August Erich: Portrait of Maurice of Hesse-Kassel and his family (1630)


(Hessiches Landemuseum, Darmstadt , Germany)

A painting by the German artist August Erich (1591 - 1670). A portrait of Maurice 'the learned', Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1572-1632), his second wife Juliane of Nassau-Dillenburg (1587-1643) and their 14 (!) children. Landgrave Maurice married with Juliane in 1603 and shortly after he converted from the Lutheran faith to Calvinism. As a result, the people of Hesse-Kassel were also required to convert (this was decided in 1555 at the peace of Augsburg: the religion of the ruler was to dictate the religion of those ruled) which caused a lot of conflict between him and the Holy Roman emperor. Maurice was a great supporter of the arts but ruined Hesse-Kassel financially for which he eventually was forced to abdicate in 1627 in favour of his son William. Maurice had 6 children from his first wife Agnes of Solms-Laubach, and 14 children with his second wife Juliane. Several of these 20 died before they were adults and the painting itself does not mention the identity of the children. Painting
 from around 1630.

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