Hoeschen, Jessica L.
Master of Arts, History, University of Central Florida, Spring (2010)
In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation generated multiple reform movements and political transformations in Europe. Within this general period of reform, political and cultural changes from the Tudor era (1485-1603) created a separate English Reformation. The English Reformation evolved from the different agendas of the early Tudor monarchs and occurred in two distinct waves: an initial, more moderate Henrician Reformation and a later, more complete Edwardian Reformation. Henry VIII and Edward VI‟s attempts to redefine monarchy through a new State and Church identity drove English church reform during this period, giving these religious shifts distinct political roots. Cultural artifacts were prominent indicators of these differing political goals, and Henry VIII and Edward VI adjusted and removed images and texts according to their propaganda methods. These royal manipulations of culture are well-documented, but historians have overlooked important components in the communication process. Lay responses to imagery changes ranging from compliance to rebellion demonstrate the complex relationship of images, monarchy, and reform. Examining images‟ function as propaganda with questions of intent, reception, and comprehension in royal communication is imperative for assessing the impact of royal messages on Tudor culture. Analyzing Tudor art as a form of political communication that disseminated idealized political representation reveals a strong visual discourse between the King and the English people. Images held key powers within royal discourse to create and disseminate propaganda of a kingship.