Author Topic: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family  (Read 271512 times)

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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #300 on: October 11, 2013, 09:21:16 AM »
Thank you Countess Kate for your insightful and thought provoking responses to my comments/questions regarding Maria Elizabeth's marriage possibilities. Regarding Stanislaw Poniatowski, why was Catherine the Great against the marriage? I suppose there could have been a number of reasons, but were two of them not wanting too much potential Austrian influence in Warsaw and also that Frederick the Great probably would be against this? I also think of the potential irony if ME had become the Queen of Poland and then having her mother and brother involved in the first partition in 1772.

I believe Catherine the Great was chiefly opposed to any influence on Poniatowski other than her own - and marriage with an Austrian archduchess would have been immensely prestigious to Poniatowski though strictly speaking his Pacta conventa - his employment contract as King of Poland, so to speak - prohibited marriage to anyone but a Polish noblewoman.  As for Frederick the Great, he certainly would have been hostile to any increase of backing or prestige for Poniatowski, and for Austrian interests in Poland, though that would have probably been seen as a benefit by Maria Theresa (though not by Joseph).  As for the partition of Poland - had Maria Elisabeth been Queen, who knows what position she might have taken?  She might have seen it as an opportunity for her Polish family to rule in a reduced but hereditary dependent Austrian state, such as Marie Christine in Belgium.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #301 on: October 11, 2013, 12:04:33 PM »
A missed opportunity. I read the King of Poland (ex-lover of Catherine the great) was very handsome.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #302 on: May 21, 2014, 01:43:06 PM »
I found some rather nice portraits of Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth by Pierre Bernard, on the Norton Simon Museum website:



Maria Anna



Maria Elisabeth

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #303 on: May 21, 2014, 10:25:47 PM »
Where are they located now ? Not in Schonbrunn or Hofburg I was there...

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #304 on: May 22, 2014, 02:57:50 AM »
The Norton Simon Museum is located in Pasadena, California.  I believe the portraits are not currently on exhibition.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #305 on: May 24, 2014, 01:35:01 AM »
Thanks for the info.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #306 on: May 30, 2014, 05:54:38 AM »
Lovely portraits of the Archduchesses Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth.... thanks, CountessKate!  Would you also happen to know when those were painted - they looked young -  and if they were the only two of the archdukes/archduchesses alive then that were painted by Pierre Bernard?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 05:56:57 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #307 on: May 30, 2014, 11:27:35 AM »
Lovely portraits of the Archduchesses Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth.... thanks, CountessKate!  Would you also happen to know when those were painted - they looked young -  and if they were the only two of the archdukes/archduchesses alive then that were painted by Pierre Bernard?

They are dated 1763, when Maria Anna was 25 and Maria Elisabeth 20.  Bernard's entry in the 'Dictionary of pastellists before 1800' states rather vaguely that "A number of portraits of the Austrian Royal family date from 1763" (http://www.pastellists.com/Articles/Bernard.pdf) and the article shows there was a portrait of Maria Amalia and Maria Christina included in the set, together with their mother Maria Theresa and these were all part of the Alfons and Eugene Rothschild collection - Viennese Rothschilds - and were sold in the 1940s.  There seem to be several versions of the portrait of Maria Theresa and one (but not that owned by the Rothschilds I believe) was auctioned by Christies in 2012: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/pierre-bernard-portrait-of-maria-theresa-empress-5530448-details.aspx.  I've not found the other two portraits of Maria Christina and Maria Amalia anywhere - presumably they are in either private collections or languishing in museum stores.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #308 on: May 31, 2014, 07:23:29 AM »
They are dated 1763, when Maria Anna was 25 and Maria Elisabeth 20.  Bernard's entry in the 'Dictionary of pastellists before 1800' states rather vaguely that "A number of portraits of the Austrian Royal family date from 1763" (http://www.pastellists.com/Articles/Bernard.pdf) and the article shows there was a portrait of Maria Amalia and Maria Christina included in the set, together with their mother Maria Theresa and these were all part of the Alfons and Eugene Rothschild collection - Viennese Rothschilds - and were sold in the 1940s.  There seem to be several versions of the portrait of Maria Theresa and one (but not that owned by the Rothschilds I believe) was auctioned by Christies in 2012: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/pierre-bernard-portrait-of-maria-theresa-empress-5530448-details.aspx.  I've not found the other two portraits of Maria Christina and Maria Amalia anywhere - presumably they are in either private collections or languishing in museum stores.

