Images of the past

A chronologue of beauty

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Marie Antoinette's Siblings

When royal marriages happen to be love matches the results are sixteen children born in the span of twenty years,breeding well beyond the required hair and spare.Luckily for us Maria Theresa had many more charming daughters than sons who have left us beautiful portraits.She loved her children but ultimately sacrificed them on the altar of diplomacy.All but one that is,the Archduchess Maria Christina was her mothers favorite and thus was allowed to marry for love a fact resented by all her siblings.Consequently she was not close to any of her siblings especially her sisters who were pretty close to each other.They hated the fact that their mother was playing favorites.Maria Theresa was also a stern mother and things had to be done her way.When the wife of the heir Franz Joseph,Maria Josepha of Bavaria,passed away from smallpox she sent her daughter Archduchess Maria Josepha,despite her terror to pray beside the unsealed crypt of her dead sister in law.Thus the young Archduchess died at age of sixteen on the very same day she was meant to leave Austria as a bride of the heir to the throne of Naples.

Archduchess Maria Elisabeth, first child of Maria Theresa died aged three

Second daughter of Maria Theresa,Maria Anna Abbess of Royal Convent for Noble Ladies in Prague by Martin van Meytens

Maria Anna with her brother Franz Joseph and sister Maria Elisabeth

Maria Anna was born physically disabled,even though she was highly intelligent because of her physical disability she was unsuitable as a royal bride.Thus she became an abbess the only other option for a royal princess other than marriage.

Archduke Franz Joseph,future Emperor Joseph II,1770 Martin van Mytens

Archduke Franz Josepth,1776 Jean Etienne Liotard

Archduke Franz Joseph,1772

Emperor Joseph II of Austria

Emperor Joseph II,1776 by Joseph Hickel

Franz Joseph became Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in 1780 on his mother's death.Until then he was her co-ruler.Joseph married twice first to the Princess Isabella of Parma,whom he loved but after her early death  he had to marry again in an effort to produce and heir so he reluctantly married Maria Josepha of Bavaria.He had one daughter with Isabella of Parma the little Archduchess Maria Theresa who died at age eight.He did not have children with Maria Josepha and left no heirs.

Princess Isabella of Parma,1749

Isabella of Parma,1758 by Nattier

Isabella of Parma,Anton Raphael Mengs

Isabella of Parma, c. 1761-63 by Martin van Mytens

Isabella of Parma, after 1765; school of Martin van Mytens

Isabella of Parma was a highly intelligent and sensitive girl but unfortunately also prone to depression and melancholia first brought on by the early death of her beloved mother.Shortly after she went to Vienna and married Archduke Franz Joseph who instantly  fell in love with her and they had a happy marriage.She was especially close to her dominating sister in law Maria Christina and it is suggested that it might have been more than a warm friendship especially on Isabella's part.She gave birth to a daughter Maria Theresa but died giving birth to a second daughter who died at birth.

Maria Josepha of Bavaria, c. 1766 by Martin van Meytens 

Maria Josepha after Mytens

Maria Josepha was the unloved second wife of Franz Joseph.He found her physically unattractive and complained that "..her figure is short thickset and without a vestige of charm.","..her teeth are horrible..".He explained their childless state by saying "..they want me to have children,how can one have them?If I could put the tip of my finger on the tiniest part of her body that is not covered in pimples I would try to have a child."Maria Josepha loved her husband and was devoted to him one virtue which he recognized and gave her credit for.As she lay dying of smallpox her husband did not come to visit her and when she died he did not attend her funeral.

Archduchess Maria Christina Duchess of Sachen-Teschen, 1760 Martin van Meytens

Maria Christina and her husband Prince Albert of Saxony Duke of Sachen-Teschen on the left with her mother and siblings,Franz Joseph on the right and in background Archduke Maximillian,Archduchesses Maria Anna and Maria Elizabeth,1776 by Fuger

Prince Albert of Saxony Duke of Sachen-Teschen

Archduchess Maria Christina,1770 by Roslin

Maria Christina Duchess of Sachen-Teschen,1765

The imperial children in performance of "Triomphe d'Amour"-Archduke Maximilian Francis as Amour in middle,Archduke Ferdinand as groom and Archduchess Marie Antoinette as bride with Archduchess Maria Christina on the left with a group of ladies from the court.

