The Wedding of Archduke Ferdinand IIA sixteenth-century picture book
In 1582 the ruler of the Tyrol, Archduke Ferdinand II (1529-1595) married his second wife, Anna Caterina Gonzaga of Mantua, at Innsbruck. As befitted such an important event, he staged a spectacular display comprising architecture, painting, sculpture, dancing, jousts, music and fireworks. Guests appeared as mythological and allegorical figures, as classical gods and heroes. The Archduke was thus able to present himself and his dynasty in roles that reflected his status and virtues, and thus become a princely paragon.
The splendid displays and parades that preceded the jousts staged to celebrate the wedding are recorded in a book that comprises eighty elaborately-coloured engravings, which forms the focus of the exhibition. Thanks to the work’s recent conservation, individual sheets of what was originally a tightly-bound codex can now be displayed. In addition, the exhibition includes rare and exquisite objects from the holdings of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Ambras that document pomp and circumstance at Habsburg courts.