Thanks a lot for the detailed reply.  I've looked into the articles by Pastellists and Christies, and he also painted Franz Stephan. As for Maria Amalia, it might be this portrait? http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=15649.0 (see reply #4)... unsure, or at least, similar to it.  I really like the ones on Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth. They are the best of the bunch.  Maria Christina's wasn't so good and both Franz Stephan's and Maria Theresa's seem to be all right (the likeliness to other portraits are apparent).
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 07:29:28 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #309 on: June 01, 2014, 12:51:56 PM »
Quote
Thanks a lot for the detailed reply.  I've looked into the articles by Pastellists and Christies, and he also painted Franz Stephan. As for Maria Amalia, it might be this portrait? http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=15649.0 (see reply #4)... unsure, or at least, similar to it.  I really like the ones on Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth. They are the best of the bunch.  Maria Christina's wasn't so good and both Franz Stephan's and Maria Theresa's seem to be all right (the likeliness to other portraits are apparent).

I did wonder at first whether the Maria Amalia portrait you linked to was part of the Bernard set but that series is anonymous as far as I know and the portraits are miniatures; additionally, the Maria Christina portrait by Bernard isn't similar.  Here are three of the miniatures, from left to right Maria Christina, Maria Carolina, and Maria Amalia:



Frequently court painters were dealing with sitters' reluctance to sit for very long, or had to create likenesses in their subjects' absences, so had to base their images on other portraits, or templates which were run up in court painters' studios, so the anonymous miniaturist or Bernard might have copied the other.  Though as Bernard's image appears to be more sophisticated, it's more likely that his portrait was the template.

I think it's hard to compare two large coloured images with two small black-and-white images - I'd have to see the other two before making a judgement!

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #310 on: June 02, 2014, 08:09:58 AM »
You're right, CountessKate. Especially on the fact that the anonymous one of Mimi is not similar to the one by Bernard. Thanks! Please let us know if you find the two portraits..

Anyway, I am glad to note that on the Bernard portrait (as well as on others) Maria Anna was sumptuously attired and accessorised..... for me that shows that even though Maria Anna wasn't loved much by Maria Theresa (although her father's favourite, and always next to her father in family portraits), she was still recognised and treated as the "first" (i.e. highest ranking) archduchess at court... contrast her clothing and jewels with those of Maria Elisabeth's, who while pretty, didn't have the same quality of dress and jewels/accessories.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 08:24:49 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #311 on: September 12, 2014, 10:50:06 PM »
Miniature of the complete family - minus the three archduchesses that died young -  by Antonio Bencini (after Meytens); it nor the link doesn't seem to have been posted before:

http://wallacelive.wallacecollection.org/eMuseumPlus?service=ExternalInterface&module=collection&objectId=65692
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 10:58:49 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Bravecoeur

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #312 on: October 12, 2014, 09:17:40 AM »
Thanks for the info...I wonder how ME herself thought about the failed marriage proposals and all. She was to be Queen of Poland or France, but neither crown came to her.

I think she may have been thankful that neither came to her, given how things ended in both countries.  France was in bad shape even in the late 1760s - which MT nor Kaunitz was able to realize - and Poland partitioned with the King of Poland ended his life in exile in Russia.  ME lived rather long enough to experience either situation.
I agree, although some authors suggest that Poland probably would not have been partitioned if Maria Elisabeth had been Queen there.

