The Family of Berthold VI; The Marriage of Saint Hedwig and Heinrich

Object Details

Title:

The Family of Berthold VI; The Marriage of Saint Hedwig and Heinrich

Artist/Maker:

Unknown maker

Culture:

Silesian

Place:

Silesia, Poland (Place created)

Date:

1353

Medium:

Tempera colors, colored washes, and ink on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 34.1 × 24.8 cm (13 7/16 × 9 3/4 in.)

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The volume of the life and works of Saint Hedwig opens with a treatise on her genealogy. Following this text, the manuscript's first miniature shows Hedwig's family in two distinct images. At the top in the center sit her father Berthold VI, Count of Andechs-Meran, and her mother Agnes. Seated to the left are Hedwig, with a halo, two other daughters, and Hedwig's niece, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who also has a halo. To the right of Hedwig's parents sit their four sons, two of whom were high- ranking clerics. A fourth daughter, Mechtild, who became a nun. appears below this group and in smaller scale.

The bottom half of the page represents Hedwig's marriage, at age twelve, to Duke Henry of Silesia. With the blessing of the priest at the center, Hedwig joins hands with Henry. As was common in thirteenth-century Europe, Hedwig's father, standing behind her, played a major role in arranging the politically advantageous union. The numerous witnesses attest to the marriage's strategic importance.

The manuscript's emphasis on Hedwig's family had a personal significance for its patron, Duke Ludwig I of Liegnitz and Brieg, who was himself a direct descendant of the saint.

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