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Mapping Culture in the Habsburg Empire: Fashioning a Costume Book in the Court of Charles V

  • Katherine Bond (a1)


This article introduces two manuscript editions of a richly illustrated costume album dated ca. 1548–49. Commissioned by Christoph von Sternsee (d. 1560), the captain of Charles V’s German guard, and composed using visual material sourced from Dutch master Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen (ca. 1500–59), the costume album records the diversity of subjects, customs, and costumes that the guard witnessed across imperial Habsburg Europe. Shaped by Sternsee’s personal experiences of travel, war, and empire, his costume album paints a vivid picture of imperial propaganda and personal ambition, demonstrating the significant role that Habsburg networks and relationships had upon the period’s visual culture.



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British Library, London, MS Harley 1886. “Annals of the Province of Friesland,” ca. 1528.
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Hs. 22474. “Trachtenbuch/ Christoph Weiditz,” 1530–40.
Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Generallandesarchiv, Karlsruhe, 21 Nr. 1337–38. Ferdinand I and Christoph von Sternsee, 18–19 June 1548.
Museo Stibbert, Florence, MS Cat. 2025. “Costumes of the time of Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and King of Spain, of costumes of all nations of the world, circa 1540,” ca. 1548–49.
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