Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria
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Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria

Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria by Pieter Thijs.jpg
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, by Pieter Thijs
Born5 January 1614
Wiener Neustadt
Died20 November 1662 (aged 48)
Vienna
Allegiance Holy Roman Empire
Years of service1640 to 1656
Commands heldGovernor, Spanish Netherlands 1647-1656
Battles/warsThirty Years' War
Second Breitenfeld
Franco-Spanish War (1635-1659)
Gravelines Lens
RelationsEmperor Ferdinand III brother
Leopold I nephew
Other workPrince-bishop
Halberstadt Passau Breslau Olmütz Strasbourg
Grand Master, Teutonic Order 1641-1662

Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria (5 January 1614 - 20 November 1662), younger brother of Emperor Ferdinand III, was an Austrian soldier, administrator and patron of the arts.

He held a number of military commands, with limited success, and served as Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, before returning to Vienna in 1656. Despite being nominated as Holy Roman Emperor after Ferdinand's death in 1657, he stood aside in favour of his nephew Leopold I.

His main interest was in art, and he patronised artists including David Teniers the Younger, Frans Snyders, Peter Snayers, Daniel Seghers, Peter Franchoys, Frans Wouters, Jan van den Hoecke and Pieter Thijs. His collection of 17th century Venetian and Dutch paintings are now held by the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Life

Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, ca 1650s by David Teniers the Younger

Born at Wiener Neustadt on 5 January, 1614, he was the sixth of seven children born to Emperor Ferdinand II (1578-1637) and his first wife, Maria Anna of Bavaria (1574-1616). His elder brother became Emperor Ferdinand III (1608-1657).

Career

As a younger son, Leopold was educated for the church, although he was never formally a member of the clergy. To provide him an income, he held various Prince-Bishoprics within the Holy Roman Empire, despite not being a member of the clergy. They included Halberstadt (1628-1648), Passau (1625-1662), Breslau (1656-1662), Olmütz (1637-1662) and Strasbourg (1626-1662).

He was also appointed to the Bishopric of Halberstadt in 1627, Magdeburg in 1629 and Bremen in 1635. All three were in the Protestant north, where the infrastructure of the Catholic church had long since disappeared; he never exercised power and all three were secularised in 1648.[1]

During his lifetime, the Habsburg rulers of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire faced the 1568 to 1648 Dutch Revolt, the 1618 to 1648 Thirty Years War and other conflicts, including the Franco-Spanish War (1635-1659). Despite his reluctance, Ferdinand made him Imperial commander in 1639, largely due to lack of reliable subordinates; he resigned following a disastrous defeat at Second Breitenfeld in 1642, a battle fought against the advice of his generals.

He was re-appointed after another Imperial defeat at the 1645 Battle of Jankau, then Governor of the Spanish Netherlands in 1647. In that role, he helped negotiate an end to the war in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia; the Franco-Spanish war continued, obliging him to remain in Brussels until 1656.[2]

Art collection

While in Brussels, he employed David Teniers the Younger as keeper of his collection, spending immense sums on works by Frans Snyders, Peter Snayers, Daniel Seghers, Peter Franchoys, Frans Wouters, Jan van den Hoecke, Pieter Thijs, Jan van de Venne and others. He also acquired a number of Italian masters, purchased from the sale of collections owned by Bartolomeo della Nave and Charles I. His most prized pieces engraved in the book Theatrum Pictorium, which is often called the first "art catalogue".

