Les portraits de Marie-Thérèse : échange et pouvoir entre la souveraine et les élites politiques de la Monarchie

Abstract : The PhD is about the representation of Maria Theresa, queen of Hungary and Bohemia and archduchess of Austria. It focuses on portraits, using them as the basis for exploring the relationship between the monarch and the elites. To this end, I consider in turn the production, the distribution and the content of the paintings. How did the portraits of Maria Theresa reinforce the legitimacy of her rule in a situation of crisis? At the same time, how did portraits provide legitimacy for both the position of the elites and their relation to Maria Theresa? These images can be considered as self-projections not only of the queen, but of the various groups that made up her monarchy. The marks and symbols of each province as well as those of the monarchy as a whole are displayed in the portraits. Royal portraits were commissioned both by Maria Theresa and her court, and by the elites of the monarchy: nobles, ecclesiastical institutions, cities and others. The same painters often worked for both the monarch and the elites, creating similar images and representations of the ruler. The most important occasions for these commissions were visits by Maria Theresa, on the occasion of a coronation, a diet or some other event; the portrait left behind served to perpetuate the presence of the monarch. It manifested the bond between the elites and the ruler; this display was in the interests of both sides. The portraits were displayed in the centres of power and representation both of the dynasty (imperial residences) and of the institutions and groups of which the monarchy was composed (aristocratic chateaux, town halls, universities). The act that placed them there were themselves performances of the mutual relation: the gift of a portrait by Maria Theresa was a sign of favour and recognition; when elites themselves ordered a portrait, this was both an act of homage and an assertion of status. The same types of paintings were ordered by the monarch and by the elites, indicating a consensus about the representation of the royal image. Maria Theresa was queen of Hungary and Bohemia, archduchess of Austria and ruler of many other provinces, each with its own title and symbolism; she was the daughter, wife, widow and mother of emperors. Her person incarnated the unity of all these provinces and the continuity between the house of Habsburg and the new line of Habsburg-Lorraine. Her body, her postures and gestures and her attributes represented in her portraits changed over the course of her reign, reflecting the development of the structure of the monarchy, the role of its ruler, and the strategies of legitimation. New symbols of legitimacy such as pen and paper appeared alongside traditional ones such as crowns and sceptres, or even supplanted them. Established imagery of both male and female Habsburgs was continued, adapted and even reinvented for Maria Theresa; regional traditions of many provinces were incorporated into her images.
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Anne-Sophie Banakas. Les portraits de Marie-Thérèse : échange et pouvoir entre la souveraine et les élites politiques de la Monarchie. Histoire. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I; Ruprecht-Karls-Universität (Heidelberg, Allemagne), 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016PA01H100⟩. ⟨tel-02173719⟩

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