Margaret of Austria


Margaret of Austria
(1480-1530)
   A Hapsburg, Margaret of Austria was the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. At the age of two, she was betrothed to the future King Charles VIII of France. Instead, in 1489, Charles married Anne of Brittany and sent Margaret back to her father's court. In 1497, she married the Infante Juan, heir to Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. Widowed a few months later, in 1501, she wed Philibert II, Duke of Savoy, who also died (1504). Her father then appointed her regent to the Netherlands 1507) and guardian to Charles V, whom she made her universal heir.
   Margaret was a major collector and patron of the arts. Bernard van Orley and Jan Mostaert were her court painters, and Conrad Meit her sculptor. A portrait of Margaret rendered by van Orley in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, records her likeness. Mostaert's Portrait of an African Man (1520-1530; Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum) is thought to represent an individual from her court in Malines. Meit created a number of small- and large-scale sculptures for her, as well as portraits. He was charged with overseeing the ex-ecution of the tombs of Margaret and her husband Philibert in the Church of Brou in Bourg-en-Bresse (1526-1532). Margaret's collection included such notable works as Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding Portrait (1434; London, National Gallery) and Jan Gossart's Metamorphosis of Hermaphrodite andSalmacis (c. 1505; Rotterdam, Museum Boymansvan Beuningen).

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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