Habsburg women were élite royals whose wealth, independent financial resources, family background and social connections played a significant role. Despite the patriarchal context and orbit in which their patronage operated, these women were, or had been at one time, sovereign rulers in their own right. We intend to investigate their roles in the political realm as exemplary wives, widows, sisters, mothers, and daughters, as well as take a closer look at their cultural politics and artistic patronage. Their multi-faceted roles as patrons and collectors has raised, until now, insufficient interest on the part of historians and scholars.
Our goals are to focus on common patterns or trends in the way art was commissioned, collected, or valued by these women. We will broaden our understanding of female Habsburg court culture and society, and the structures which defined it, by considering the participation of these Habsburg women in their male-defined worlds.
In addition to our regular posts we will provide information about past and recent publications, conferences, archival materials and resources, published inventories, news about leading Habsburg women, their patronage and collecting, stories about their daily lives, court gossip, their pasttimes and hobbies.
Follow us to see some sumptuous portraits, dazzling jewellery, luxury textiles and a lot of Habsburg chins!
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WHO WE ARE
Dr. Annemarie Jordan Gschwend
A Senior Research Scholar and Curator with the Centro de Humanidades (CHAM) in Lisbon and in Zurich, Switzerland since 2010, she obtained her PhD in 1994 from Brown University (Providence, R.I.), with a dissertation on the court, household, and collection of Catherine of Austria, Habsburg princess and queen of Portugal (1507-1578).
Jordan’s areas of specialization include Kunstkammers and menageries at the Renaissance courts in Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal. In recent years, her research has focused on the court culture, patronage, and collections of Habsburg women, with a further specialization on the global, cultural, and artistic transfers between Africa, Asia, Brazil, and the Renaissance Habsburg courts.
She is the author of numerous publications (articles, exhibition catalogue essays and contributions in books), including Retrato de Corte em Portugal. O legado de António Moro (1552-1572) (Lisbon, 1994), The Story of Süleyman. Celebrity Elephants and other Exotica in Renaissance Portugal (Zurich-Philadelphia, 2010), and a biography on Queen Catherine of Austria: Catarina de Áustria. A rainha colecionadora, (Lisbon, 2017). With Kate Lowe, Jordan co-edited the award-winning book, The Global City. On the streets of Renaissance Lisbon (Paul Holberton Publishing, London, 2015), granted the “Almirante Teixeira da Mota” prize by the Academia de Marinha in Lisbon in 2016.
In 2015, she guest curated the exhibition: Echt Tierisch! Die menagerie des Fürsten, Schloss Ambras, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Innsbruck, which spotlighted for the first time Habsburg pets, wild exotic animals and the imperial menageries in Lisbon, Madrid, Vienna, and Prague.
In 2017, she co-curated with Kate Lowe the international exhibition: Cidade Global / Lisboa no Renacimento / The Global City. Lisbon in the Renaissance, which venued at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon and the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis in Porto. In 2018, she guest-curated with Dagmar Eichberger the exhibition at Schloss Ambras in Innsbruck: Women. The Art of Power. Three Women from the House of Habsburg.
Current Research Projects:
From 2008 to 2013, as principal coordinator, Jordan spearheaded the collaborative research project: Hans Khevenhüller, Diplomat and Artistic Agent at the Court of Philip II of Spain, funded by the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles. An edited volume on this ambassador as art agent, intermediary and dealer, with essays by Adriana Concin, Martin Malcolm Elbl, Jorge Fernández-Santos Ortiz-Iribas, Sheila ffolliott, and Shepard Krech III, is expected in 2022 with Paul Holberton Publishing in London.
Jordan is co-editor with the late John Bury and Fernando António Baptista Pereira of On Portraiture (Do tirar pelo natural), the first published English translation of Francisco de Holanda’s 1549 treatise dedicated to portraiture, which volume includes new research and archival discoveries about António de Holanda, Manuel Denis, and Queen Catherine of Austria and her patronage of Francisco. Forthcoming in 2022-2023 with Paul Holberton in London.
Dr Jordan was decorated in 2011 by the Portuguese government with the Order of Henry the Navigator (Comendadora) for guest curating the 2010 international exhibition in Zurich: Ivories of Ceylon. Luxury Goods of the Renaissance at the Museum Rietberg. She is the author of the exhibition’s scholarly catalogue: Elfenbeine aus Ceylon: Luxusgüter für Katharina von Habsburg (1507-1578).
In June 2023, the University of Lisbon granted her a Doctor Honoris Causa.
Dr. Adriana Concin
Adriana Concin is an art historian and Assistant Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She completed her doctoral studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London under the supervision of Dr Guido Rebecchini with a dissertation focused on the Habsburg-Medici wedding of 1565 between Francesco I de’ Medici and the Habsburg Archduchess Johanna of Austria, examining how Francesco I de’ Medici and his father Cosimo I exploited the artistic repertoire of Florence to initiate, negotiate and conclude this seminal dynastic alliance. Her doctoral research has led her to focus on the historically maligned Habsburg Archduchess and Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Johanna of Austria. Her research on Johanna and her sisters sparked her interest in Habsburg women and their role as formidable patrons and political figures. She subsequently has made it her mission to raise the profile of the female members of the House of Austria as a whole.
She has been the recipient of several fellowships. In 2019 she was the recipient of the Eva Schler fellowship at the Medici Archive Project in Florence. She returned to Florence in 2021 as the Eva Schler-Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Postdoctoral Fellow at the Medici Archive Project. Adriana has also held the Ayesha Bulchandani graduate internship at the Frick Collection in New York, as well as the Studia Rudolphina fellowship in Prague at the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Her research interests lie in sixteenth-century Habsburg and Medici collecting, cultural exchanges between Tuscany and the Holy Roman Empire with a specific interest in the female members of the Habsburg family. Most recently, she has published on the cultural and artistic relationships between Emperor Rudolf II and Francesco I de’ Medici (Studia Rudolphina, 2021), and the frescoes of Habsburg cityscapes in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (Burlington Magazine, 2019). She is currently working on a book manuscript on the 1565 Habsburg-Medici wedding, due to be published by Brepols.
“Changed locations: the Habsburg cityscapes in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.” The Burlington Magazine 161 (July 2019): 544-555.
“Das Buch zum Bild: Die ‘Stanze nuove’ im Palazzo Vecchio, Giorgio Vasari’s ‘Ragionamenti’ und die Lesbarkeit der Kunst im Cinquecento”, Book Review, The Burlington Magazine, 162 (August 2020): 716-717.
“Hans Khevenhüller and the Medici: Early Artistic Pursuits at the Florentine Court.” In Hans Khevenhüller at the Court of Philip II of Spain: Diplomacy and Consumerism in a Global Empire. Edited by Annemarie Jordan Gschwend. London, UK: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2022
“Hans Albrecht von Sprinzenstein: An Austrian Art Agent in the Service of Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol.” In Art Markets, Agents and Collectors: Collecting Strategies in Europe and the United States: 1550-1950. Edited by Adriana Turpin and Susan Bracken. London, UK and New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2021.
“Splendid Gifts and a Florentine Architect for Emperor Rudolf II: Antonio Lupicini at the Imperial Court in Prague (1578-1580).” Studia Rudolphina. Bulletin of the Research Center for Visual Arts and Culture in the Age of Rudolf II
20 (March 2021).