This chapter focuses on early portraits of American revolutionary leaders that circulated in Europe. The portraits are discussed in the wider context of eighteenth-century visualizations of power and compared with aristocratic portraiture of the time. While depictions of monarchs and princes often reflected Enlightenment ideals, portraits of revolutionaries also drew on existing elite iconography. The chapter argues that, in the course of a transcontinental media exchange, visual concepts of leadership approximated each other and were shared beyond political frontlines. The rise of national identities and active citizenship, for instance, shaped the political iconography of monarchical and republican government systems alike.
In the early 1570s, Frans Hogenberg published his first series of broadsheets covering events of what would come to be known as the Dutch Revolt. Because Hogenberg’s images were widely disseminated when produced, they have been used to account for the nature of the conflict, becoming, in our own times, a part of the collective memory of the revolt. This chapter focuses on how Hogenberg’s first print series represented the beginning of the revolt and raises questions about how his visual reports explained the conflict. It explores the political message the prints conveyed and asks what was being addressed in the eyes of the contemporary audience of these compositions.
The peasant war of 1626 in Upper Austria was one of the three peaks of popular resistance against the Habsburg Counter-Reformation. This chapter focuses on the iconography of the revolt. Practically all printed accounts, both visual and textual, were published beyond the Habsburg territories. Nevertheless, these prints largely shaped the image of a “peasant war.” The chapter also highlights the commemorative iconography that emerged after the violent repression of the uprising, an iconography that countered the government’s policy of damnatio memoriae.
In the seventeenth century, Hungarian resistance to Habsburg rule fostered considerable media output in the Holy Roman Empire as well as in other regions of Europe. Newspapers, stand-alone pamphlets, and extensive historiographical treatises in multiple languages covered the rise and fall of Hungarian leader Ferenc III Nádasdy and the rebellion of Protestant nobleman Imre Thököly. The chapter analyzes this rich iconography in the context of complex seventeenth-century European alliance systems and aims to shed light on the interplay of government-driven communication and a growing independent news sector.
The reader interested in how imagery communicated about revolt and revolution in early modern Russia will be sorely disappointed, as no such images were produced there. The visual communication that did take place was contained in the illustrations of foreign travelers’ accounts from the sixteenth century onward. This chapter explores the absence in Russia of indigenously created images of political violence, particularly in broadsheets, and then turns to the few images of political violence that foreigners produced from eyewitness experience. The focus then narrows to a remarkable depiction of judicial punishment that communicated a quite specific message to the European audience about Russia. This was an engraving produced for Adam Olearius’ Travels to Russia and Persia.
In any polity, the exercise of authority is inseparable from the forms and media in which that authority is represented. Visualizing power was, as a result, a fundamental concern of early modern rulers, and the first king of the newly enthroned Portuguese dynasty of the Braganza proved no exception. This chapter explores the complexities of the construction of the royal image of João [John] of Braganza after the separatist revolt of 1640 against the Spanish monarchy and its political repercussions in Europe. The working hypothesis of the chapter is that the first representative of the new dynasty understood both the pressing need to create an official image and its use as a legitimacy tool, especially outside the kingdom.
During the Neapolitan Revolt (1647–1648) insurgents organized various ceremonies to celebrate their rebellion and the newly founded Neapolitan Republic. Images (engraving, sculpture, painting, drawing) played an important but complex ceremonial role. In the course of the revolution, rites and ceremonies were modified and sometimes new rules and rituals completely replaced old ones. This chapter explores the extent to which this also entailed a change in the use of imagery. In doing so, it sheds light on the role of iconography in times of rebellion.
Anti-European upheavals and revolutions play a prominent role in Latin American and African history. Surprisingly, there exist few contemporary visual representations of these rebellions, and most of those that do exist were produced in Europe. Seeing them as a threat to the colonial order, Europeans generally visualized the events of overseas rebellions as satires that played with the motif of the “world turned upside down.” People of color in a superior rank or position were presented as anomalies. This chapter explores three of these rare visual representations and discusses how overseas history influenced European pictorial traditions around 1800.
This chapter investigates Dutch pamphlet coverage of the 1655 massacre of the Waldensians. Comparing textual and visual representations of the violence, the chapter argues that persecuted minorities and their advocates stepped into a complex communicative landscape when they sought publicity for foreign suffering. Close investigation of this landscape will offer insights into how early modern consumers of print media were invited to feel concern about the plight of faraway strangers.