Jan Thomas van Ieperen: Portraits of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Margaret Theresa of Spain in theater costumes (1667)

(Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria)

Emperor Leopold I and his first wife Margaret Theresa of Spain are both dressed in theater costumes. Leopold is dressed as Acis and Margaret is dressed as Galatea from the play 'La Galatea'. This play is based upon a Greek myth regarding Acis and Galatea. In the myth, Acis and the sea-nymph Galatea were in love with each other but  the Cyclops Polyphemus, a jealous rival, killed Acis. Galatea then turned the blood of Acis into the Sicilian River Acis. Emperor Leopold was a patron of music and a composer so this portrait is a reflection of this. Leopold has all the typically Habsburg physical attributes (Short, thin, and of sickly constitution and the famous Habsburg chin) as a result of consanguineous marriages. In the case of Leopold, he was the maternal uncle and paternal cousin of his wife Margaret Theresa. Margaret Theresa died young at the age of 21 (she is 16 on this portrait). Both paintings are from 1667.

Comments