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Emperor Maximilian II
Mor, Anthonis
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Mor, Anthonis

Utrecht (Netherlands), 1516 - Antwerp? (Belgium), 1576

See author's file

Emperor Maximilian II

1550. Oil on canvas.
Room 056

The son of Ferdinand of Austria, then King of Romans and next emperor (1556-1564) of the Germanic Holy Roman Empire, and his wife Anna Jagellonica, queen of Hungary and Bohemia, was born in Vienna on 1 August 1527. He was educated in Spain alongside his cousin, the future Philip II, and from an early age practiced the profession of arms, later on entering combat on the side of Emperor Charles V (1519-1556) against the association of Protestant princes known as the Schmalkaldic League, which was defeated at the battle of Mühlberg. The monarch chose him as a husband for his daughter Maria of Austria. Maximilian and Maria married in 1548 and were regents of the Spanish kingdoms in the absence of the heir during his long journey around Italy, the Netherlands and Germany between 1548 and 1551. However, his uncle´s attempts to pass the crown of the empire to his son Philip II, to the detriment of Ferdinand and, naturally, Maximilian himself as the latter´s eldest son, distanced him from the Spanish court and imperial environments, so much so that he struck up relationships with the German Protestant princes, triggering a family conflict. When at last Charles V abdicated (1556) as emperor and Ferdinand was proposed as his successor, Maximilian was able to feel secure. Chosen as King of Romans in 1562, he inherited the sovereignty of Bohemia that same year and was crowned king of Hungary in 1563. When Ferdinand I died in 1564 he acceded to the imperial throne, remaining there until his death in Regensburg in 1576. His rule was characterised by a particular policy of tolerance towards Protestantism, the religious postulates of which do not appear to have been very far removed from his own ideas. He was succeeded successively by his sons Rudolf II (1576-1612) and Matthias I (1612-1619) as emperor. When Philip II´s heir, the prince Don Carlos, died in 1568, Maximilian entertained hopes of placing one of his sons on the Spanish throne. He achieved this in a sense, as he married his daughter Anna of Austria to Philip II, which led to a rapprochement with the Spanish branch of the dynasty. Their son, King Philip III (1598-1621), was therefore Maximilian´s grandson. This portrait, which forms a pair with one of his wife (Museo del Prado, Madrid) executed the following year, was designed to be similar to that which Titian painted of Philip II (P2110) in Milan in 1548, albeit reducing the space and adding a detailed description of the textures of all the motifs visible in the painting with an immaculate precision of detail. The future emperor is portrayed standing, full length and life size in a three-quarter position with his head turned to the left and silhouetted against a dark background, which enhances the volume of the figure. He carries a sword and is dressed in white with a rich leather travelling jacket and breeches; the black cap on his head is adorned with a feather and he wears the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He holds his gloves in his right hand and leans his left forearm on a table with a green velvet covering on which rests a finely chiselled visored battle helmet adorned with a crest of reddish feathers. It is actually a typical portrait of a man of high birth and soldier who emanates the serenity and distinction inspired by the Spanish ideal of austere and dignified presence. A particularly noteworthy feature is the master´s acknowledged skill at capturing the sitter´s spirit with psychological depth, as if to achieve a sense of trueness to life through the care taken over the almost tactile appreciation of the intrinsic qualities of the matter defining each of the details that make up this severe image of the embodiment of political power in the 16th century, in a natural and unostentatious manner (Text drawn from Luna, J. J.: From Titian to Goya. Great Masters of the Museo del Prado, National Art Museum of China-Shanghai Museum, 2007, pp. 367-368).


Technical data

Inventory number
Mor, Anthonis
Emperor Maximilian II
Height: 184 cm; Width: 100 cm
Royal Collection (New Royal Palace, Madrid, "tercera pieza de la Furriera", 1747, no. 185; Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1794, no. 876).

Bibliography +

Hymans, Henri, Antonio Moro, Son Oeuvre et Son Temps, G.Van Oest et Cie, Bruselas, 1910, pp. 63.

Marlier, Georges, Antonio Moro, Bruselas, 1934, pp. 95.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Friedländer, Max J., Early netherlandish painting, A.W.Sijthoff, Leyden, 1975, pp. 64, 101 lám.173 n.348.

Menéndez Pidal, Ramón, Historia de España. Vol. XXIV. La España de Felipe III, XXIV, EspasaCalpe, Madrid, 1983, pp. 8.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 438-439.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Campbell, Lorne, Renaissance Portraits. European Portrait Painting in the 14t, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990, pp. 241.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Felipe II: mecenas de las artes, Nerea, Madrid, 1992, pp. 104.

La monarquía hispánica: Felipe II, un monarca y su época, Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V, Madrid, 1998, pp. 481.

Brown, Jonathan, Painting in Spain 1500-1700, Yale University Press, Yale, 1998, pp. 49/ lám.66.

