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A lecture by Caroline Cannon-Brookes
Archduke Ferdinand II (1529-1595) was Regent of Bohemia for twenty years in the middle of the 16th century. Born the second son of the future Emperor Ferdinand I and Anne of Bohemia, he was highly educated and a cultivated humanist who established a sophisticated court in Prague which embraced both the Habsburgs and the Czech nobility. He oversaw renewals to Prague Castle and the Cathedral, and promoted the Renaissance style. This is to be seen in the star-shaped Hunting Lodge Hvezda outside Prague, which he is reputed to have designed. These ideas were soon taken up by the Czech nobility. Following in the Habsburg tradition, the Archduke assembled an important library and formed a great collection of portraits, armour and a cabinet of curiosities which he took with him when he moved to Schloss Ambras in the Tirol, in 1567. These collections undoubtedly served as an inspiration for his nephew, the Emperor Rudolf II, who subsequently acquired them. In recent years many of these have been brought back from Vienna and have recently been displayed in an exhibition devoted to the Archduke Ferdinand II shown both at Ambras and in Prague.
Caroline Cannon-Brookes is an art-historian, trained at the Courtauld Institute, and teaches at the University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education. She has led many tours to the Czech Republic to which she is a regular visitor.
Tickets £15 including a glass of wine
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