Re-creating early modern festivals

Fernandez-Gonzalez, Laura (2011) Re-creating early modern festivals. [Project]

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Item Type:Project
Item Status:Live Archive


In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in Early Modern Festivals. Early Modern Festivals were ‘multimedia’ spectacles that played out the tensions of the diverse social strata. Court and city spaces were converted for a few days into a dramatic tableau where everyone was part of the theatre cast, the main role being performed by the ruler, clergy, or foreign dignitaries. Books of festivals and chronicles played a critical role in the dissemination of political propaganda and in highlighting the achievements of participants. Representations of power were highly mediated and were ambiguous reflections of royal authority and rites of passage, since the demands and desires of the ruled, as well as of the ruler, often had to be reflected in words, images and gestures. Ephemeral architecture, theatre, musical performances and delicate objects such as tapestries, paintings, engravings and books were created solely to commemorate these events. The study of festivals is therefore challenging: musicians, music and drama historians, historians, art and architectural historians amongst other disciplines have traditionally been interested in the study of these events. Nonetheless, is it possible to comprehend a multimedia spectacle from the point of view of solely one discipline?
Furthermore, could these celebrations be re-created somehow; e.g. by interpreting the meaning of the iconography, analysing the depictions, or re-creating the music played? What are the limitations of these re-creations? The aim of this project is to explore the boundaries of historical research by re-creating or reconstructing Early Modern Festivals with an interdisciplinary approach, including scholars from diverse disciplines, such as architectural history, music, history, digital reconstruction among others.

This project resulted in a major international conference, an exhibition at the Matthew Gallery in Edinburgh, publications including an edited volume entitled 'Festival Culture in the World of the Spanish Habsburgs' and a website resource which includes an on-line version of the exhibition (found here: In addition, this project promoted the creation of the International Network for the Early Modern Festival Study supported by Jiscmail and coordinated by the PI to the project Laura Fernández-González you can find further details here:

This project has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh. For the conference the Society for Renaissance Studies generously supported student bursaries.

Keywords:Pageantry, Early Modern Festivals, Digital Humanities, 3D visualisation, Digital Heritage
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V143 Modern History 1700-1799
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V142 Modern History 1600-1699
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V350 History of Art
W Creative Arts and Design > W330 History of Music
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V141 Modern History 1500-1599
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V360 History of Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:23569
Deposited On:26 Jul 2016 08:59

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