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Women. Art & Power

Three Habsburg Women

Margaret of Austria. Mary of Hungary. Catherine of Austria

The large-scale special exhibition in summer 2018 Women. Art & Power at Ambras Castle Innsbruck focuses on three remarkable Renaissance women, rulers and collectors of the House of Habsburg engaged in the arts: Margaret of Austria (1480–1530), Mary of Hungary (1505–1558), and Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal (1507–1578). For the first time in an exhibition, not only by the Kunsthistorisches Museum but generally, a comparative analysis of courtly female patronage will be undertaken. This high-calibre exhibition presents some one hundred works from important European collections, including objects from Ambras Castle Innsbruck and outstanding pieces from the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.

With your donation you help us to conduct necessary restoration and conservation work of our masterpieces and ensure that they can be presented in their plenteous resplendence. For example the Portrait of Mary of Hungary after Titan (mid-16th century), that will be introduced to the public for the very first time at this exhibition. In addition, you support us to handle incoming costs for special transports and insurances regarding the top-class items on loan from abroad. We will be pleased to mention you on our electronic honors board as well as give you two free admission tickets for the exhibition Women. Art & Power – Three Habsburg Women starting from a donation of 100 Euro. From a donation of 500 Euro your name will be mentioned in the exhibition catalogue and you will receive an VIP-invitation for two to our castle festival at Ambras Castle Innsbruck on August 15. If you donate 1000 Euro you and your guests also will be invited to an exclusive tour through the exhibition with Dr. Veronika Sandbichler, Director of Ambras Castle Innsbruck.

You also can assume an exclusive patronage for one of the objects shown in the exhibition for the amount of 10,000 Euro. By doing so you will make an important contribution to ensure the success of the exhibition. If you wish, we will be very glad to put your name on the object designation located in the exhibition rooms. Further information under

Margaret of Austria – Mary of Hungary – Catherine of Austria
Three Habsburg Women

More recently, the leading role of prominent Habsburg women as cultural agents involved in the acquisition, collecting, display and ownership of collections has been given more recognition. As political representatives of emperors and as princely wives, these women had access to the best artists of their time. Their social position enabled them to operate as patrons of the art and as collectors of art.

The outstanding art collection of the Archduchess Margaret of Austria (1480–1530), daughter of Emperor Maximilian I and Governess of the Netherlands, based in Mechelen (Malines), is regarded today as the forerunner and model for younger generations of women in her family.

Portrait Medallion of Margaret of Austria (1480–1530)
Conrat Meit, Mechelen or Brou, 1528
painted terracotta, diameter: 9,2 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Kunstkammer, Inv.-Nr. KK 3150

Mary of Hungary (1505–1558), younger sister of Emperor Charles V, grew up at Margaret’s court, experienced her aunt’s collection firsthand. As widow and later regent, Mary inherited Margaret’s library and implemented the idea for a Habsburg dynastic portrait gallery and a collection of tapestries in Brussels. She became a leading patron, building palaces and collaborating closely with such painters and sculptors as Anthonis Mor, Leone Leoni und Jacques du Broeucq.

Mary of Hungary as a widow (1505–1558)
Leone Leoni, Milan, ca. 1555
bronze, h. 72,5 cm, w. 34 cm, d. 55 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Kunstkammer, Inv.-Nr. KK 5496

Catherine of Austria (1507–1578), Queen of Portugal, the youngest sister of Emperor Charles V, was exposed to other collecting trends in Spain and Portugal. She specialized in the importation of exotica and luxury wares from Africa, Asia and the New World, and supplied the Habsburg family network with foreign objects and wild animals.

Ceylon, Southern German; casket: before 1542, mounting: 4th quarter 16th century
ivory, silver, h. 14,9 cm, w. 25 cm, d. 16 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Kunstkammer, Inv.-Nr. KK 4743

To realize this high-quality exhibition project, we need additional financial support. Your donation will make a great contribution towards the reappraisal and research of the history of the Habsburg women. Please support this important project!

Thank you for your help and your commitment to art.

Sabine Haag, Director General

Veronika Sandbichler, Director, Castle Ambras Innsbruck


Donations to the Kunsthistorisches Museum are tax-deductible.

Recipient: KHM-Museumsverband
IBAN: AT18 6000 0000 9205 7968
Payment reference:
Donation Art & Power

For more information please contact Bärbel Holaus:
+43 1 52524 - 4035 oder unter

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