Text topic: Visual Art as a Mass Communication Medium
Text author: Ана Милошевић
At the beginning of the 18th century the public sphere in Europe was a broader communication model different from the old representational public. It implied a more active audience participation. Tendencies such as “image building” of a ruler in public and “improving reputation” demanded well thought out propaganda campaign with clear goals, targeting specific audience and accomplished through specific media. The Habsburgs insisted on the universal dimension of combat between Christianity and Islam during Turkish wars. The Emperor Charles VI considered himself the protector of the Christian world and counted on general approval in that battle. To ensure support of European powers and states within the Empire for the new war against Turkey (1716-1718), the Viennese court employed all its propaganda capacities that included the use of printed visual media. Considerable production of maps, siege views, panoramas and engravings with battle scenes were part of the propaganda campaign. War events significant for the Emperor and the state politics were commemorated by various visual products meant to influence public through “media strategy”. The intention of the highest court officials was to “win” wider European public and public within the Empire for the Emperor’s crusade mission with prolific printed production and its distribution. Mass production of graphic sheets was relatively fast and cheap, its distribution was easy and that made it suitable for informing and propaganda. The media campaign targeted the public in the Empire, especially German principalities that had not provided Habsburgs’ military forces with arms. The campaign appealed to the German solidarity and dynastic patriotism. Propaganda that targeted wider European public was aimed to win universal approval and support. The Viennese court campaign was well received and became a practice of many European courts to commemorate their participation in “glorious victory of Christianity”, and independent publishers saw profit in their publishing.