Wittelsbach Patronage from the late Middle Ages to the Thirty Years War
- LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2017
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199920105-0115
- LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2017
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199920105-0115
The Wittelsbach dynasty is one of the most influential and widespread families in European history. From the founding of the House of Wittelsbach in the 12th century, until the First World War saw the end of the Bavarian monarchy, members of the Wittelsbach dynasty have occupied many thrones: the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor twice; kings of Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Germany, Greece, and, of course, Bavaria; prince electors; and prince bishops, in addition to centuries of ducal control over territories ranging from the Rhineland Palatinate to Upper and Lower Bavaria. Throughout the eight centuries, since Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) invested Count Otto of Wittelsbach with the Duchy of Bavaria in 1180, the family has dominated European politics, diplomacy, and patronage. Although the tragic figure of the 19th-century King Ludwig II, known for such fairy tale extravaganzas as Neuschwanstein Castle, has entered popular imagination as the best-known Wittelsbach ruler, patronage of art and architecture permeates every generation of the dynasty. The Bavarian ducal collections, begun in the 15th century and built up over the next two hundred years, form the basis for some of the most important art collections in Europe today. The Munich Pinakothek, the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (Bavarian State Museum), the Bavarian State Library, and the Munich Graphics Collection, among others, all have their origins in 16th-century ducal collections. Even after the dissolution of the monarchy in 1918, Wittelsbach dukes continued their long history of patronage with the donation of collections and historic properties to the state of Bavaria and support of contemporary art.
The history of the Wittelsbach dynasty is necessarily linked to the history of Bavaria, and the literature on both is extensive, although very little has been written in English. The brief list that follows includes classic studies (Dotterweich 1991, Hubensteiner 1963, Spindler 1981) and more recent publications (Körner 2009) that provide context and a good overview of the history, culture, politics, and patronage of the dynasty.
Dotterweich, Helmut. Das Erbe der Wittelsbacher. Vermächtnis einer europäischen Dynastie. 2d ed. Munich: Nymphenburger, 1991.
Dotterweich covers the cultural heritage and patronage of the entirety of the Wittelsbach dynasty beginning in the middle ages and ending in the 20th century. His style is accessible and eminently readable, a history told in an anecdotal and approachable manner. A good source for a quick overview or as a beginning point for further research.
Hubensteiner, Benno. Bayerische Geschichte. Staat und Volk, Kunst und Kultur. Munich: Richard Pflaum Verlag, 1963.
First published in 1950, Hubensteiner’s extensive treatment begins with late ice age hunter-gathers and ends with the chaotic post–Second World War period. He interweaves historical events with the art and culture that helped shape Bavaria. Includes numerous maps, tables, and useful timelines.
Körner, Hans-Michael. Die Wittelsbacher: Vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. Munich: Verlag C. H. Beck, 2009.
A readable pocketbook guide to almost a thousand years of Bavaria within the context of German and European events.
Kraus, Andreas. Geschichte Bayerns. Munich: Verlag C. H. Beck, 1983.
A concise treatment of the history of Bavaria that provides a good overview of biographical and historical events.
Lanzinner, Maximilian. Fürste, Räte und Landstände, Die Entstehung der Zentralbehörden in Bayern, 1511–1598. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht, 1980.
A comprehensive study of the establishment of the modern Bavarian state, through the lens of the rise of a professional bureaucratic class. Important for the consideration of court artists because it places them within the context of other court functionaries.
Spindler, Max. Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte. 5 vols. Munich: C. H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1981.
The essential source for in-depth coverage of the history of Bavaria, encompassing five volumes. Volume 2 deals specifically with art patronage over centuries of Wittelsbach rule.
Die Wittelsbacher und ihre Künstler in acht Jahrhunderten. Munich: Süddeutscher Verlag, 1980.