Maria Christina was the most beautiful of all Maria Theresa's children and she shared her mother's birthday which made her her mothers favorite.She knew how to manipulate her mother into allowing her to marry Prince Albert of Saxony even though he had no throne or great wealth.Maria Theresa even gave them the duchy of Teschen and made them governors of Netherlands.She was the only child allowed to marry for love.This made her sisters highly resentful of her and their mother especially Archduchess Maria Amalia who was also in love with a minor prince but was not allowed to marry him.Her relationship with Marie Antoinette was very distant and even her brother Leopold despised her for telling their mother everything,making trouble for her siblings and being unkind to them.When she came to France Marie Antoinette treated her just like any other foreign dignitary and even refused to show her around Petit Trianon when she asked to see it.Her siblings never reconciled with her and never forgave her.

Archduchess Maria Elisabeth,1760

Maria Elisabeth , by Martin van Mytens

Maria Elisabeth by Leotard

Archduchess Maria Elizabeth of Austria

Archduchess Maria Elisabeth of Austria

Archduchess Maria Elisabeth was considered the best looking daughter untill she caught smallpox which left her with unsightly scars on her face.Until then she was considered a possible bride for Louis XV of France.That would've made her Marie Antoinette's grandmother in law.Her brother Joseph made her abess of the Convent for Noble Ladies in Innsbruck in 1780.

Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria,Liotard

Archduke Charles Joseph,1747 Martin van Mytens

Charles Joseph was his parent's favorite son.He was very ambitious and thought himself more desrving of the crown than his brothers.he often said that he intended to contest his brother for the crown of the Holy Roman Empire.The rivalry ended when he died of smallpox.Seeing his mother in tears beside his deathbed he said to her;"You shold not weep for me dear mother for had i lived I would've brought you more tears"

Archduchess Maria Josepha,Archduke Ferdinand with their elder sister Maria Amalia,1763 by Martin van Mytens

Prince Charles of Zweibrucen,the man she wanted to marry

Maria Amalia by Auerbach

Ferdinando of Parma,husband of Maria Amalia by Bresciano

Ducal family of Parma,1773

Maria Amalia Duchess Consort of Parma by Roslin

Maria Amalia by Johann Zoffany 

Maria  Amalia never forgave her mother for not allowing her to marry Prince Charles of Zweibrucken with whom she was in love with  but allowed her elder sister Maria Christina to do so.She never reconciled with her mother except for one short period after the birth of her son.She also rebelled against her mother trying to control her life form Vienna like she controlled  Marie Antoinette.When her detested sister Maria Christina visited Parma in 1775 she wrote a letter to their mother saying that Maria Amalia had lost much of her beauty and glamour and that she was also less gay.Maria Amalia was very close to her sisters Marie Antoinette and Maria Carolina,they often exchanged portraits,wrote to each other almost every day and even exchanged dresses and other gifts.One of the last letters Marie Antoinette wrote during her imprisonment was to Maria Amalia.

Archduke Leopold of Austria with his brother Franz Joseph,1769 by Pompeo Batoni

Archduke Leopold by Bertini

Archduke Leopold and family with his mother Maria Theresa

Archduke Leopold and his family

Archduke Leopold and family,1776 by Johan Zoffany

Archduke Leopold was a simple man a conscientious ruler first of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and then as the Holy Roman Emperor.He abolished the death penalty and ordered the destruction of all execution instruments in Tuscany.He even founded one of the earliest institutions for juvenile delinquents and instituted reform for the treatment of the mentally ill banning the use of torture on patients.He succeeded his childless brother on the Austrian throne as Leopold II but only ruled for two years before dying.The French Revolution happened during his time on the throne and his sister wrote to him asking for help.He gave her good advice and offered  to help if she and her family could escape Paris.He married the Spanish princess Maria Luisa and they had many children.