Carolus. Charles Quint 1500-1558., Snoeck: Ducaju & Zoom, Viena, 1999.

Seipel, Wilfried, Kaiser Karl V (1500-1558) Macht Und Ohnmacht Europas, Skira: Kunsthistoriches Museum, Viena, 2000, pp. 364.

Silva Maroto, Pilar, Pintura flamenca de los siglos XV y XVI: guía, Museo del Prado, Aldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 268.

Seipel, Wilfried, Kaiser Ferdinand I. 1503-1564: Das Werden Der Habsburgermonarchie, Kunsthistor Museum, Viena, 2003, pp. 454.

Kusche, Maria, Retratos y retratadores: Alonso Sanchez Coello y sus competidores, Fundación de Apoyo a la Historia del Arte Hispánico, Madrid, 2003, pp. 38 /22 81.

Woodall, Joanna, Anthonis Mor: art and authority, Waanders, Zwolle, 2007, pp. 203/ lám.68.

De Tiziano a Goya: grandes maestros del Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado: SEACEX, Madrid, 2007, pp. 247.

Le botteghe di Tiziano, Alinari 24 ORE, 2009, pp. 359,360,361.

Zalama, Miguel Angel, Juana I: arte, poder y cultura en torno a una reina que no gobernó, Centro de Estudios Europa Hispanica, Madrid, 2010, pp. 316.

Bodart, Diane H, 'Quizá mejor de Tiziano: Antonio Moro retratista' En: Maestros en la sombra, Fundación Amigos Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 131-162 [149].

Grabski, Jósef, The contribution of collaborators in Titian's late works, Artibus et historiae, XXXIV, 2013, pp. 285-310 [295].

Martínez Leiva, Gloria; Rodríguez Rebollo, Ángel, El inventario del Alcázar de Madrid de 1666. Felipe IV y su colección artística, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, 2015, pp. 362 nº 350.

Moro, Franco, Caravaggio sconosciuto: le origini del Merisi, eccellente disegnatore, maestro di ritratti e di cose naturali, Umberto Allemandi, 2016, pp. 116 f.127 l.100-101.

Kubíková, Blanka, Portrét v renesan, Národní Galerie, 2016, pp. 119 n.46.

Pérez de Tudela, A, Varia. Nuevas noticias sobre el primer viaje de Antonio Moro a la Península Ibérica y su entreda al servicio de Felipe II, Archivo español de arte, LXXXIX Octubre - Diciembre, 2016, pp. 423-429 [425].

Arcimboldo: Las Floras y la Primavera, Banca March: Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao,, Bilbao, 2017, pp. 80 n.2.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1487.
Retrato del Emperador Maximiliano II, joven: en pié, vestido de blanco, con el brazo izquierdo sobre una mesa, en la cual tiene el yelmo. -Figura de cuerpo enteroy tamaño natural.- Compañero del anterior. / Col. de Felipe II, R. Alc. de Madrid.-F.L. / Alto 1,84; ancho 1.-L.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1803.
Moro. 1803. Retrato en pie del emperador Maximiliano 2º joven. Esta vestido de blanco, con calzas y cuera adobada, con la mano izquierda sobre una mesa, y en esta el almete. alto 6 pies, 7 pulg; ancho 3 pies, 7 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1803.

Inv. Felipe V, Palacio Nuevo, 1747. Núm. 185.
PINTURAS EXISTENTES ANTIGUAS [...] En la tercera pieza [...] {10403} 185 / Otro [retrato] de vn infante de dos varas y quarta de alto y vara y quarta de ancho original de Antonio Moro = 3000 rs

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 2111.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 2111.

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 876.
Otra [pintura] de Juan Pantoja, retrato de cuerpo entº. de un personage, de dos varas y quarta de alto y vara y quarta de ancho...200

Inscriptions +

Antonius Mor pinxit 1550
Signed and dated. Front, upper left corner

Inscribed in red color. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Giuseppe Arcimboldo
07.11.2017 - 05.02.2018

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
13.09.2007 - 12.11.2007

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
29.06.2007 - 24.08.2007

Kaiser Ferdinand I - Fernando I
14.04.2003 - 31.08.2003

Carolus - Bonn y Viena
15.06.2000 - 17.09.2000

Felipe II. La monarquía hispánica
San Lorenzo de El Escorial
30.05.1998 - 31.10.1998

Location +

Room 056 (On Display)


Displayed objects +

Helmet: Sobre la mesa cubierta de terciopelo verde, yelmo de acero repujado y dorado con empenachado rojo.


Golden Fleece: Toisón de Oro

Jewels: LLeva al cuello el Toisón de Oro.

Clothing / Dress: Viste un rico traje blanco veteado de oro, calzas blancas y gorra negra con pluma.

Update date: 28-05-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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