City Views in the Habsburg and Medici Courts

Depictions of Rhetoric and Rule in the Sixteenth Century


In City Views in the Habsburg and Medici Courts, Ryan E. Gregg relates how Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Duke Cosimo I of Tuscany employed city view artists such as Anton van den Wyngaerde and Giovanni Stradano to aid in constructing authority. These artists produced a specific style of city view that shared affinity with Renaissance historiographic practice in its use of optical evidence and rhetorical techniques. History has tended to see city views as accurate recordings of built environments. Bringing together ancient and Renaissance texts, archival material, and fieldwork in the depicted locations, Gregg demonstrates that a close-knit school of city view artists instead manipulated settings to help persuade audiences of the truthfulness of their patrons’ official narratives.
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Biographical Note

Ryan E. Gregg, Ph.D. (2009), The Johns Hopkins University, is Associate Professor of Art History at Webster University. He has published multiple articles on city views, including “Further Insights into Anton van den Wyngaerde’s Working Methods” ( Master Drawings 51, 2013).

Table of contents

List of Illustrations


1 Witnessing Sovereignty: Anton van den Wyngaerde’s City Views as Habsburg Courtly Propaganda
 1 The Archival Material: Their Evidentiary Problems and Indications
 2 Eyewitness to History: The Habsburg Use of City Views
 3 Genoa: City View as History and as Impresa
 4 Cantecroy, Mechelen, and the English Palaces: Claims of Dominion
 5 Brussels and Utrecht: Demonstrations of Sovereignty
 6 The Italian Views: Van den Wyngaerde in the Imperial Train
 7 Ancona and Lyon
 8 Conclusion

2 The Antwerp School of City Views
 1 Fertile Foundations
 2 The Catalyst: Charles V’s Entry into Rome
 3 Technique, Style, and Viewing Experiences
 4 Coalition
 5 Contemporary Recognition
 6 Conclusion

3 Vasari, Historiography, and the Rhetoric of City Views
 1 History, Truthfulness, and Setting
 2 The Tropes of Enargeia: Sieges, Ships, and City Views
 3 Viewing City Towers: Vision, Cognition, and Simulacra
 4 Nature or Artifice? The Mannerism of Antwerp School City Views
 5 City Views as Analogy for Judgment
 6 Enargeia and Eyewitnessing in Vasari’s Historiographic Practice
 7 Vasari’s Description of City View Methodology: a Verbal Artist Figure
 8 Borghini’s New Historiography and the City Views
 9 Conclusion

4 Defining Ducal Dominion: Giovanni Stradano’s City Views in the Apartment of Leo X
 1 The Room of Giovanni delle Bande Nere
 2 The Room of Clement VII
 3 The Room of Cosimo I
 4 Conclusion

Coda: Heirs to Dominion
 1 Heirs to Patronage


All interested in city views and maps of the early modern period, and those concerned with Habsburg and Medici rule and patronage, or historical and rhetorical practices of that period, with Cosimo I, Charles V (Karl V), Philip II (Felipe II), the Holy Roman Empire, enargeia, ekphrasis, cartography, chorography, maps, bird’s-eye views, historiography, Giorgio Vasari, Giovanni Stradano(Stradanus or Jan van der Straet), and Anton van den Wyngaerde (Wijngaerde).


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