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The return of Archduke Maximilian of Austria to Bruges

18 August 2020

Musea Brugge has acquired an important late 15th century drawing depicting the arms of alliance of the houses of Austria and of Burgundy on an escutcheon.

Pentekening wapenschild aanwinst 2020 uitsn web

While welcoming visitors from Europe and abroad and permanently monitoring the health situation, Musea Brugge has acquired an important late 15th century drawing depicting the arms of alliance of the houses of Austria and of Burgundy on an escutcheon. The drawing was previously in a private collection and unknown to the scholarly community.

The drawing depicts on the right of the shield the arms of the (Burgundian) dukedoms of Burgundy, Brabant and Luxemburg and on the left the arms of the (Austrian) dukedoms of Lower-Austria, Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Krain (Slovenia); the smaller coat of arms in the center represent the counties of Flanders (Burgundy) and Tirol (Austria). The escutcheon is supported by two heraldic griffins; a tournament helmet serves as its crown while the crest takes the form of a lily.

The shield is accompanied by the chain of the Chivalric Order of the Golden Fleece. The identification is only possible on the base of the shield’s support: Griffins were used by Maximilian as part of his personal iconography until the sixteenth century, when Dürer designed the Triumphal Arch of the Emperor.

In addition to its historical significance, the drawing is also a fine example of a drawing from the Low Countries made during the time of the executed Flemish Primitives.

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