Ledit duc, ledit jour: the Significance of Color in Philip the Good’s Wardrobe

Please note that, due to Res|fest in the main Courtauld building, this lecture will take place in the New Wing of Somerset House.

For one momentous social occasion in the winter of 1454, Philip the Good, the third Valois duke of Burgundy, who had worn black exclusively for sixteen years, is reported to have broken that practice and “worn color.”  We understand from the chronicler’s portentous tone that this act was seen as significant, but not what his audience would have known: what the color was and what it meant.  This talk looks for instances of meaning in dress, drawing on evidence from manuscripts, panel paintings, payment records, fiction, and chronicles, to determine what Philip was wearing and to suggest how his decision would have fit into the conventions of color followed in late-medieval dress.

Elizabeth J. Moodey is Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University.   Her first book, Illuminated Crusader Histories for Philip the Good of Burgundy (Brepols, 2012), explored the visual and literary efforts that promoted the duke as successor to two of his crusading ancestors, Godfrey of Bouillon and Charlemagne, in response to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.  This talk is drawn from a book project on grisaille in the Burgundian Netherlands.

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15 Mar 2017

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London