Pilgrimages in Images: Early Sixteenth-Century Views of the Holy Land with Pilgrims' Portraits as Part of the Commemoration of the Jerusalem Pilgrimage in Germany
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Two sixteenth-century tapestries depict the Jerusalem pilgrimage of Count Palatine Ottheinrich of the Palatinate-Neuburg in 1521. They show a landscape of the Holy Land, with prominently the city of Jerusalem, and the surrounding holy places, indicated by biblical scenes. Furthermore, actual pilgrimage experiences of the Count are displayed, such as attacks by Turkish soldiers, pilgrims moving around in Jerusalem, and fellow travellers drowning in the River Jordan. Below the city of Jerusalem on one of the tapestries, prayer portraits of Ottheinrich and his travel companions can be seen. A slightly older panel depicts the pilgrimage of Elector Frederick III the Wise of Saxony (1493) in a similar fashion. On the back of the panel, the prayer portraits of pilgrims from the Nuremberg merchant Ketzel family are depicted. Moreover, documentary evidence supports the historical existence of at least two more similar panels, suggesting that these objects are closely related. This thesis explores these objects within the late medieval commemoration of the Jerusalem pilgrimage in other forms and media, both within and outside modern Germany, and argues that they consitute a distinct commemorative theme which was appropriated by various pilgrims over time. It is assessed how these objects came into being, how they were related and influenced each other. Moreover, it is discussed which factors drove the process of appropriation by subsequent actors in light of the socio-political context in which they came into being. It relates closely to themes such as the Reformation, the advance of the Ottoman Turks in Europe, the self-image of the nobility in light of chivalric and crusading ideals, and the use of pilgrimage as a means to rise in social status.