Empress Maria Theresa and the Politics of Habsburg Imperial Art

Hardcover | February 3, 2011

byMichael Yonan

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Between 1740 and 1780, Empress Maria Theresa governed the Habsburg Empire, a multilingual conglomeration of states centered on Austria. Although recent historical scholarship has addressed Maria Theresa’s legacy, she remains entirely absent from art history despite her notable role in shaping eighteenth-century European diplomatic, artistic, and cultural developments. In Empress Maria Theresa and the Politics of Habsburg Imperial Art, Michael Yonan explores the role that material culture—paintings, architecture, porcelain, garden sculpture, and decorative objects—played in forming the monarchical identity of this historically prominent woman ruler.

Maria Theresa never obtained her power from men, but rather inherited it directly through birthright. In the art and architecture she commissioned, as well as the objects she incorporated into court life, she redefined visually the idea of a sovereign monarch to make strong claims for her divine right to rule and for hereditary continuity, but also allowed for flexibility among multiple and conflicting social roles. Through an examination of Maria Theresa’s patronage, Michael Yonan demonstrates how women, art, and power interrelated in an unusual historical situation in which power was legitimated in women’s terms.

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From the Publisher

Between 1740 and 1780, Empress Maria Theresa governed the Habsburg Empire, a multilingual conglomeration of states centered on Austria. Although recent historical scholarship has addressed Maria Theresa’s legacy, she remains entirely absent from art history despite her notable role in shaping eighteenth-century European diplomatic, art...

Michael Yonan is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Missouri–Columbia.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 10.3 × 8.3 × 0.96 inPublished:February 3, 2011Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271037229

ISBN - 13:9780271037226

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. The Empress’s Image

2. The Widow’s Gift

3. Spaces of Intimacy and Authority

4. The Vieux-Laque Zimmer

5. Scheherazade and the Sultan’s Mother

6. Egeria’s Spring

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Thanks to Yonan’s interpretive approach, Empress Maria Theresa and the Politics of Habsburg Imperial Art is a ground-breaking study in the history of Austrian art and architecture. His book is a substantial contribution to the study of women as powerful agents in the production and reception of visual culture in European court circles during the eighteenth century.”

—Jennifer Milam, Eighteenth-Century Studies