improved methods of supply and for the establishment of a military hospital. In 1491 she and Ferdinand set up a forward headquarters at Santa Fe, close to their ultimate objective, and there they stayed until Granada fell on January 2, 1492.

While she was at Santa Fe another event with which the queen was to become personally associated was in the making, for Columbus visited her there to enlist support for the voyage that was to result in the European settlement of America. Although the story of her offering to pledge her jewels to help finance the expedition cannot be accepted, and Columbus secured only limited financial support from her, Isabella and her councillors must receive credit for making the decision to approve the momentous voyage. The terms on which the expedition was to set out to discover a new route to the Indies were drawn up on April 17, 1492. The New World that was explored as a result of that decision was, with papal confirmation, annexed to the crown of Castile, in accordance with existing practice in regard to such previous Atlantic discoveries as the Canary Islands.

The queen and her advisers hardly needed Columbus to remind them of the opportunity now offered for the spreading of Christianity. Yet the unexpected discoveries quickly brought fresh problems to Isabella, not the least of which was the relationship between the newly discovered “Indians” and the crown of Castile. The queen and her councillors were more ready to recognize the rights of the Indians than was Columbus; she ordered some of those he had brought back as slaves to be released. The queen was still concerned with these problems when she died in 1504.

Meanwhile, in 1480 the Inquisition had been set up in Andalusia. There is little doubt that this represented the culmination of a long and popular movement against non-Christians and doubtful converts, which had manifested itself frequently in the late Middle Ages in Castile. The expulsion in 1492 of those Jews who refused conversion was the logical result of the establishment of the Inquisition. Yet, however meritorious the expulsion may have seemed at the time in order to achieve greater religious and political unity, judged by its economic consequences alone, the loss of this valuable element in Spanish society was a serious mistake.

It is difficult to disentangle Isabella’s personal responsibility for the achievements of her reign from those of Ferdinand. But, undoubtedly, she played a large part in establishing the court as a centre of influence. With her blue eyes, her fair or chestnut hair, and her jewels and magnificent dresses, she must have made a striking figure. At the same time display was matched with religious feeling. Her choice of spiritual advisers brought to the fore such different and remarkable men as Hernando de Talavera and Cardinal Cisneros. A policy of reforming the Spanish churches had begun early in the 15th century, but the movement gathered momentum only under Isabella and Talavera. When in 1492 Talavera became archbishop of Granada, his place at the queen’s side was taken by Cisneros, for whom the monarchs secured the crucial position of archbishop of Toledo in 1495. The monarchs were interested in the reform of the secular clergy and still more in that of the orders of monks, friars, and nuns; Isabella took a particular interest in the reform of the Poor Clares, an order of Franciscan nuns. Although when she died there was still much to be done, the rulers and Cisneros together had gone far toward achieving their goals.

Although Isabella was intensely pious and orthodox in her beliefs and was granted with Ferdinand the title of the “Catholic Kings” by Pope Alexander VI, she could be both imperious and pertinacious in her dealings with the papacy. This was particularly true when she thought the pope was making bad appointments to Spanish benefices or in any way encroaching on the customary rights of the crown over the Spanish churches. For example, for the vacant see of Cuenca in 1478 she rejected the Italian cardinal appointed by the pope, who four years later accepted her alternative Spanish candidate. Subsequently, she successfully rejected the suggestion that the pope’s nephew should become archbishop of Sevilla. In seeking to control appointments to Castilian sees, Isabella was not simply inspired by national sentiments. She also sought candidates of high standards; judged by her choices of men such as Talavera and Cisneros, Isabella was remarkably effective in achieving her objective.

Isabella was almost as interested in education as she was in religion. After she reached the age of 30, she acquired proficiency in Latin. At court she encouraged such notable scholars as Pietro Martire d’Anghiera, whom she set up as the head of a new palace school for the sons of the nobility. Naturally, many of the outstanding literary works of her reign, such as Antonio de Nebrija’s Gramática Castellana (1492; “Castilian Grammar”), were dedicated to her. She was also the patron of Spanish and Flemish artists, and part of her extensive collection of pictures survives.

The last decade of her reign took place against a background of family sorrows brought about by the deaths of her only son and heir, Juan (1497); of her daughter Isabella, queen of Portugal, in childbirth (1498); and of her grandchild Miguel (1500), who might have brought about a personal union between Spain and Portugal. Instead, her daughter Joan, wife of Philip I and mother of the Holy Roman emperor Charles V, became the heiress of Castile. However, this offered little comfort to the queen because by 1501 Joan had already shown signs of the mental imbalance that would later earn her the title of “the Mad.”

One of the achievements of Isabella’s last decade was undoubtedly the success with which she and Ferdinand, acting on her initiative, extended their authority over the military orders of Alcántara, Calatrava, and Santiago, thus giving the crown control over their vast property and patronage. These orders had been exploited for too long by the nobility and were the subject of intense rivalry among those who sought to be elected master of one or other of them. In 1487 Ferdinand became grand master of Calatrava, and by 1499 he had acquired the grand masterships of Alcántara and Santiago. With the capture of Granada, the main work of the orders had been done, and a process that envisaged their ultimate absorption into the lands of the crown was logical and sensible. Throughout her long reign, Isabella also strove to strengthen royal authority at the expense of the Cortes (Spanish parliament) and the towns.


Assessment
Good sense and statesmanship were equally reflected in Isabella’s will and codicil. Because she left no memoirs, her will is in many ways the most reliable picture of her. In it she sums up her aspirations and her awareness of how much she and Ferdinand had been unable to do. With prudence she comments on the basis of her political program—the unity of the states of the Iberian Peninsula, the maintenance of control over the Strait of Gibraltar, and a policy of expansion into Muslim North Africa, of just rule for the Indians of the New World, and of reform in the church at home. If the overall impression is inevitably piecemeal, it is also clear that Isabella gave to her successors an exceptional document. It assures scholars that, in allotting to Isabella the foremost place among their rulers, Spaniards do not misjudge this remarkable woman.

J.R.L. Highfield

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

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