Eleanor of Austria (1534–1594)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Archduchess Eleonore, Duchess of Mantua (Anonymous painting, around 1555)

Eleanor of Austria (born November 2, 1534 in Vienna , † August 5, 1594 in Mantua ) was a Habsburg and by marriage Duchess of Mantua .


Archduchess Eleonore as a child (painting by Jakob Seisenegger , 1536)

Eleonore was the eighth child and sixth daughter of the future (since 1558) Emperor Ferdinand I and his wife Anna of Bohemia and Hungary . In 1536 she was portrayed as a two-year-old girl by the Austrian court painter Jakob Seisenegger . This painting is now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Eleanor's confessor and biographer, the Jesuit father A. Folcario, reports that Eleanor rejected the plan to become the wife of the Danish king ( Frederick II ) because he belonged to the Lutheran creed. Another marriage project, which would have made her the wife of the Protestant Prince Elector Johann Friedrich II of Saxony , did not materialize due to a lack of religious compensation. In any case, Eleanor was a devout Catholic.

Despite her intention not to enter into marriage, Eleanor finally married at the request of her father on April 26, 1561 in Mantua Guglielmo Gonzaga (1538–1587), Duke of Mantua, who hoped for imperial support to consolidate his rule in Montferrat. According to marriage views at the time, the 26-year-old bride was a bit old for her first marriage. Although her husband suffered from a curvature of the spine, it is said to have been a relatively happy marriage for the time.

The couple had three children:

  • Vincenzo I. Gonzaga (September 22, 1562 - February 18, 1612), Duke of Mantua and Montferrat (since 1587)
  • Margherita Barbara Gonzaga (born May 27, 1564; † January 6, 1618) ⚭ February 24, 1579 Alfonso II. D'Este (1533–1597), Duke of Ferrara ;
  • Anna Caterina Gonzaga (* January 17, 1566; † August 3, 1621 as a nun) ⚭ May 14, 1582 Ferdinand II. (1529–1595), Archduke of Austria-Tyrol.

In 1567, Guglielmo Gonzaga sent his wife to Casale Monferrato to calm the revolting residents of that city. Eleanor did not succeed in this, however, and in October 1567 she almost fell victim to a conspiracy. After her husband died in August 1587, she made a vow of chastity on the first Sunday in Advent of that year. Eleanor outlived her husband by seven years and died in 1594 at the age of 59. She was buried in the Gonzaga crypt in the Cathedral of San Pietro in Mantua.


Individual evidence

  1. Edith Schlocker: Ambras Castle: The Emperor's Unhappy Daughters. Die Presse, July 25, 2010, accessed on July 26, 2010 (The exhibition "Nozze italiane" illustrates the marriage policy of the Habsburgs. The focus is on three daughters of Ferdinand I who were married to Italy).
  2. ^ Wurzbach: Anna Katherina von Mantua .  No. 31. In: Biographical Lexicon. 6th part. Vienna 1860, p. 154 ( digitized version ).