New: Portraying The Habsburg Monarchs 1493-1789

The Habsburgs ruled most of central Europe, Spain,
Belgium and parts of Italy for nearly 600 years, until
1918. We focus on the imagery surrounding the main
imperial line which began with Emperor Maximilian I
(r.1493-1519) and ended with Empress Maria Theresa

Who is this course for

This course is for anyone with an enquiring mind and an enthusiasm for history. No previous knowledge is necessary but a good understanding of English is essential.

What does this course cover

The first session will explore the rise of the House of Habsburg and how they came to rule the German territories, the Low Countries and Spain. Thereafter, we explore the courtly culture of the Habsburg monarchs and the image both, public and private, they sought to portray through their patronage of the arts. We begin with the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (r.1493-1519) and his grandson Charles V (r. 1519-56) who divided the empire, granting the German lands to his brother, the future Emperor Ferdinand I, while keeping Spain, the Americas and the Netherlands for himself and his heirs. Henceforth, we will concentrate on the German branch of the family. Featured rulers include the emperors Rudolf II (r. 1576-1612); Leopold I (r.1658-1705) and Charles VI (r.1711-40). We end with the last Habsburg and only female ruler, Maria Theresa (r. 1740-80).
By the end of the course you will be able to:
- Explain how the House of Habsburg came to prominence in the fifteenth century
- Name at least 3 key artists who worked for the Habsburg emperors
- Chart key events of the period 1493 to 1780 as depicted in paintings
- Explore how the arts were used by successive monarchs to bind disparate territories and peoples to their rule
- Identify how Maria Theresa projected her role as a powerful ruler and mother

What will it be like

Each week there will be an informative talk, using PowerPoint, during which class discussion will be encouraged. We shall use small group work to analyse original sources and a range of handouts will be available for discussion purposes.

What else do you need to buy or do

There are no expenses other than note-taking materials. Occasionally small pieces of homework reading will be distributed to augment your knowledge and aid in class discussion. You are encouraged to bring along/describe items you have read in newspapers/heard on radio/seen on TV that you think may be of interest to the group.

What this course could lead to

You might consider enrolling on other history or art in history courses, tutor to advise

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’