The merchant voice: International interests and strategies in local joyeuses entrées. The case of Portuguese, English, and Flemish merchants in Antwerp (1599) and Lisbon (1619)

Tamar Cholcman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The growing power of the great merchant houses in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century Europe manifested itself, amongst other things, within the evolving local custom of the Flemish Triumphal Entry (the Joyeuse Entrée). The foreign merchants, although guests of the city, seized the opportunity to display their specific interests and needs by sponsoring and financing some of the monuments, always juggling three different standpoints: the city, the crown, and their own. Their ability to voice their specific interests and needs clashed with the function and tradition of the local custom of the Joyeuse Entrée and with the local city-assigned designer of the Entry, who evoked the city interests. In Antwerp these foreign voices, though perceptible, were blended within the Entry's overall plan. The foreign merchants' involvement in the local scenery of the Joyeuse Entrée, nonetheless, did compel a gradual shift in the local character of the Joyeuse Entrée into a more international vocabulary. This evolution was further advanced once the custom of the Joyeuse Entrée migrated with the aid of the Flemish merchants and Portuguese humanists to Portugal. In Lisbon the foreign merchants' voice seems no longer muted within those of the city, and in some cases it even seems to contradict the city's interests. The Joyeuse Entrée that had initially represented a uniformed local discourse was augmented by the more multifarious discourse of the foreign merchants to voice more universal concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-62
Number of pages24
JournalDutch Crossing
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • Ephemeral art
  • Illustrated books
  • Renaissance and early modern europe
  • Social and cultural history

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