Oberlin College and Conservatory

The Changing Role of Queens in Europe

Thursday, March 14 at 5:00pm

Clarence Ward ’37 Art Building, 103
87 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

Please join us for the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Visiting Scholar Program to be presented by Nicola Courtright ’76, William McCall Vickery 1957 Professor of the History of Art and chair of Architectural Studies, Amherst College. 

Despite a deeply ingrained distrust of women as rulers in early modern Europe, queens began to gain political power and indeed reigned in various capacities during the late 16th and 17th centuries. Elizabeth I of England famously sat on the throne in her own right, and queen regents in France and Spain governed for long periods of time on behalf of their underage sons or absent husbands.

This ruling and guiding role, rather than being hidden from court and public, was increasingly made visible in widely disseminated prints as well as in the splendid art and architecture of royal residences. Whether imagery portrayed these royal women as emanating majesty or sharing sovereignty with their spouses, for a time the arts portrayed a new ideal of monarchy incorporating the queen. How this unusual situation came to pass, and how visual imagery contributed to the queen’s political aura that survived in some ways to the current day is the subject of this lecture.

This event is presented with support from the Alumni in Service to Oberlin College, the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Visiting Scholar Program, and the  Departments of Art, History, and English.


Event Type

Arts, Lectures/Symposia/Workshops, Signature Programs, Alumni Conversations


Academic, Art, English, Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, History


Free to the public

Photo Alternate Text

Guillaume Dupré Louis XIII as Dauphin between Henri IV as Mars and Marie as Pallas Athena [reverse], 1603 Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. 1957.14.1151.b

Contact Person

Christina Neilson

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