John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, justified the 1407 assassination of his rival, Louis of Orleans, with a contest of emblematic beasts. Elizabeth Moodey, associate professor of the history of art, will address “The Duke of Burgundy as Political Animal” on Wednesday, February 15, from 12 noon to 2:00 pm in the seminar room of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.
Of the four manuscripts John commissioned of the Justification du tyrannicide, all three surviving copies are illustrated with a miniature depicting his lion against Louis’s wolf for the crown of France. Louis’s choice of beast, which depended for its effect on a pun with his own name (loup), had to overcome the common medieval reputation of wolves as raveners of sheep, whose actions revealed moral lessons about the Devil. The Burgundian duke chose his beast from the coat of arms of Flanders, a more conventional, even generic choice that was adopted by his son Philip the Good. Under Philip, however, the lion was transformed into something more personal, reflective of the duke’s own character. Poets praised him with heraldic conceits, and the lion was brought back into circulation on his coins.
The Premodern Cultural Studies Seminar is hosting Moodey who teaches the history of illuminated manuscripts, the culture of the Burgundian court, and the art of medieval Europe, with an emphasis on materials and technique and questions of patronage. Her book, Illuminated Crusader Histories for Philip the Good of Burgundy (Brepols Publishers, 2012), examines the varieties of history writing and the visual and literary projects initiated at the duke’s court before and after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Lunch will be provided. If you have any questions about Professor Moodey’s talk, or about the premodern cultural studies seminar, please contact one of its organizers: Bill Caferro (firstname.lastname@example.org), Samira Sheikh (email@example.com), and Jessie Hock (firstname.lastname@example.org).
*“The Lion Attacking the Wolf,” from Justification du tyrannicide, Musée Condé, Chantilly, France.