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Albert V
Albert V, Duke of Bavaria
(portrait by Hans Mielich)
Duke of Bavaria
Reign 7 March, 1550–24 October, 1579
Predecessor William IV
Successor William V
Spouse Archduchess Anna of Austria
William V, Duke of Bavaria
Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria
Ernest of Bavaria
House House of Wittelsbach
Father William IV, Duke of Bavaria
Mother Marie of Baden-Sponheim
Born February 29, 1528(1528-02-29)
Died October 24, 1579

Albert V (German: Albrecht V.; 29 February 1528 – 24 October 1579), was Duke of Bavaria from 1550 until his death. He was born in Munich to William IV and Marie Jacobaea of Baden.


Early life

Albert was educated at Ingolstadt under good Catholic teachers. In 1547 he married Anna of Austria, a daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary (1503–1547), daughter of King Ladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary and his wife Anne de Foix, the union was designed to end the political rivalry between Austria and Bavaria. In 1550 Albert suceeded his father as duke of Bavaria.

Political activity

Albert was now free to devote himself to the task of establishing Catholic conformity in his dominions. A strict Catholic by upbringing, Albert was a leader of the German Counter-Reformation. Incapable by nature of passionate adherence to any religious principle, and given rather to a life of idleness and pleasure, he pursued the work of repression because he was convinced that the cause of Catholicism was inseparably connected with the fortunes of the house of Wittelsbach. He took little direct share in the affairs of government, nevertheless, and easily lent himself to the plans of his advisers, among whom during the early part of his reign were two sincere Catholics, Georg Stockhammer and Wiguleus Hundt. The latter took an important part in the events leading up to the treaty of Passau (1552) and the peace of Augsburg (1555).

Duke Albert made strenuous efforts to procure for his son, Ernest of Bavaria, election as Archbishop-elector of Cologne. These efforts would not pay off until after Albert's death; however, a member of the Wittelsbach house of Bavaria would be Archbishop of Cologne for almost two centuries thereafter.

As successor of his uncle Ernest of Salzburg, Duke Albert was since 1560 administrator and owner of the mortgage of the county of Glatz, before he returned the redeemed county to Emperor Maximilian II in 1567.

Cultural activity

Duke Albert V of Bavaria and his consort Anna playing chess, portrait by Hans Mielich (1552)

Albert was a patron of the arts and a collector whose personal accumulations are the basis of the Wittelsbach antique collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, the coin collection and the Wittelsbach treasury in the Munich Residenz; some of his Egyptian antiquities remain in the collection of Egyptian art. His personal library has come to the Bavarian State Library in Munich, inheritor of the Wittelsbach court library.

Like an American millionaire of the Gilded Age, he bought whole collections in Rome and Venice; in Venice, after tiresome drawn-out negotiations with the aged Andrea Loredan, he purchased the Loredan collection virtually in its entirety: 120 bronzes, 2480 medals and coins, 91 marble heads, 43 marble statues, 33 reliefs and 14 various curiosities, for the sum of 7000 ducats; "they were all exported from Venice secretly at night in large chests".[1] At the same time, squabbles among the heirs of Gabriele Vendramin thwarted him in his attempt to purchase the single most important collection in Venice and paintings and antiquities, drawings by the masters and ancient coins.[2] To house his antiquities he commissioned the Antiquarium in the Munich Residenz, the largest Renaissance hall north of the Alps.

He appointed Orlando di Lasso to a court post and patronized many other artists; this led to a huge burden of debts (½ Mio. Fl.).

Duke Albert V of Bavaria

Family and children

With Archduchess Anna of Austria he had seven children:

  1. Charles, born and died in 1547
  2. William V, Duke of Bavaria (29 September 1548 – 17 February 1626)
  3. Ferdinand (20 January 1550 – 30 January 1608)
  4. Maria Anna (21 March 1551 – 29 April 1608)
  5. Maximiliana Maria (4 July 1552 – 11 July 1614)
  6. Friedrich (26 July 1553 – 18 April 1554)
  7. Ernest of Bavaria (17 December 1554 – 17 February 1612), Archbishop and prince-elector of Cologne 1583-1612

Albert is buried in the Frauenkirche in Munich.


  1. ^ Jaynie Anderson, "A Further Inventory of Gabriel Vendramin's Collection" The Burlington Magazine 121 No. 919 (October 1979:639-648) 640f.
  2. ^ Anderson 1979, eo. loc.

External links

Hofkleiderbuch (Abbildung und Beschreibung der Hof-Livreen) des Herzogs Wilhelm IV. und Albrecht V. 1508-1551. (Court and Coat of Arms Book of Bavarian Dukes: William IV and Albert V) at the Bavarian State Library


Albert's ancestors in three generations
Albert V, Duke of Bavaria Father:
William IV, Duke of Bavaria
Paternal Grandfather:
Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Albert III, Duke of Bavaria
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Anna of Brunswick-Grubenhagen-Einbeck
Paternal Grandmother:
Kunigunde of Austria
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Eleanor of Portugal, Holy Roman Empress
Marie of Baden-Sponheim
Maternal Grandfather:
Philipp I, Margrave of Baden-Sponheim
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Christopher I, Margrave of Baden-Baden
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Ottilie von Katzenelnbogen
Maternal Grandmother:
Elizabeth of the Palatinate
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Philip, Elector Palatine
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Margarete of Bavaria-Landshut
Albert V, Duke of Bavaria
Born: 29 February 1528 Died: 24 October 1579
Regnal titles
Preceded by
William IV
Duke of Bavaria
Succeeded by
William V




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