The Charles Bridge: ceremony and propaganda in medieval Prague

Gajdošová, Jana (2015) The Charles Bridge: ceremony and propaganda in medieval Prague. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the Charles Bridge in Prague, which forms an important part of the changing topography of Prague as the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor. For this reason, the thesis considers first the role that the evolution of Prague's topography had on its early medieval bridges and the role of its first stone bridge in the life and the fabric of the city. The next part of this thesis examines the bridge and its tower in its chronological context – confirming Charles IV as the patron of the bridge, setting the date for the completion of its bridge tower, and supporting the role of Peter Parler in its execution. In this section, I also discuss the architecture of the bridge tower and especially its relationship with the contemporary works on Prague cathedral’s choir. Particular focus will be given to the bridge’s triradial net vault, the first of its kind in Bohemia. Iconographically, this thesis interprets the sculptural programme of the bridge tower in the context of royal and legal rituals of the city. I argue that the sculptural programme emphasizes the envisioned continuity of the Luxembourg dynasty in Bohemia and the Holy Roman Empire. This sculpted tableau of royal power acted as a powerful backdrop to royal processions — most notably the pre-coronation procession — as a part of a series of genealogical stations laid out across the city. In the day to day life of Prague, the Charles Bridge is presented as a strategically important place for the execution of law and justice. Lastly, this thesis presents the changing focus of the Bohemian court after the death of Charles IV and how the emblems of Wenceslas IV, which were added to the bridge tower, demonstrate the development of a new chivalric language in the last decades of the fourteenth century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: This thesis is not currently available for public use
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Arts > History of Art & Screen Media
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2015 12:21
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2017 16:58
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/116

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