Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine

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Johann Wilhelm II
Jan Frans van Douven 003.jpg
Johann Wilhelm II, Elector Palatine
Elector Palatine
Reign 2 September 1690 – 8 June 1716
Predecessor Philip William
Successor Charles III Philip
Spouse Maria Anna Josepha of Austria
Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici
House House of Wittelsbach
Father Philip William
Mother Elisabeth Amalia of Hesse-Darmstadt
Born 19 April 1658
Düsseldorf
Died 8 June 1716 (aged 58)
Düsseldorf
Burial St. Andreas, Düsseldorf

Johann Wilhelm II, Elector Palatine ("Jan Wellem" in Low German, English: "John William"; 19 April 1658 – 8 June 1716) of the Wittelsbach dynasty was Elector Palatine (1690–1716), Duke Palatine of Neuburg/Danube (1690–1716), Duke of Jülich and Berg (1679–1716), and Duke of Upper Palatinate and Cham (1707–1714). From 1697 onwards Johann Wilhelm was also Count of Megen.

Biography[edit]

He was the son of Philip William of Palatinate-Neuburg and Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt and was born in Düsseldorf, where he resided, rather than in Heidelberg, which had been largely destroyed by French troops during the Nine Years' War. He was educated by the Jesuits and in 1674 he made a grand tour to Italy.

He married in 1678 to Maria Anna Josepha, Archduchess of Austria. She was a daughter of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor and his third wife Eleanor of Mantua. After her death in 1689, he married Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, the daughter of Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. His brother was Franz Ludwig von Pfalz-Neuburg, his sisters were married to Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, Peter II of Portugal and Charles II of Spain.

His father ceded the duchies of Jülich and Berg to him already in 1679 before he finally succeeded him also as Elector of the Palatinate in 1690. In the Peace of Rijswijk (1697), he was restored to many of the possessions which had been taken by the French, with the provision that the Electorate of the Palatinate not revert to Protestantism. This provision did not make him popular in the Palatinate and with Protestants.

Johann Wilhelm proclaimed religious toleration in 1705 at the instigation of his mistress, Dorothea von Velen.

During the war of the Spanish succession Johann Wilhelm received also the Bavarian Upper Palatinate which was returned to Bavaria in 1714. He died in Düsseldorf and was buried in the St. Andreas Church. Having no son, Johann Wilhelm was succeeded by his brother Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine.

Double portrait of Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz and Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici

Art collections[edit]

He was more popular in Jülich-Berg, where he erected impressive buildings such as the Schloss Bensberg and led a lavish court which gave work to many artists and artisans, including the court painters Johannes Spilberg, his daughter Adriana, her later husband Eglon van der Neer, Adriaen van der Werff, Jan Frans van Douven, Herman van der Mijn, Jan van Nickelen, his daughter Jacoba Maria van Nickelen, her husband Willem Troost, Rachel Ruysch, Godfried Schalcken and Jan Weenix with his daughter Maria Weenix.[1] His enormous collection of paintings by Rubens can still be seen in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.

His widow Anna Maria Luisa was the last scion of the House of Medici. A patron of the arts, she bequeathed the Medici's large art collection, including the contents of the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and the Medicean villas, which she inherited upon her brother Gian Gastone's death in 1737, and her Palatine treasures to the Tuscan state, on the condition that no part of it could be removed from the capital Florence. Therefore these treasures are still to bee visited in Florence today.

In Düsseldorf, the Jan-Wellem Square is named after Johann Wilhelm.

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 19 April 1658 - 26 May 1685 His Serene Highness Count Palatine Johann Wilhelm of Neuburg
  • 26 May 1685 – 2 September 1690 His Serene Highness The Electoral Prince of the Palatinate
  • 2 September 1690 – 8 June 1716 His Serene Highness The Elector Palatine

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (German) court painters who worked for Johan Wilhelm, according to the Dusseldorf museum website

External links[edit]

Media related to Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine at Wikimedia Commons

Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine
Born: 1658 Died: 1716
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Philip William
Duke of Jülich and Berg
1679–1716
Succeeded by
Charles III Philip
Count Palatine of Neuburg
Elector Palatine

1690–1716