Olga's Gallery


Albrecht Durer. Emperor Charlemagne and Emperor Sigismund. 1513. Oil and tempera on panel. Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany. More. Order a Poster or Print

Albrecht Durer. Emperor Charlemagne and Emperor Sigismund.

Charlemagne (Charles the Great, 747-814) king of the Franks and Christian Emperor of the West. After the death of his father Pepin the Short and his younger brother Carloman he inherited the Frankish kingdom. He spent the following years  conquering and Christianizing the neighbouring kingdoms of the Saxons and the Lombards. In 788 Charlemagne deposed the ruler of Bohemia and absorbed it into his empire. Farther to the east he subdued the Avars (Turko-Finnish nomads) in the middle Danube basin. In 800 he entered into Italy to support Pope Leo III against the rebellious Romans and on Christmas Day, 800, in St. Peter's Church, was crowned by the pope Emperor of the Romans as 'Carolus Augustus'. Charlemagne zealously promoted education, architecture, bookmaking and the arts, created stable administrations and good laws, and encouraged agriculture, industry and commerce. His reign was a noble attempt to consolidate order and Christian culture among the nations in the western part of the former Roman Empire. There are no portraits of Charlemagne, done in his time, that is why Dürer invented his portrait. This interpretation of Charlemagne’s appearance influenced depictions of the Emperor until well into the 19th century.
See: Albrecht Durer. Emperor Charlemagne and Emperor Sigismund.
Raphael The Coronation of Charlemagne.

Sigismund (1368-1437) Holy Roman Emperor from 1433, younger son of Emperor Charles IV. he became  king of Hungary in 1387 through his marriage to Mary, daughter of Louis I the Great. As emperor he presided over the council of Constance, which ended the Great Schism and condemned John Huss to death. But he had to recognize the Hussites principles in the Four Articles of Prague in exchange to throne of Bohemia. For depiction of Sigismund Dürer must have had access to a portrait done during his reign.
See: Albrecht Durer. Emperor Charlemagne and Emperor Sigismund.

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