Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lady in Red

This charming woman, whose roguish expression greatly caught my fancy this afternoon while I was visiting the Kunsthistorisches Museum, is Emilia, Princess of Saxony, and I don't know about you, but I'm just mad for her snood-hat combination.

She is the centerpiece of a trio portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder, which also includes her only moderately less comely sisters Princess Sibille and Princess Sidonie (as you can see over there on the right, the other sisters are even more extravagantly beplumed).

One is always a little hesitant about finding out too much about historical figures before the late eighteenth century - so often they turn out to have died young, gruesomely, or both.  For Emilia, however, things seem to have turned out quite nicely.  She became on her marriage the Margravine of Brandenburg-Anspach, which sounds festive enough and doubtless afforded her the leeway for even more extravagant millinery.  She followed in her parents' footsteps by also having three daughters (with the oddly modern names Sophie, Barbara, and Dorothy), as well as the requisite heir, George, for whom she acted as regent on the death of the Margrave.  She made it to 75, a healthy old age for the sixteenth century (she was a contemporary of Elizabeth I), and in general seems to have quite an interesting as well as decorative figure.   Although she has the reputation of having been rather a fierce Protestant, there's something about her smile that tells me she might have been amusing company over a nice cold glass of mead.

No mead for me today, although I won't deny the presence of both a little Aperol and a fair amount of excellent Grüner Veltliner.  In addition to the Kunsthistoriches, I made my way over to the Vienna City Museum, which has an fascinating collection that runs from traces of the Roman camp that preceded the current capital right up to the requisite Klimt or two without which no Vienna Museum is apparently complete.  For dinner, I found an entrancing little gasthaus at which I ate very well last all and which in no way disappointed this evening.  Now if only I didn't have that pesky job, the rest of the week could pass very entertainingly, but alas it's back to the grindstone tomorrow morning.  I shall endeavor to maintain Emilia's expression of amused self-confidence no matter how trying the students...


  1. I don't know about you, but I think the title "Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach" is one to which we should all aspire. Jx

  2. Replies
    1. They're the mantillas of the north!