Picturing Courtiers and Nobles from Castiglione to Van Dyck: Self Representation by Early Modern Elites, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Picturing Courtiers and Nobles from Castiglione to Van Dyck

Self Representation by Early Modern Elites, 1st Edition

By John Peacock


248 pages | 12 Color Illus. | 24 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780367439088
pub: 2020-08-10
SAVE ~$31.00
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 10th August 2020

FREE Standard Shipping!


This interdisciplinary study examines painted portraiture as a defining metaphor of elite self-representation in early modern culture.

Beginning with Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier (1528), the most influential early modern account of the formation of elite identity, the argument traces a path across the ensuing century towards the images of courtiers and nobles by the most persuasive of European portrait painters, Van Dyck, especially those produced in London during the 1630s. It investigates two related kinds of texts: those which, following Castiglione, model the conduct of the ideal courtier or elite social conduct more generally, and those belonging to the established tradition of debates about the condition of nobility: how far it is genetically inherited, and how far a function of excelling moral and social behaviour. Van Dyck is seen as contributing to these discussions through the language of pictorial art.

The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, cultural history, early modern history and Renaissance studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Courtiers, Nobles and Visual Representation 2. Sprezzatura and its Afterlife: from Castiglione to Faret 3. Nobility and the Art of Painting 4. The Nobly Negligent Painter 5. Van Dyck’s Almost Complete Gentleman 6. Nobles and Nobilities: English Double Portraits 7. Conclusion: Nobles and Courtiers

About the Author

John Peacock was Reader in English at the University of Southampton UK, where he is now a Visiting Fellow.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Art History

Routledge Research in Art History is our home for the latest scholarship in the field of art history. The series publishes research monographs and edited collections, covering areas including art history, theory, and visual culture. These high-level books focus on art and artists from around the world and from a multitude of time periods. By making these studies available to the worldwide academic community, the series aims to promote quality art history research.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General
ART / Techniques / Painting