Aulica Coll. No 4 - Les funérailles princières en Europe, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle, vol. 2

Publication resulting from the research programme “Dynasties, Nations, Europe, Princes’ Funerals and the Collective Memory from 16th to 18th century” led by the Research Centre.

Les funérailles princières en Europe, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle : apothéoses monumentales (publication following the international symposium held on 27, 28 and 29 November 2008 in Madrid), directed by Juliusz A. Chrościcki, Mark Hengerer and Gérard Sabatier, joint publication Centre de recherche du château de Versailles / Presses universitaires de Rennes (“Histoire” collection, “Aulica. L’Univers de la cour” series), December 2013, 17 × 24 cm, 452 pages, 80 black & white illustrations, 16 colour plates, family trees, maps, index, €22 (ISBN: 978-2-7535-2854-3).


It is not unusual for princely tombs to be artistic masterpieces. In the Europe of modern times, they prolonged the earthly life of sovereigns by means of a monumental apotheosis. But this aesthetic of death, found in all civilisations, cannot conceal the primary motive behind the practice of monumentalisation: that of creating a memory. As with funeral rituals, the building of a tomb should be interpreted in terms of political strategy.
This book acknowledges the great diversity of funeral monuments built by princes in Europe from the 16th to the 18th centuries, and examines the reasons for their appearance and the meanings that they might have been given. It thus tackles the relationships between tomb and territory, tomb and the creation of lineage, tomb and monarchical ideology, tomb and “modern” state. A complex, if not contradictory, evolution has taken place down the centuries: moving away from public areas in churches in favour of the necropolis, the crypt, or even an individual or private sepulchre; abandoning the monumental sculpture of the Renaissance for the rhetorical intensity of the sarcophagus (Germanic and Nordic areas), or even renouncing the tomb containing the body and promoting the monument containing the heart (the Bourbons). Nevertheless, funerary art did not disappear altogether. It triumphed in the ephemera of the catafalques, the true medium of princely glory and of monarchical ideology since the 16th century.

This volume is the second of a trilogy on princely funerals in modern Europe. The first volume, Le grand théâtre de la mort, deals with rituals. The third looks at commemorations and public perception of the death of a king.

See the presentation of the other volumes:

Download the cumulative bibliography of the three volumes (in French):


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Book reviews

Read Claude Michaud’s review published in the Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine 4/2017 (n°64-4) (subscription or pay-per-view access on (in French).

Read Ewa kociszewska’s review published in the review XVIIe siècle 2015/1 (No. 266) (in French).

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