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Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria as marshall
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Gallery in Bussels (Painting by David Teniers the Younger, ca. 1650, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria (Wiener Neustadt January 5, 1614 -Vienna November 20, 1662), was a military commander, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands from 1647 to 1656, and a patron of the arts. He is also known as Leopold Wilhelm von Habsburg, but as a son of the Archduke of Austria he carried the title Archduke of Austria.

He was the youngest son of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, and of Maria-Anna of Bavaria (1574-1616), daughter of William V, Duke of Bavaria. His elder brother became Emperor Ferdinand III (1608-1657). Leopold served as general in the Thirty Years' War. Even though Leopold Wilhelm lacked the theological qualification, and violating canon law against see accumulation, he was invested - with the help of his father - with a number of prince-bishoprics in order to provide him with a truly princely income. Unqualified as he was, he officially only held the title administrator - nevertheless realising the full episcopal revenues - of the prince-bishopric of Halberstadt (1628-1648), the prince-bishopric of Passau (1625-1662), the prince-archbishopric of Wrocław (1656-1662), prince-bishopric of Olomouc (1637-1662) and the prince-bishopric of Strasbourg (1626-1662). In 1635 Pope Urban VIII provided him to become the prince-archbishop of Bremen, but due to its occupation by the Swedes he never gained de facto power.

When he assumed the government of the Spanish Netherlands, Leopold Wilhelm, being a great lover of art, employed the great Flemish painter David Teniers the Younger not only as a painter but as keeper of the collection of pictures he was then forming. With the rank and title of "ayuda de camara," Teniers took up his abode in Brussels shortly after 1647. Immense sums were spent in the acquisition of paintings for the archduke. A number of valuable works of the Italian masters, now in the Vienna Museum, came from Leopold's gallery after having belonged to Charles I and the duke of Buckingham. He commissioned the British painter John Michael Wright to acquire to travel to Cromwell's England, and acquire art and artefacts.

When Leopold returned to Vienna, the pictures also travelled to Austria, and a Flemish priest, himself a first-rate flower painter, Van der Baren, became keeper of the archducal gallery. Leopold bequeathed his gallery to his nephew Leopold I, and it became imperial property. It is now part of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Ancestors

Leopold Wilhelm's ancestors in three generations
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria Father:
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Father's father:
Charles II of Austria
Father's father's father:
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Father's father's mother:
Anna of Bohemia and Hungary
Father's mother:
Maria Anna of Bavaria
Father's mother's father:
Albert V, Duke of Bavaria
Father's mother's mother:
Anna of Austria
Mother:
Maria Anna of Bavaria
Mother's father:
William V, Duke of Bavaria
Mother's father's father:
Albert V, Duke of Bavaria
Mother's father's mother:
Anna of Austria
Mother's mother:
Renata of Lorraine
Mother's mother's father:
Francis I, Duke of Lorraine
Mother's mother's mother:
Christina of Denmark
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria
Born: 5 January 1614 in Wiener Neustadt Died: 20 November 1662 in Vienna
Religious titles
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Christian William of Brandenburg
(Lutheran Administrator)
Prince-Archbishop of Magdeburg
1631-1638
(Catholic Administrator due to lack of canonical qualification)
Succeeded by
August, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels
(Lutheran Administrator)
Prince-Bishop of Halberstadt
1628-1648
(Catholic Administrator due to lack of canonical qualification)
Secularised: Principality of Halberstadt
Preceded by
Frederick II, Crown Prince of Denmark
(Lutheran Administrator)
Prince-Archbishop of Bremen
1635-1645
(only de jure, de facto barred by Swedish occupants)
Succeeded by
Francis of Wartenberg
(Vicar Apostolic)
Preceded by
Leopold V, Archduke of Austria
Prince-Bishop of Strasbourg
1626-1662
(Catholic Administrator due to lack of canonical qualification)
Succeeded by
Franz Egon of Fürstenberg
Prince-Bishop of Passau
1625-1662
(Catholic Administrator due to lack of canonical qualification)
Succeeded by
Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria
Preceded by
Johann Ernst Plateis von Plattenstein
Prince-Bishop of Olomouc
1637-1662
(Catholic Administrator due to lack of canonical qualification)
Preceded by
Karol Ferdynand Waza
Prince-Bishop of Wrocław
1656-1662
(Catholic Administrator due to lack of canonical qualification)
Religious titles
Preceded by
Johann Kaspar I von Stadion
Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
1641-1662
Succeeded by
Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria
Government offices
Preceded by
Emmanuel de Moura Cortereal, Marquis of Castel Rodrigo
Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands
1647-1656
Succeeded by
John of Austria the Younger

Literature

  • Renate Schreiber, "ein galeria nach meinem humor" - Erzherzog Leopold Wilhelm. Vienna/Wien 2004

External links

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