Sunday, August 11, 2019

Where Marie Antoinette Was Born

 From Royal Central:
What of the room of her birth? Maria Theresia’s rooms at the Hofburg Palace were located in the so-called Leopoldnischer Trakt (Leopoldine Wing) which was built in the 1660s during the reign of Emperor Leopold I after whom the wing takes its name, although the dynasty had occupied the vast complex since the thirteenth century. Today, these rooms are part of the Austrian Chancellery of the Federal President and are therefore not open to the public, with the exception of Nationalfeiertag, on 26 October each year. The Leopoldine Wing connects the much older Swiss Wing – with its famous Swiss Gate – to the Amalienburg and directly faces the Imperial Chancellery. Originally constructed under the Swiss-Italian architect Filberto Lucchese, it was later enlarged by Giovanni Pietro Tencala.

Maria Theresia used these rooms in the Leopoldine Wing primarily during the winter, with the court spending summer at the imperial residences of Schönbrunn and Laxenburg, the former of which she had enlarged considerably under the direction of the Austro-Italian court architect Nicolo Pacassi. The old Favorita – today’s Theresianum – the aptly-named favourite residence of her father Emperor Charles VI, ceased to be used by the Imperial Family following the Emperor’s death. Laxenburg was essentially an imperial holiday home, which Marie Antoinette adored and would forever associate with her Austrian youth.

The Leopoldine Wing is entered by means of the Adlerstiege (Eagle’s Staircase) up to the first rooms of Maria Theresia’s suite, the Bellariazimmer. These contain portraits of the Imperial Family, including Emperor Leopold I – the Emperor of the eponymous Wing – and paintings of Emperor Leopold I’s first wife, Margarita Teresa of Spain and of the future Emperor Charles VI, Marie Antoinette’s maternal grandfather and son of Leopold I by his third wife, Eleonore Magdalene of Neuburg.

The second Bellariazimmer bears the strong imprint of Maria Theresia’s family and personality. Again there are portraits of the formidable Empress, her co-regent and eventual successor Joseph II, her husband, Francis Stephen – Holy Roman Emperor Francis I. Stephen since 1745 – and a further portrait of her mother, Empress Elisabeth Christine – together with two pastels by the Swiss-French painter Jean-Etienne Liotard, whose work she enthusiastically patronised. The Rosenzimmer (Rose Room) is so named after the supraporten – the oval oil paintings above the doors – which contain images of flowers. The Pietra Dura Room leads into the magnificent Spiegelsaal, or Mirror Room – which was where the courtiers gathered to await the news of the outcome of Maria Theresia’s labour with this, her fifteenth child. It was into this room that Francis Stephen emerged after the birth to announce the news of the birth of his baby daughter. (Read more.)

No comments: