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Symbolic Landscape in English Civic Pageantry

  • David M. Bergeron (a1)


Professor Erwin Panofsky in Studies in Iconology points to a particular device, ‘common in late-mediaeval and Renaissance painting,’ that ‘of dividing the landscape background into halves of symbolically contrasting character.’ This technique, Panofsky says, was 'frequent in religious pictures where the “Aera sub lege” is contrasted with the “Aera suh gratia,” ’ but it was by no means confined to sacred pictures as Panofsky goes on to illustrate. In particular he discusses the picture, ‘Hercules at the Crossroads,’ generally attributed to Niccolò Soggi, in the light of this symbolic device. The purpose of this paper is to show how this technique common to Renaissance art also found expression in a dramatic form, that of civic pageantry, in late Tudor and early Stuart England.



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1 (New York, 1962), p. 64.

2 For a fuller discussion of this topic see my “The Emblematic Nature of English Civic Pageantry,’ Renaissance Drama, 1 (new series), ed. S. Schoenbaum (Evanston, 1968), 167-198.

3 The Quenes Maiesties Passage through the Citie of London to Westminster the Day before her Coronation, ed. James M. Osborn (New Haven, i960), p. 28. All references to this pageant will be to this facsimile edition unless indicated otherwise; I have expanded abbreviations and followed modern typographical conventions.

4 The Calendar of State Papers Venetian (London, 1890), VII, 14-15.

5 The Diary of Henry Machyn, ed. John Gough Nichols (London, 1848), p. 186.

6 Sig. B2. All quotations are from this original quarto edition.

Symbolic Landscape in English Civic Pageantry

  • David M. Bergeron (a1)


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