Saturday, October 3, 2015

Biography - Bianca Maria Sforza 1472–1510 married at 2, widow at 10, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire at 22



Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by Bernard Stigel

In many of the paintings we have been reviewing in this blog, the image of Bianca Maria Sforza is used, both portrayed as herself & as a model for other women.  Bianca (1472–1510) became Holy Roman Empress as the 2nd wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. She was the eldest legitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan.  It was not a gentle period.  When Bianca was not yet 5 years old, her father was assassinated inside the Church of Santo Stefano in Milan in 1476, which was the Feast Day of St. Stephen. He was stabbed to death by 3 high-ranking officials of the Milanese court.


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by Ambrogio de Predis.

But this did not alter Bianca's life, even at the age of 5.  In January 1474, when Bianca was not quite 2 years old, she had been married to her 1st cousin Philibert I, Duke of Savoy.  Duke Philibert died in the spring of 1482, leaving Bianca a widow at the age of 10! She was  returned to Milan, in the care of her uncle. She was not given much of an education, but she was allowed to indulge in her favorite needlework.


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor as Saint Mary by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio

Twelve years later, when she was 22, in 1494, she remarried the King of the Romans, Maximilian I, who had been a widower since the tragic horse-fall death of his beloved 1st wife Mary of Burgundy in 1482. Bianca's 2nd marriage was arranged by her uncle, who wanted the title of Duke confirmed by the Emperor; & in exchange, the Emperor received a large dowry of 400,000 ducats along with Bianca. Maximilian got more than money from his arranged marriage, because through his marriage to Bianca, Maximilian was able to assert his right to the Imperial overlordship of Milan.


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor as Saint Lucia by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio

Maximilian & Bianca's marriage was unhappy. Maximilian said that she may be as beautiful as his first spouse but not as wise. He considered Bianca to be uneducated, overly talkative, naive, a spendthrift, & careless. Several times he left her behind as security, when he could not pay for his rooms on trips. Despite Bianca's several pregnancies, none produced a living child. She very much liked his children; but she was criticized for ignoring the dignity of her position, when she sat on the floor with them to play.


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor with her husband, the Emperor Maximilian I + his family by Bernhard Strigel

After 1500, Maximilian lost all interest in her. She lived with her own court of Milanese people in various castles in the Tirol.  Maximilian took the title of Holy Roman Emperor Elect in 1508. Bianca was, by marriage, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. Bianca Maria Sforza died at Innsbruck in 1510.


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by Ambrogio de Predis


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by Bernard Stigel


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by Leonardo da Vinci.


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor portrayed as the Virgin Mary in the Adoration of the Magi, 1487 by Domenico Ghirlandaio


Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) was Holy Roman Empress as the second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor


No comments:

Post a Comment