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The emperor‘s new saint

The emperor‘s new saint

Maximilian I and Margrave Leopold III at a time of media in transition.

2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Emperor Maximilian  I (1459 -1519). Klosterneuburg monastery honors the monarch with a special exhibition. He ruled at the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Early Modern Period. Letterpress printing, the arrival of the first Europeans in America and the dawn of Reformation: Maximilian lived at a time full of changes. He was not only an impressive ruler, but also an expert on political communication.

To propagate one’s own ideas and believes was as important for politicians then as it is now ­ only the channels of communication and the content changed. Maximilian used all kinds of media to legitimate and consolidate the ruling of his own dynasty and to preserve hismemory for future generations. He commissioned biographical works to commemorate his life and deeds, telling his story through both text and image.
During Maximilian’s lifetime Klosterneuburg monastery faced the challenge of telling a story to a broader audience: the founder of the monastery, Margrave Leopold III, was canonized in 1485. Therefore scholars and artists were engaged to do research on the saint’s life and to properly illustrate the results of their work. They utilized all kinds of then used media: letterpress printing simplified the distribution of text, while magnificent paintings and manuscripts highlighted Saint Leopold’s significance at the monastery itself.

The emperors`s new saint
Maximilian I and Margrave Leopold III
at a time of media in transition
March, 9 – November, 17 2019

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