Charles de Valois (1446-1472) was a prince in fifteenth-century France. During his short lifetime, Charles endeavored to gain more authority while in conflict with his brother Louis XI, who was king. Although a minor political character in French history, Charles did demonstrate his power in several artistic ways. One commission by the young royal was a manuscript now known as the Hours of Charles of France. Two pages of this text, the Annunciation to the Virgin, are decorated with rich imagery and iconography used to exhibit Charles' desire for greater authority. The manuscript has only been discussed stylistically, and therefore this thesis examines the content of these pages in terms of secular imagery, religious symbolism, and the prince's connection to the priestly Virgin Mary. These aspects all relate to Charles' display of authority. To fully understand Charles' propaganda, this thesis first examines secular imagery within the manuscript pages. The analysis of worldly symbols of power, such as knighthood, fashion, ornamentation, and architecture, present Charles' desire for greater wealth and power. In addition, this thesis discusses the Virgin Mary in connection with the prince's political imaging. By looking at religious imagery that supports Mary in her role as priestess, this thesis considers how Charles attaches himself to her heightened power. Through both secular and spiritual characteristics, Charles' authority was elevated during a period of political uncertainty and monarchical unrest.



College and Department

Humanities; Comparative Arts and Letters



Date Submitted


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Charles de Valois, Virgin Mary, priestess, Hours of Charles of France, French Renaissance