Anonymous: Portrait of duke Philip II the Bold of Burgundy (1500)


(Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria)

A painting by an unknown Dutch artist. Duke Philip II the Bold of Burgundy (1342-1404) was the fourth son of King John II of France and his wife, Bonne of Luxembourg and the first duke of Burgundy of the royal house Valois. His rule of Burgundy and that of his successors would make the House of Valois-Burgundy the undisputed premier peer of the kingdom of France and formidable rivals of the kings of France - something which would have enormous consequences for the history of Western Europe. From 1032 until 1361 the duchy of Burgundy was ruled by the house of Burgundy, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty (the successors of Hugo Capet, first King of the Franks). In 1361, the 15 year old duke Philip I of Burgundy died of the plague and with that the house of Burgundy died out. As Burgundy was a region of France, King John II of France arranged the succession for a new duke of Burgundy. King John II of France made his youngest son, Philip the Bold, the new Burgundian duke but gave him Burgundy not 'in apanage' (apanage is the grant of an estate, title, office, or other thing of value to a junior member of a sovereign. This estate/ title/ office would be inherited by the sons of this member until the line died out, daughters were exempted, upon which it would be returned to the royal domain). John gave Burgundy to his son in a secret document "for ever as a reward for his exceptional bravery at the battle of Poitiers" - the 14 year old Philip the Bold fought along side his father at this battle and saved him several times which earned him his cognomen the Bold. This 'eternal gift' would be disputed by the the later French kings. Very ambitious, in 1369 Philip managed to marry the 19-year-old Margaret of Dampierre, daughter of Louis II, Count of Flanders, who would become the heiress of the County of Flanders, the Duchy of Brabant, the County of Artois, and the Free County of Burgundy after the death of her brother in 1376. With this marriage Philip had managed to expand his territory of Burgundy with Flanders, Artois, Nevers, Rethel and Franche-Comté, - his income exploded in time from 80,000 to almost 500,000 pound per year, about a third of the yearly income of the king of France! Philip was also very active at the French royal court and served as a regent for king Charles VI 'the mad' of France. This regency was fiercely disputed by the king's brother Louis I of Orléans. This dispute would last years, escalated into a civil war, the murder of Louis I of Orléans and duke John the Fearless of Burgundy (successor of Philip the Bold) and Burgundy joining with England during the hundred years war (1337 to 1453) between France and England 
with Burgundy even recognizing the King of England as King of France. This painting is a cope from around 1500 of an early 15th century original.

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