L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Tuscany, by Joseph Dorffmeister, 1797

Ferdinand III (Peter Leopold Josef Anton Joachim Pius Gotthard; 6 May 1769, Florence - 18 June 1824, Florence), Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1790 to 1801 and, after a period of disenfranchisement, again from 1814 to 1824. He was also the Prince-Elector and Grand Duke of Salzburg (1803-1806) and Grand Duke of Würzburg (1806-1814).

He was a grandson of Empress Maria Theresia of Austria, as he was the second son of Archduke Leopold, then Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his wife Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain. When his father was elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Ferdinand succeeded him as Grand Duke of Tuscany. In 1792, during the French Revolution - even though his aunt, Marie Antoinette, was the imprisoned queen of France - Ferdinand became the first monarch to formally recognize the new French First Republic. While other countries became embroiled in conflict with Republican France, his normalization of relations with that country helped stabilize his rule for several years. But by 1799 he was compelled to flee to Vienna for protection when French-spurred republicanism spreading through Italy caused an overthrow of the government in Florence. He was then forced to renounce his throne two years later as Napoléon continued his restructuring of Europe. Ferdinand was compensated by being given the Dukedom and Electorate of Salzburg. He was also made a Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. Temporarily. Ferdinand was then made Grand Duke of Würzburg, a new state created for him. In 1814, after Napoleon's fall, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was restored to him. He lived ten more years and was succeeded by his son.

In 1790 Ferdinand married his double first cousin, the Princess (later Grand Duchess) Luisa of Naples and Sicily (27 July 1773, Naples - 19 September 1802, Vienna), daughter of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Marie Caroline of Austria. (She was one of eighteen children, seven of whom survived to adulthood.) They had five children together, the first two dying very young. The Grand Duchess herself died while giving birth to her sixth child, a stillborn son; she was only twenty-nine. Nineteen years later, her husband remarried. His new, much younger bride - a first cousin once removed to both Ferdinand and his late wife - was Princess Maria Ferdinanda of Saxony. There were no children born of this marriage.


Joseph Dorffmeister (or Dorfmeister; 16 March 1764 - 1814), Austro-Hungarian painter. Older son of artist Stephen Dorfmeister, he studied at the Vienna Academy.

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