Rudolf II, one of history's most eccentric individuals, was a ruler, a madman, an alchemist, and a patron of the arts. Rudolf's historical distinction comes not from his political accomplishments but from the people he brought to his court and from his Kunstkammer, which included collected and commissioned art­works.
Rudolf's own modest childhood education at the court of his uncle, Philip II* of Spain, perhaps prompted him as an adult to bring to Prague some of the greatest minds and talents of his age. Not without his own talent, Rudolf re­portedly spoke German, Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, and some Bohemian and Czech; however, as a ruler, he withdrew from much of his political re­sponsibility and chose to fashion his imperial image through the arts.
Crowned king of Hungary in 1572, king of Bohemia in 1575, and holy Roman emperor in 1576 after the death of Maximilian II, his father, Rudolf II estab­lished Prague as his royal residence in 1583. Rudolf's patronage made Prague home to scholars, artists, painters, alchemists, craftsmen, architects, and astrol­ogers, among those of name were Tycho Brahe,* Johannes Kepler,* Bartholo-maeus Spranger,* Giuseppe Arcimboldo,* Giambattista Della Porta,* and John Dee.* During his life Rudolf acquired a collection of artworks, especially paint­ings, sculptures, drawings, engravings, sketches, books, manuscripts, scientific instruments, tapestries, gems, stones, fossils, shells, and bones. Aside from his participation in the arts, in his later years Rudolf developed a passion for the occult sciences: alchemy and magic.
Nearing the end of his life, Rudolf II relinquished the Hungarian crown in 1608 and the Bohemian crown in 1611 to Matthias, his brother and successor. After Rudolf's death, Matthias greedily claimed much of the collection, which had been appraised at seventeen million ducats, and transported it to Vienna. With Rudolf's death and the removal of his collection, Prague never reclaimed its artistic notoriety.
R.J.W. Evans, RudolfII and His World, 1973.
E. Fucikova, ed., RudolfII and Prague: The Court and the City, 1997.
Stephanie Witham

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor — Infobox German Royalty|Monarch name =Rudolf II title =Holy Roman Emperor; King of Bohemia, King of Hungary, Croatia and Slavonia; Archduke of Austria caption = reign =1576 1611 coronation = full name = predecessor =Maximilian II successor… …   Wikipedia

  • Holy Roman Emperor — Infobox Former Emperorship realm = the Holy Roman Empire insignia = Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg insigniasize = 120px insigniacaption = Flag of the Holy Roman Empire caption = Otto I the first Emperor first emperor = Otto I… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor — Charles V Holy Roman Emperor; King of the Romans; King of Italy Reign 28 June 1519 – 27 August 1556[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor — Maximilian II King of Bohemia Reign 20 September 1562 – 12 October 1576 Coronation 20 September 1562, Prague Predecess …   Wikipedia

  • Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor — Charles VI Charles VI in the regalia of the Order of the Golden Fleece Holy Roman Emperor; King of the Romans (King of Germany) Reign …   Wikipedia

  • Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor — For other uses, see Emperor Maximilian (disambiguation). Maximilian I Portrait by Albrecht Dürer, 1519 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). Maximilian holds his personal emblem, the pomegranate …   Wikipedia

  • Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor — Matthias Holy Roman Emperor King of the Romans (King of Germany) Reign 13 June 1612 – 20 March 1619 Coronation 26 …   Wikipedia

  • Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor — Charles IV King of Bohemia, Count of Luxemburg Reign 26 August 1346–29 November 1378 Coronation 2 September 1347 …   Wikipedia

  • Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor — Louis IV (1 April1282 ndash; 11 October 1347), called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the Duke of Bavaria from 1294/1301 together with his brother Rudolf I, Count Palatine of the Rhine until 1329, King of Germany from 1314, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor — Charles VII Holy Roman Emperor; King of the Romans (King of Germany) Reign 24 January 1742 – 20 January 1745 ( 100000000000 …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.