When the tomb of Childeric I, an early Merovingian king, was discovered in 1653 by a mason doing repairs in the church of Saint-Brice in Tournai, it was Leopold Wilhelm who had the find published in Latin. On his return to Vienna in 1656, his collection relocated to the Hofburg Palace, where Jan Anton van der Baren, a Flemish priest and artist, served as director. The collection was bequeathed to his nephew Leopold I, and is now part of the collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

He played an active role in court politics and was close to his stepmother, Eleonora of Mantua (1598-1655), who shared his interest in Italian art and was a prominent supporter of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Although suggested as a candidate to replace Ferdinand as Holy Roman Emperor in 1657, he ensured his nephew Leopold I was elected when he reached 18 in July 1658. [3]

Ancestors

References

  1. ^ Mutschlechner, Martin. "Archduke Leopold Wilhelm: a Baroque prince of the Church par excellence". Habsburger.net. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ Mutschlechner, Martin. "Leopold Wilhelm: the prince of the Church in armour". Habsburger.net. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ González Cuerva,Tercero Casado 2017, p. 164.
  4. ^ a b Eder, Karl (1961), "Ferdinand II.", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 5, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 83-85; (full text online)
  5. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1861). "Habsburg, Maria Anna von Bayern" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). 7. p. 23 – via Wikisource.
  6. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1860). "Habsburg, Karl II. von Steiermark" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). 6. p. 352 – via Wikisource.
  7. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1861). "Habsburg, Maria von Bayern" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). 7. p. 20 – via Wikisource.
  8. ^ a b Sigmund Ritter von Riezler (1897), "Wilhelm V. (Herzog von Bayern)", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 42, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 717-723
  9. ^ a b c d e f Cartwright, Julia Mary (1913). Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan and Lorraine, 1522-1590. New York: E. P. Dutton. pp. 536-539.
  10. ^ Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  11. ^ a b Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  12. ^ a b Obermayer-Marnach, Eva (1953), "Anna Jagjello", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 1, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, p. 299; (full text online)
  13. ^ a b Goetz, Walter (1953), "Albrecht V.", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 1, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 158-160; (full text online)
  14. ^ a b Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1860). "Habsburg, Anna von Oesterreich (1528-1587)" . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). 6. p. 151 – via Wikisource.

Sources

  • González Cuerva, Rubén (author), Tercero Casado, Luis (author), Caesar, Mathieu (2017). The Imperial Court during the Thirty Years War in Factional Struggles: Divided Elites in European Cities & Courts (1400-1750). BRILL. ISBN 978-9004344150.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Schreiber, Renate (2004). "Ein Galeria nach meinem Humor": Erzherzog Leopold Wilhelm. Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum. ISBN 3854970854.
  • Liedtke , Walter A. (1984). Flemish paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 0870993569. (See index, v. 1, for more information on Leopold Wilhelm's patronage)

External links

Leopold William of Austria
Born: 5 January 1614 in Wiener Neustadt Died: 20 November 1662 in Vienna
Catholic Church titles
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Christian William of Brandenburg
as Lutheran Administrator
Prince-Archbishop of Magdeburg1
1631-1638
Succeeded by
Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels
as Lutheran Administrator
Prince-Bishop of Halberstadt1
1628-1648
Secularised to the
Principality of Halberstadt
Preceded by
Frederick II, Crown Prince of Denmark
as Lutheran Administrator
Prince-Archbishop of Bremen2
1635-1645
Succeeded by
Franz Wilhelm, Count of Wartenberg
as Vicar Apostolic
Preceded by
Leopold V, Archduke of Austria
Prince-Bishop of Strasbourg1
1626-1662
Succeeded by
Franz Egon of Fürstenberg
Prince-Bishop of Passau1
1625-1662
Succeeded by
Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria
Preceded by
John Ernest Plateis of Plattenstein
Prince-Bishop of Olmütz1
1637-1662
Preceded by
Karol Ferdynand Vasa
Prince-Bishop of Breslau1
1656-1662
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Caspar I,
Lord of Stadion
Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
1641-1662
Succeeded by
Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria
Government offices
Preceded by
Manuel de Moura,
Marquis of Castelo Rodrigo
Governor of the Spanish Netherlands
1647-1656
Succeeded by
John of Austria, the Younger
Notes and references
1. Catholic Administrator, due to lack of canonical qualification
2. De jure only; de facto he was barred by the Swedish occupants

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