Collecting the Painted Netherlands: The Art Collection of Ernest of Austria in Brussels

Raband, Ivo (2015). Collecting the Painted Netherlands: The Art Collection of Ernest of Austria in Brussels. In: Gáldy, Andrea; Heudecker, Sylvia (eds.) Collecting Nature (pp. 109-123). Cambridge Scholar Publishing

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The (art) collection of Archduke Ernest of Austria (1553-1595) is widely unknown when it comes to early-modern Habsburg collections. Ernest, younger brother of Emperor Rudolf II (b. 1552) and educated at the Madrid court, was appointed Governor-General of the Netherlands by King Philip II of Spain, his uncle, in summer 1593. Ernest relocated his court from Vienna to Brussels in early 1594 and was welcomed there with lavish festivities: the traditional Blijde Inkomst, Joyous Entry, of the new sovereign. Unfortunately, the archduke died in February 1595 after residing in Brussels for a mere thirteen months. This investigation aims to shed new light on the archduke and his short-lived collecting ambitions in the Low Countries, taking into account that he had the mercantile and artistic metropolis Antwerp in his immediate reach. I argue, that his collecting ambitions can be traced back to one specific occasion: Ernest’s Joyous Entry into Antwerp in June 1594. There the archduke received a series of six paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525/30-1569) known as The Months (painted in 1565), hanging today in separate locations in Vienna, New York and Prague. These works of art triggered Ernest’s collecting ambitions and prompted him to focus mainly on works of art and artefacts manufactured at or traded within the Netherlands during the last eight months of his lifetime. Additionally, it will be shown that the archduke was inspired by the paintings’ motifs and therefore concentrated on acquiring works of art depicting nature and landscape scenes from the 1560s and 1590s. On the basis of the archduke’s recently published account book (Kassabuch) and of the partially published inventory of his belongings, it becomes clear that Ernest of Austria must be seen in line with the better-known Habsburg collectors and that his specific collection of “the painted Netherlands” can be linked directly to his self-fashioning as a rightful sovereign of the Low Countries.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History > Recent and Modern Art History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History

UniBE Contributor:

Raband, Ivo

Subjects:

700 Arts
700 Arts > 750 Painting
900 History > 940 History of Europe

ISBN:

978-1-4438-6055-0

Publisher:

Cambridge Scholar Publishing

Language:

English

Submitter:

Ivo Raband

Date Deposited:

07 Apr 2016 13:24

Last Modified:

07 Apr 2016 13:24

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.77458

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/77458

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