Delphine Schreuder

Member of GEMCA

Institut des Civilisations, Arts et Lettres (INCAL)
Aspirante UCL-FSR, Histoire de l’art

PhD thesis
The "art of war" and its representation in frontispieces of fortification treatises (second half of the XVIth century - second half of the XVIIIth century)

Philippe Bragard, Ralph Dekoninck

Research fields
art de la guerre ; iconographie militaire ; gravures XVIe – XVIIe siècle ; théorie de la fortification

PhD project

From the second half of the sixteenth century, the "art of war" – a term which commonly designates how to fight the battles from attack to defense – develops parallel to the professional armed forces. Thus, at the dawn of the modern era, appears a series of innovations which will soon spread throughout Europe and are accompanied by a new specialized military literature. These treatises are then, as is the tradition of the printed book of that time, regularly provided with a frontispiece, engraved title-page of monumental (using the architectural structures of the triumphal arch or the altarpiece) or pictorial composition (thereby being a pictorial preface of the book). Thus, this research aims to study the representation of this new art of war through these headpieces at a time when the armed conflict became one of society’s major concerns and which, with the widespread of siege warfare in the seventeenth century, becomes itself a real "war-show" staged by those in power. Through a formal, iconographic and iconological study of the frontispieces, we will try to analyze the visual strategies used in these prints in the light of their artistic, political and cultural context, as well as to understand how these images, often forgotten by scientific literature, reflect and also determine the codes of this warrior society. Our corpus is based on the old fund of Brigitte and Klaus Jordan Collection (Draï Eechelen Museum, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) and more specifically the printed books between the second half of the sixteenth century – time of the release of the new Italian model of star-fort in the rest of Europe – and 1750 – the moment when all major military academies are founded and the art of war is redesigned.

Most representative publications

« Le siège, le livre et l’image. Etude comparative de l’Obsidio Bredana d’Herman Hugo (1626) et du Rerum ad Sylvam-Ducis de Daniel Heinsius (1631) », Le livre et l'estampe, LXe année, 2014, numéros 181-182, pp. 105-135.

« Le paysage théâtre de la guerre. La peinture de bataille topographique à travers les représentations des sièges de la ville de Gravelines au XVIIe siècle », Koregos, Revue et encyclopédie multimédia des arts, 23.03.2015.

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