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Paris-Cracow-Venice. The European Festivals for Henri de Valois, King of Poland, 1573–74

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Renaissance festivals revisited

An unparalleled comparative analysis has been conducted on celebrations in early modern Europe in honour of Henri de Valois while he served as king of Poland.

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Festivals for Henri de Valois were lavish displays of the wealth and power of the monarchy. They were produced by the most acclaimed artists, musicians and dancers. Studying these festivals they can provide rich resources for scholars to investigate the cultural and intellectual aspects of early modern history. Until now, no studies had provided a comprehensive reconstruction and analysis of these festivals or arrived at a satisfactory interpretation of them. The EU-funded project PARIS-CRACOW-VENICE (Paris-Cracow-Venice. The European festivals for Henri de Valois, King of Poland, 1573–74) has done so. The work was primarily based on unpublished primary sources in Latin, French, Polish and Italian. It combined the history of politics, art, dance, music and science, but was centred on literary history. New material was gathered for the festivals in Paris, Cracow and Venice in the years 1573 and 1574, and access to many previously unknown prints and books from 1573 was obtained. Sources for the festivals in Paris were edited, and texts and short articles have been published. Conference and seminar papers have been successfully delivered and a book manuscript has been accepted for publication. The study contributes to a better understanding of the way royal imagery was formed and perceived in different parts of Europe. Additionally, it offers a new model for studying the meaning and purpose behind Renaissance festivals.


Renaissance, festivals, Henri de Valois, king of Poland, monarchy

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