Habsburg women were learned, well-educated and very literate, sometimes fluent in several languages, including Greek and Latin, and many became shrewd politicians. A number of them served as advisors, rulers and regents for their brothers, husbands and sons from Portugal and Spain in Iberia, to the Spanish Netherlands and the Medici court in Florence, and further east to Austria, Bohemia and Hungary.
The cultural sphere, in particular, was one area where early modern women of wealth and position could exercise significant freedom and influence. Through targeted commissions or the collecting of art works, Habsburg women were able to simultaneously promote themselves and define their official roles (natal or conjugal) at their courts. Patronage provided a means for these female patrons to advance their interests and tastes, while underscoring their status within the Habsburg family.
Our weekly blog posts aim to explore all socio-political and cultural aspects of the lives of these formidable women and to introduce a wide public to their manifold exploits and accomplishments.