Divided into four sections covering literature, music, theater, and art, this is an in-depth study of the patronage of the Wittelsbach over the course of eight hundred years from the founding of the dynasty in the 12th century until the present. Horst Stierhof covers art patronage from the middle ages to the 20th century and includes maps, prints, color plates, and reconstructions of now-lost structures.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Activist and Socially Engaged Art
- Adornment, Dress, and African Arts of the Body
- Ancient Egyptian Art
- Ancient Pueblo (Anasazi) Art
- Angkor and Environs
- Art and Archaeology of the Bronze Age in China
- Art and Architecture in the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary
- Art and Propaganda
- Art of Medieval Iberia
- Art of the Crusader Period in the Levant
- Art of the Dogon
- Art of the Mamluks
- Art of the Plains Peoples
- Artemisia Gentileschi
- Arts of Senegambia
- Arts of the Pacific Islands
- Assyrian Art and Architecture
- Australian Aboriginal Art
- Aztec Empire, Art of the
- Babylonian Art and Architecture
- Bamana Arts and Mande Traditions
- Barbizon Painting
- Bartolomeo Ammannati
- Bernini, Gian Lorenzo
- Bohemia and Moravia, Renaissance and Rudolphine Art of
- Borromini, Francesco
- Brazilian Art and Architecture, Post-independence
- Burkina Art and Performance
- Byzantine Art and Architecture
- Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da
- Carracci, Annibale
- Chaco Canyon and Other Early Art in the North American Sou...
- Chicana/o Art
- Chimú Art and Architecture
- Colonial Art of New Granada (Colombia)
- Conceptual Art and Conceptualism
- Contemporary Art
- Courbet, Gustave
- Czech Modern and Contemporary Art
- Daumier, Honoré
- David, Jacques-Louis
- Delacroix, Eugène
- Design, Garden and Landscape
- Destruction in Art
- Dürer, Albrecht
- Early Christian Art
- Early Medieval Architecture in Western Europe
- Eighteenth-Century Europe
- Ephemeral Art and Performance in Africa
- Ethiopia, Art History of
- European Art, Historiography of
- European Medieval Art, Otherness in
- Eyck, Jan van
- Festivals in West Africa
- French Impressionism
- Gender and Art in the Middle Ages
- Gender and Art in the Renaissance
- Gender and Art in the 17th Century
- Giotto di Bondone
- Gothic Architecture
- Gothic Art in Italy
- Goya y Lucientes, Francisco José
- Great Zimbabwe and its Legacy
- Greek Art and Architecture
- Greenberg, Clement
- Géricault, Théodore
- Iconography in the Western World
- Installation Art
- Islamic Art and Architecture in North Africa and the Iberi...
- Japanese Architecture
- Japanese Ceramics
- Japanese Literati Painting and Calligraphy
- Jewish Art, Ancient
- Jewish Art, Medieval to Early Modern
- Jewish Art, Modern and Contemporary
- Jones, Inigo
- Kahlo, Frida
- Katsushika Hokusai
- Lastman, Pieter
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Luca della Robbia (or the Della Robbia Family)
- Luisa Roldán
- Markets and Auctions, Art
- Marxism and Art
- Maya Art
- Medieval Art and Liturgy (recent approaches)
- Medieval Art and the Cult of Saints
- Medieval Art in Scandinavia, 400-800
- Medieval Textiles
- Meiji Painting
- Merovingian Period Art
- Moche Art
- Modern Sculpture
- Monet, Claude
- Māori Art and Architecture
- Museums in Australia
- Museums of Art in the West
- Nasca Art
- Native North American Art, Pre-Contact
- Nazi Looting of Art
- New Media Art
- New Spain, Art and Architecture
- Olmec Art
- Pacific Art, Contemporary
- Palladio, Andrea
- Parthenon, The
- Performance Art
- Perspective from the Renaissance to Post-Modernism, Histor...
- Peter Paul Rubens
- Philip II and El Escorial
- Photography, History of
- Pollock, Jackson
- Polychrome Sculpture in Early Modern Spain
- Postmodern Architecture
- Pre-Hispanic Art of Columbia
- Psychoanalysis, Art and
- Qing Dynasty Painting
- Rembrandt van Rijn
- Renaissance and Renascences
- Renaissance Art and Architecture in Spain
- Rivera, Diego
- Rodin, Auguste
- Roman Art
- Science and Conteporary Art
- Sculpture: Method, Practice, Theory
- South Asia and Allied Textile Traditions, Wall Painting of
- South Asia, Modern and Contemporary Art of
- South Asia, Photography in
- South Asian Architecture and Sculpture, 13th to 18th Centu...
- South Asian Art, Historiography of
- The Art of Medieval Sicily and Southern Italy through the ...
- The Art of Southern Italy and Sicily under Angevin and Cat...
- Theory in Europe to 1800, Art
- Timurid Art and Architecture
- Turner, Joseph Mallord William
- van Gogh, Vincent
- Viking Art
- Warburg, Aby
- Warhol, Andy
- Wari (Huari) Art and Architecture
- Wittelsbach Patronage from the late Middle Ages to the Thi...
- Women, Art, and Art History: Gender and Feminist Analyses
- Yuan Dynasty Art