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Collecting, Displaying, Using: The Inventory of Archduke Ernest of Austria, Brussels, 17 July 1595

Thu, March 22, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Hilton Riverside, 1st Level - Grand Salon Breakout 24


When Archduke Ernest of Austria died in Brussels on 21 February 1595, his time as Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands had come to an end after 13 months. His estate was inherited by his brothers, the sons of Maximilian II, and an inventory was drawn up to list the Archduke’s belongings collected and displayed in the Brussels Palace. This document, today in the Brussels Royal Archive, lists a wide range of different objects with no apparent separations by materials or classifications such as ‘naturalia or ‘scientifica.’ The paper will argue that this unpublished archival source has the potential to give insight into an early-modern princely collection ‘in use.’ It will discuss how the Archduke arranged his objects to reflect his status as the legitimate governor of the Low Countries, underlining his imperial lineage, and reflecting on the socio-political situation of the war-torn Netherlands in 1594/95.


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