The entry of Charles V into Bologna


The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500–58, reg. 1519–56) entered Bologna on the sedia gestatoria on 5 November 1529 for his coronation by Clement VII. Imperial coronations normally took place in Rome, but Charles wanted to meet in Bologna because of reports that the Ottomans were approaching Vienna, to which he could return more quickly if needed. A papal bull ratified the coronation on 1 December 1529. The formal ceremony took place in the church of S. Petronio, which had been decorated to look like St Peter’s. At the first part of the ceremony on 22 February 1530 the iron crown was placed, and on 24 February, the imperial crown (Cadenas y Vicent 1992, pp. 206–10). Charles remained in Bologna until 22 March 1530, meeting nobles, ambassadors and ecclesiastics to resolve military matters, negotiate treaties and form alliances (Tracy 2010, pp. 119–22). 

The entry procession and associated events were commemorated through prints and written reports (Schimmelpfennig 2002, pp. 142–52). Important accounts are the anonymous Eynreitung Keiserlicher Maiestat auff die krönunggen Bononia (BL, 9930.e.59) and the Gratae et laboribus aequae posteritati. Caesareas sanctique patris … (The Hague [?1532]; BL, 144.g.3(1)) by Nikolaus Hogenberg (c.1500–before 1539), which included prints showing the imperial procession after Charles’s coronation. 

The 16 prints shown here form a frieze of the entry procession. They are very late impressions, indicated by cracks and losses to the blocks. The printer has paid little attention to inking, causing the ink to smudge, and as a result, the lettering is sometimes impossible to read. An earlier impression in Florence has a decorative border that might have been trimmed from this set (GDSU, 27 stampe sciolte; Stirling Maxwell 1875). The blocks of text have here been repositioned on some sheets. 

The prints are not dated except for mention of ‘the first of July’, which presumably refers to 1530. It is not known who was responsible for the design except that it was ‘printed in Venice’ as recorded on the penultimate block. William Stirling Maxwell suggests that the letter ‘A’ on the helmet of the Count of Nassau on Sheet 14, visible in the Uffizi impression but not on Cassiano’s sheet (664), might indicate an author. The same and similar letters appear on the helmets of several other figures, however, and they probably refer to a key. The helmet worn by Charles V in the Uffizi impression has the letter ‘K’ on it, which might stand for ‘Konig’ (King). If this were the case, another edition with a German text might have been planned or was printed but today is lost. 

A note written by Stirling Maxwell and dated 1873, guarded in between folios 170 and 171, refers to a publication describing these prints and the ceremony by Gaetano Giordani, Della venuta e dimora in Bologna del sommo Pontifi ce Clemente VII per la coronazione de Carlo V celebrata l’anno MDXXX … (Bologna 1842). Stirling Maxwell subsequently privately published a facsimile edition, The Procession of Pope Clement VII and the Emperor Charles V after the Coronation at Bologna on the 24th February MDXXX (Edinburgh 1875).

This information has been transcribed from: The print collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo : ceremonies, costumes, portraits and genre, Mark McDonald. Part C.I of The paper museum of Cassiano Dal Pozzo : a catalogue raisonné (3 volumes, Royal Collection Trust 2017).

Full title:
The entry of Charles V into Bologna, c.1529–30
c. 1529–30, Venice
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Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

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British Library

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