Maria Louisa of Spain,1772 by Anton von Maron

Maria Louisa Grand Duchess of Tuscany,1764-5 by Anton Raphael Mengs

Maria Louisa Holy Roman Empress,1790 Joseph Maria Grassi

Maria Louisa of Spain,Holy Roman Empress

Maria Louisa and her husband Leopold lived in Florence capital of Tuscany for twenty five years.When he became Emperor they moved to Vienna but they only lived there a short time,Leopold dying two years later and Maria Louisa a few months later.

Archduchess Maria Johanna Gabriela of Austria c. 1760-62 by Martin van Mytens

After he older brother Charles Joseph's death Maria Theresa wanted all her children inoculated against smallpox.Sadly for Johanna Gabriela it did not work and she became infected instead of becoming resistant to the virus.At the time she was engaged to the future Ferdinand of two Sicilies.After her death her sister Maria Josepha,to whom she was very close,was engaged to her dead sister's fiancee but she also died from smallpox.In the end a third sister Maria Carolina married Ferdinand.

Maria Josepha,1767 Mengs

Maria Josepha,portrait previously thought to be Marie Antoinette,1760

Maria Josepha,c. 1762, Martin van Meytens

Maria Josepha was "delightfully pretty and pliant by nature".The favorite of her brother Leopold and closest to her sister Johanna Gabriela she was terrified of the smallpox ever since the death of her closest sister.She was engaged to marry her sister's former fiance Ferdinand of Naples and of the Two Sicilies but died on the same day that she was to leave Vienna for her Naples.The story is that her mother sent her to contemplate her good fortune and pray at the unsealed grave of her recently deceased sister in law Maria Josepha of Bavaria.

Archduchess Maria Carolina by Liotard

Maria Carolina, c. 1760s by Martin van Meytens

Archduchesses Maria Theresa,daughter of Joseph I,Carolina,Maria Antonia and Archduke Maximillian,1763

Maria Josepha, Maria Elisabeth Maria Amalia and Maria Carolina in 
                                        ll Parnaso Confuso by Johann Georg Weikert after a 1765 
                                                       original by Johann Franz Greipel 


Maria Carolina,1768 by Anton Raphael Mengs

Ferdinand IV of Naples

Maria Carolina Queen of Naples 

Maria Carolina,1782-83 by Angelica Kauffman 

Maria Carolina,1787 by Landini

Queen Maria Carolina,1791 by Vigee LeBrun

Archduchess Maria Carolina was named after two sisters who had died in infancy.She was the one who resembled her mother's likeness the most and was her ninth daughter.Because of the closeness in age she shared a governess with her sister Maria Antonia and the two became inseparable.A testament to their closeness is the fact that wnen one of the girls fell ill the other soon followed.The two sisters got in lot of trouble together so Maria Theresa had to separate them.When two of her older sisters died she was engaged to Ferdinand of Naples.She wept when she was told of this.She married him despite and soon became the force behind the throne.She was also culturally influential and was a patron of such artists as Angelica Kauffman and the landscape painter Jacob Phillip Hackett.After the Napoleonic wars she was exiled to Vienna where she died.

Archduke Ferdinand of Austria,1762 Liotard

Archduke Ferdinand Dukeof Modena and Breisgau

Maria Beattrice Riciarda d"Este,1772 Anton von Maron

Ferdinand married the only child of Ercole III Duke of Modena thus inheriting the duchy on his father in law's death.His wife inherited her mother's titles and became the reigning Duchess of Massa.His mother also created him Duke of Breisgau.

 Archduke Maximillian Francis of Austria,c 1780 Anton von Maron

Archduke Maximilian with his sister Marie Antoinette and her husband Louis XVI in France,1776

Maximilian was Marie Therese's last child and only younger sibling of Marie Antoinette.He was Archbishop-Elector of Cologne but despite his ecclesiastical title he loved to entertain and had a glittering court with best musicians>one of them was Ludwig van Beethoven's father and later even young Ludwig himself.He allowed him to go to Vienna and study under Mozart,Salieri and Hayden while continuing to pay his court salary.


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