Hans Wertinger: Portrait of duke William IV of Bavaria and Maria Jacobaea (1526)


(Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany)

Two paintings by the German artist Hans Wertinger (1465 – 1533). William IV 'the steadfast' (1493-1550) was the son of Duke Albert IV of Bavaria and Kunigunde of Austria. Together with his younger brother Louis X he was the duke of Bavaria from 1508 until his death in 1550. Although William was an important art collector and commissioner, his reign was marked conflict. He opposed the upcoming protestant faith in his lands and became a prominent leader of the counter reformation. From 1524 to 1525 his lands were ravaged by the German peasants' war which was brutally suppressed and cost the lives of more then 100.000 people. Besides his role in these wars, William is also well known for his Reinheitsgebot (= German Beer Purity Law). Adopted in 1516, the law stated that for the brewing of Bavarian beer only barley, hops and water could be used (in the middle ages people didn't drink much water, beer was very important for daily use so quality was very important). This law remained in force until it was abolished in 1986. On the right is Marie Jakobaea of Baden-Sponheim (1507 – 1580), the wife of William. The couple married in 1522 and the couple had four children. The decorative hanging garlands at the top are typical for Wertinger. Paintings from 1526.

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