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En skön själ i en kontrollerad kropp: ideal och dygd i porträtt av svenska kungligheter i ljuset av Castigliones Il Cortegiano
Gotland University, School of the Humanities and Social Science.
2013 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
A Beautiful Soul in a Controlled Body : Ideal and Virtue in Portrait of Swedish Royalty in the Light of Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano (English)
Abstract [en]

In Italy in 1528 the famous author Baldassare Castiglione published the book Il Cortegiano. In words Castiglione portraits the ideal courtiers and provides a lot of advice on how to achieve the ultimate courtier manner. For example he introduces and explains the words sprezzatura and grazia. His advice spread from Italy and influenced the courts around Europe. 

My purpose with this study has been two folded. Firstly, I have analysed Castigliones Il Cortegiano in order to examine his vision of virtues and ideals. Castiglione’s advice on the perfect courtier is several and the book is quite extensive. In order to make his advice clear I have arranged these under five headings: noble birth, ideals of a gentleman, beautiful character, warlike virtues and book learning. Furthermore, I have analysed four portraits of Swedish rulers. The portraits are as follows: Johan Baptista van Uther’s portrait of Johan III produced in 1582, Matthaeus Merian’s picture of Gustav II Adolf from 1632, David Beck’s portrait of queen Kristina produced in 1650 and finally David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl’s portrait of the riding Karl XI from 1682. Finally, I have applied Castiglione’s advice on the portraits in order to study how well they conform.  

The study has shown that many of the ideal and virtues emphasized by Castiglione are similar to many of those highlighted in the portraits. The idea of a beautiful soul in a controlled body seems to run like a thread through the selected portraits as well as in Castiglione’s advice on how to be an ideal courtier.

In conclusion, many of the ideals stressed by Castiglione in sixteenth century Italy also inspired Swedish sovereigns. His advice also seems to have survived in the seventeenth century, if nonetheless in other forms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 70 p.
Keyword [sv]
Castiglione, Johan III, Gustav II Adolf, Kristina, Karl XI, porträtt
National Category
Art History
URN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-1967OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hgo-1967DiVA: diva2:633863
Subject / course
Art History (HGO)
Educational program
Master programme in art history (HGO)
Available from: 2013-08-15 Created: 2013-06-27 Last updated: 2013-08-15Bibliographically approved

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