Habsburg sovereign and art-lover: Archduke Ferdinand II of TyrolArchduke Ferdinand II has gone down in history as an outstanding personality amongst the rulers of his generation: a spearhead figure in the Counter-Reformation but at the same time a highly educated humanist and lover of art. The younger brother of the future Emperor Maximilian II, in 1547 he became Governor of the Kingdom of Bohemia, taking up residence in Prague. 450 years ago this year, Archduke Ferdinand made his ceremonial entry into the city of Innsbruck, where for over thirty years he was to rule over the county of Tyrol and the Habsburg possessions of Further Austria to its west.
Ferdinand II, Philippine Welser, and Ambras Castle, Innsbruck
In 1557 Archduke Ferdinand married Philippine Welser, the daughter of a rich Augsburg merchant - but in secret, because as a commoner Philippine was far below Ferdinand's station as the son of the Holy Roman Emperor. Defying all opposition, Ferdinand rebuilt Ambras Castle for Philippine, making it into one of most important examples of Renaissance architecture in all Europe. In so doing, he also laid the foundations for his unique armouries and remarkable chamber of art and wonders - and thus for a vast collection of arms and armour, coins, books and manuscripts, portraits, and masterpieces of fine craftsmanship.
Recreating the life and times of Ferdinand II of Tyrol
Now, a magnificently produced and richly illustrated exhibition catalogue provides a comprehensive account of the life and work of this multi-talented figure from one of the most important of all Europe's ruling dynasties. Readers are transported into the momentous era of the sixteenth century, upon which Ferdinand II exerted formative political and religious influence. The book pays tribute to the collector-prince with an exhaustive account of masterpieces from his exceptionally extensive chamber of art and wonders, armouries and library. The exhibition catalogue is sumptuously produced and enriched with a host of colour illustrations. A book to admire, to wonder at, and to enjoy spending time with!
The book is also available in German:
450 Jahre Tiroler Landesfürst. Jubiläumsausstellung
Exhibition at Ambras Castle, Innsbruck: 15 June-8 October 2017
Exhibition in the Winter Riding School of Waldstein Palace (National Gallery), Prague: 3 November 2017-25 February 2018