Here we share seminal publications on Habsburg women and their families, commencing with the scholarly vanguard of Habsburg women researchers who took it upon themselves to explore the lives of these women as early as the nineteenth century.
Louise Roblot-Delondre and Habsburg Women Portraiture
Louise Roblot-Delondre was an erudite woman and amateur historian. In 1913 she wrote a ground-breaking monograph on Renaissance Habsburg queens, regents and princesses with the objective of cataloguing their portraits, portrait engravings, and drawings, a number of them located in the Receuil d’Arras, dating between 1500 and 1600.
Roblot-Delondre focused on powerful women of the family who had long been overshadowed by their male relatives and husbands. The catalogue or étude iconographique she compiled of Habsburg women, enhanced with detailed genealogies, encompassed as well, queens and princesses of the Spanish and Portuguese royal houses who had married into or were related to the Habsburgs in the sixteenth century, such as Juana I of Castile (1479-1555), her daughter Catarina of Austria, Queen of Portugal, King Manuel I of Portugal’s daughters, Infanta Maria of Portugal, Duchess of Viseu (1521-1577), Empress Isabella of Portugal (1503-1539), and Infanta Beatriz of Savoy (1504-1538). Her study is the first to delineate what precisely constituted a court portrait of a Habsburg queen or princess in the sixteenth century - that is the essential components which characterized their portrayals, such as medium, format, size, composition and pose.
Roblot-Delondre’s premise was to ascertain with archival documents, royal inventories and bibliographic sources the portrait commissions these women undertook, and to underscore their patronage of distinguished sixteenth-century painters. An appendix provides a list of these artists with short biographies. She brought into the limelight specific Habsburg women, localized their portraits in public and private collections, and updated erroneous attributions.
We consider this seminal publication an important reference and handbook which all students and scholars interested in Habsburg Women should consult.
Louise Roblot-Delondre, Portraits d'infantes: XVIe siècle. Étude iconographique (Paris-Brussels: Van Oest & Co., 1913)