When people/biographers frequently write "Poor Maria Elisabeth!", I have to admit that to me it seems a little weird that a woman is pitied for - to speak in modern terms - not being forced to marry some random guy and not being sent away to a foreign country far away from her family. Yes, she might have been happier, but she also might have been way more miserable, no one knows...

As for Maria Elisabeth and her cousin the Duke of Chablais, the post as Governor of Bohemia would have been possible. Mimi & Albert were intended for the Netherlands, with their post in Hungary was only temporary until their uncle Charles of Lorraine passed away; Archduke Maximilian was originally intended to replace them in Hungary. Archduke Ferdinand was fine as Governor of Milan and waiting to inherit Modena with his wife Beatrix. Leopold was to take over Joseph's position eventually. Leaving Maria Anna out for practical reasons (and she was Princess-Abbess in the HRE with a splendid income), everything and everyone else in the family could've been sorted out satisfactorily but it didn't happen for ME. For me, that is the greater tragedy, not the smallpox or the French & Polish matches that didn't come through.
Thank you very much for this paragraph! I could not agree more. We have to consider that by 1771 ALL other siblings had some sort of position. As was already said here there are reports that Maria Elisabeth was very resentful about this situation, and in 1780 Maria Theresia reports in a letter that she started to cry because she feared she would grow old alone in Vienna with Joseph. (Maria Elisabeth "commença à sangloter. ... que tous étaient établis et elle seule était délaissée et destinée à rester seule avec l'empereur, ce quelle ne ferait jamais. Nous avions toutes les peines a la faire taire." Maria Theresia to Marie Christine, 29 May 1780, printed in Arneth, Letters, Vol. 2, p. 462). Doubtless Joseph wanted to have his sisters gone, but considering this quote I am not sure whether Maria Elisabeth really resented leaving Vienna in 1781, same probably applies to Maria Anna. And speaking of Maria Anna, this is what really strikes me: Maria Anna was appointed abbess of the noble convent in Prague in 1766. Only a few months earlier the convent in Innsbruck was opened (to commemorate Franz Stephan's death) and this convent was modelled very closely after the Prague example. So why not appoint Maria Elisabeth abbess in Innsbruck?

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #313 on: October 12, 2014, 08:52:58 PM »
Love to know more about Archduchess Maria Elizabeth. She was friendly to Maria Amalia, Duchess of Parma.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #314 on: October 13, 2014, 06:21:18 AM »
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And speaking of Maria Anna, this is what really strikes me: Maria Anna was appointed abbess of the noble convent in Prague in 1766. Only a few months earlier the convent in Innsbruck was opened (to commemorate Franz Stephan's death) and this convent was modelled very closely after the Prague example. So why not appoint Maria Elisabeth abbess in Innsbruck?

Do you mean why not appoint Maria Anna abbess in Innsbruck?  The Theresian Royal and Imperial Ladies Chapter of the Castle of Prague to which Maria Anna was appointed abbess had also been founded by Maria Theresa, in 1755, so was therefore the older and more prestigious order, and perhaps where she had been destined for some time.  The appointment also conferred ecclesiastical rank.  But if you do mean Maria Elisabeth, in 1766 she would still presumably have been considered a matrimonial player even though as it turned out Marie Christine had ended up with such a huge marriage settlement, Maria Theresa and Joseph were not prepared to support another minor matrimonial royal spouse such as the Duke of Chablais, for her.  However, she was still in the running for marriage projects for major players such as Louis XV in 1770, so appointing Maria Elisabeth as abbess in Innsbruck in 1766 was perhaps too much of a commitment of a viable matrimonial resource at that stage to a religious foundation (especially since she fell ill with smallpox in 1767 at which point she lost her looks due to scarring).  It would also be fair to say that the Maria Theresianisches Damenstift in Innsbruck was envisaged as more of a lay order for noblewomen dedicated to prayers for the Emperor so was not necessarily the sort of establishment that, in 1766, would have been an obvious destination for either sister at that stage of their lives.