Dressed for dynastic success: fashion, politics, and authority in Count Pietro Rotaris Maria Josepha, wife of King August III of PolandShow full item record
|Title||Dressed for dynastic success: fashion, politics, and authority in Count Pietro Rotaris Maria Josepha, wife of King August III of Poland|
|Author||Sander, Megan Christine|
|Degree||Master of Arts|
|Abstract||This thesis examines the significance of dress in Count Pietro Rotaris Maria Josepha, Wife of King Augustus III of Poland (1755; Gem?ldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden). I argue that Maria Josepha?s uniquely hybrid attire reconciles her identity as a symbol of her husband?s realm and her dynastic ties as a Habsburg archduchess. Maria Josepha married Friedrich August II, future Elector of Saxony and King of Poland in 1719. Like most aristocratic women, she was forced to relinquish her natal familial claim to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire upon her marriage, publicly confirming her allegiance to Saxony. Despite the renunciation of her Austrian birthright, she continued to uphold the ideals of Habsburg femininity throughout her life. Rotaris Maria Josepha, Wife of King Augustus III of Poland, was one of ten in a series of portraits of the Saxon royal family hung in the Residenzschloss in Dresden, which included the king, queen, and several of their children. Unfortunately, the two original portraits by Rotari were destroyed in the bombings of Dresden during World War II, but four extant copies capture the visual rhetoric employed by the artist in the lost prime versions (Table 1). Through a cultural and historical analysis of Count Pietro Rotaris Maria Josepha, Wife of King Augustus III of Poland, I suggest that the Saxon royal family commissioned Rotari to visually unify Maria Josephas multifaceted identity.
This thesis combines the methodological approaches of recent scholarship on both the history of fashion and on the history of portraiture to analyze the significance of dress in the portrayal of queen consorts. I consider a wide range of theoretical approaches, including those by Ernst Kantorowicz and Louis Marin, and more recent approaches, including those by Joanna Woodall and Marcia Pointon. I also draw from primary sources such as court records, the autobiography of Maria Josephas confessor, and letters exchanged between the electress and her children to establish her character and concerns. Through its study of aristocratic women and the importance of dynastic identity, this project has wider implications for contemporaneous European politics, the relationship between artist and subject, and the role of elite aristocratic women in court society--Abstract.
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