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CHARLES II Francis of Habsburg (1540-1590): "Der Maurer und Steinmetz. in Graz und im ganzen Landt Steyr Zunfft Ordnung Confirmation." (Confirmation of the Guild Orders for the Builders and Stone Carvers in Graz and the Rest of Styria.
- Manuscript on parchment, 4ff, in original velum wraps. Signed by Archduke Charles II Francis (contemporary horizontal fold across the middle, velum with some minor old stitches, overall in very good, clean condition. Ex-libris of J. B. Holzinger, 1883 and a 19th Century note on the inner side of the wraps), 30.5 x 38 cm. This finely preserved 16th Century official Habsburg document is a decree of Archduke Charles II Francis, the ruler of Inner Austria, which announces a new set of regulations for builders and architects working in Styria. While at first this seems to relate to a dry administrative matter, in its context the decree was actually an explosive salvo in one of Central Europe’s most contentious and consequential socio-political contests. During the last quarter of the 16th Century, much of the construction activity in Styria was done at the behest of Protestant grandees, employing manpower from Northern Italy. This resulted in the proliferation of distinctly Protestant edifices, especially churches, that were seen as a threat to the established Roman Catholic order, as upheld by the Habsburgs. The Archduke who, for political reasons, could not directly confront the Protestants, decided to mount an indirect strike against the evangelical community by going after their builders. In essence, the decree seeks to ban the importation of architects and builders, relegating the Protestants to relying on the largely Catholic builders who were members of the local guilds. It was hoped that these reforms would greatly hinder the construction of evangelical architecture. When Charles II Francis became the Archduke of Austria and ruler of Inner Austria (which included Styria, Carinthia and Carniola) in 1564, he inherited a series of intractable and inter-linked problems. As a devout Roman Catholic, he was affronted by the fact that the vast majority of his realm’s nobility and bourgeois classes had converted to Protestantism. This meant that adherents of the evangelical faith controlled the vast majority of the wealth in the region. While Charles II Francis invited the Jesuits to Inner Austria in an effort to boost the Counterreformation, for many years this seemed to have had little effect. Making matters worse, Inner Austria lay near the frontier with the Habsburg’s arch nemesis, the Ottoman Empire. The possibility of a massive Turkish invasion was an omnipresent threat. In fact, Charles II Francis desperately needed to solicit funding from the Protestants to pay for Inner Austria’s defenses. In 1578, at the council held at Brück an der Mur, the Archduke agreed to grant the Protestants wide-ranging privileges, including the right to build their churches as they saw fit, in return for grants and loans to fight the Turks. The great citadel of Karlovac, Croatia was built in 1579 with the resulting funds. The Protestants proceeded to enjoy their privileges with gusto. Numerous highly skilled Italian Protestant architects and builders, many from the Lake Como area, were summoned to Styria. It must be conceded that Italian Protestant architects were not new to Styria, although before this time their presence was episodic. For instance, the city hall of Graz was built in 1557 by Domenico dell’Aglio. That being said, by 1580, the Italian craftsmen were recorded as being in every corner of Styria and other parts of Inner Austria. They built numerous churches to evangelical specifications. The Italians also possessed skills in military architecture that was far advanced of that practiced in Austria. Thus, many of the most important fortifications defending the realm from the Ottomans were designed by Italian Protestant architects. They also built palaces and private chapels for many of the region’s Protestant noblemen. Surviving contemporary records on baptisms and deaths show that many native Austrian builders converted to Protestantism and joined the foreign-led crews. The local guilds were relegated to small, low quality projects, ca
      [Bookseller: Antiquariat Dasa Pahor]
Last Found On: 2015-11-20           Check availability:      IberLibro    

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