< Terug naar vorige pagina


Matérialiser sa noblesse sur la frontière des anciens Pays-Bas avec la France : le patrimoine architectural de Charles de Croÿ, prince de Chimay et duc d’Aarschot (1560–1612)

Boekbijdrage - Hoofdstuk

This chapter is part of a volume that studies the role of the Croÿ family in the religious and political conflicts of the sixteenth century, specifically in the border region between France and the Habsburg Low Countries. Our contribution focuses on Charles of Croÿ (1560–1612), Prince of Chimay and Duke of Aarschot, who was one of the most prominent noblemen in the Low Countries as well as a distinguished art collector and architectural patron. Upon the death of his father in 1595, Charles inherited an extensive network of residences, spread across the Low Countries, that supported his itinerant lifestyle. It included the castles of Comines, Chimay, Beaumont and Heverlee, the urban palace and suburban maison de plaisance in Brussels, and two castles located in France: Château-Porcien and Montcornet. All are depicted in the famous Albums of Croÿ, which Charles commissioned. Our chapter examines the use, decoration, management and representation of Charles’s architectural patrimony in the border region, that is: in the provinces of Artois and Hainaut and across the French border, against the background of the raging wars of religion. We first present an outline of Charles’s itinerary, based on his personal correspondence, to document his frequent presence in this border region and use of his various residences there. We then discuss Charles’s responsibilities as military captain and provincial governor and their impact on his architectural patronage, from the content of his library, which contained numerous books on architecture and warfare, via the creation of the Albums of Croÿ and in particular the so-called ‘Album of Artois’, to his engagement of architects and engineers such as Pierre Le Poivre (c.1546–1626), who first worked as a military engineer under Charles’s command on the battlefield but was later also employed as architect by Charles for his private commissions. One notable example is the castle of Eclaibes, located in Hainaut near the French border: here Charles had Le Poivre reinforce the old Croÿ château with new fortifications, demonstrating that for Charles defending the border went hand in hand with protecting his own patrimony. This case offers a striking contrast with Charles’s possessions in France: Château-Porcien and Montcornet were of great symbolic value to the Croÿ and as such feature prominently in the visual imagery that Charles created of his patrimony, in the Albums of Croÿ and also in the illustrated genealogies he commissioned, but in reality both châteaux were in poor shape and, with one exception, never visited by him.
Boek: Noblesses transrégionales : les Croÿ et les frontières pendant les guerres de religion (France, Lorraine et Pays-Bas, XVIe–XVIIe siècle)
Series: Burgundica
Pagina's: 199-233, 412-420
Jaar van publicatie:2021