Charles V of Spain, Holy Roman Emperor

   Charles V was the son of Philip the Handsome, Duke of Burgundy, and Juana la Loca of Castile. Born in Ghent, he was brought up in Flanders and, when his father died in 1506, he inherited the duchy of Burgundy, with his aunt, Margaret of Austria, serving as regent until 1515 when he reached the majority. In 1517, Charles took the Spanish throne and, in 1519 he became Holy Roman Emperor. In 1521, he invaded Northern Italy, at the time controlled by the French, and then in Germany he convoked the Diet of Worms where he vehemently opposed the doctrines of Martin Luther, vowed to fight heresy, and enacted the edict that outlawed Lutheranism. In 1525, he captured Francis I of France in Pavia and forced him to sign the Treaty of Madrid with which Francis renounced his claims to Northern Italy and ceded Burgundy to Charles. As soon as he was released, however, Francis recanted and formed the League of Cognac with Pope Clement VII, Venice, Milan, and Florence against the emperor. Charles retaliated by sacking Rome in 1527. In 1554, he ceded Naples and Sicily to his son Philip II. In the following year, he also gave him the Netherlands, and in 1556 he made him king of Spain and gave him Milan. In 1558, he abdicated the imperial throne, giving it to his brother Ferdinand I, and retired to the Monastery of Yuste, near Cáceres, Spain, where he lived out the rest of his days. Charles V was the patron of Titian, who spent nine months in Germany painting portraits of the emperor and his family, including the famed Charles Von Horseback (1548; Madrid, Prado). Charles was so pleased with Titian that he conferred the knighthood upon him. Bernard van Orley and Pieter Coecke were also his court painters.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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