Images play a major role in the media strategies of politicians, who aim to increase their prestige and authority. That is of course the case nowadays and it was already so in the days of Empress Maria Theresa. By then, medals had become suitable tools of propaganda and historiography. Nowadays, they are unique sources on the visual culture and royal image-making. During Maria Theresa’s lifetime, more than 200 different types of medals were created for her commemoration. The whole spectrum of her medals comprises subjects of sovereignty, domestic as well as military affairs, and the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty.
This contribution sets out to examine medals as a medium of representation and visual communication from an iconographic point of view. It explores the image created by medals of Maria Theresa and her reign by analyzing the iconography of her portraits and the reverse depictions from the perspective of politics, dynastic issues and especially gender aspects.