Albert V, Duke of Bavaria

Albert V, Duke of Bavaria (German: Albrecht V., Herzog von Bayern), (29 February 152824 October 1579), was Duke of Bavaria from 1550 until his death.

Political activity

Albert was educated at Ingolstadt under good Catholic teachers. In 1547 he married Anna von Habsburg, a daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary (1503–1547), daughter of King Ladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary and his wife Anne de Foix, the union was designed to end the political rivalry between Austria and Bavaria.

Albert was now free to devote himself to the task of establishing Catholic conformity in his dominions. A strict Catholic by upbringing, Albert was a leader of the German Counter-Reformation. Incapable by nature of passionate adherence to any religious principle, and given rather to a life of idleness and pleasure, he pursued the work of repression because he was convinced that the cause of Catholicism was inseparably connected with the fortunes of the house of Wittelsbach. He took little direct share in the affairs of government, nevertheless, and easily lent himself to the plans of his advisers, among whom during the early part of his reign were two sincere Catholics, Georg Stockhammer and Wiguleus Hundt. The latter took an important part in the events leading up to the treaty of Passau (1552) and the peace of Augsburg (1555).

Duke Albert made strenuous efforts to procure for his son, Ernest of Bavaria, election as Archbishop-elector of Cologne. These efforts would not pay off until after Albert's death; however, a member of the Wittelsbach house of Bavaria would be Archbishop of Cologne for almost two centuries thereafter.

Cultural activity

Albert was a patron of the arts and a collector whose personal accumulations are the basis of the Wittelsbach antique collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, the coin collection and the Wittelsbach treasury in the Munich Residenz; some of his Egyptian antiquities remain in the collection of Egyptian art. His personal library has come to the Bavarian State Library in Munich, inheritor of the Wittelsbach court library. Like an American millionaire of the Gilded Age, he bought whole collections in Rome and Venice; in Venice, after tiresome drawn-out negotiations with the aged Andrea Loredan, he purchased the Loredan collection virtually in its entirety: 120 bronzes, 2480 medals and coins, 91 marble heads, 43 marble statues, 33 reliefs and 14 various curiosities, for the sum of 7000 ducats; "they were all exported from Venice secretly at night in large chests". At the same time, squabbles among the heirs of Gabriele Vendramin thwarted him in his attempt to purchase the single most important collection in Venice and paintings and antiquities, drawings by the masters and ancient coins. To house his antiquities he commissioned the Antiquarium in the Munich Residenz, the largest Renaissance hall north of the Alps.

He appointed Orlando di Lasso to a court post and patronized many other artists; this led to a huge burden of debts (½ Mio. Fl.).

Family and children

With Anna of Habsburg he had seven children:

  1. Charles, born and died in 1547
  2. William V, Duke of Bavaria (29 September 154817 February 1626)
  3. Ferdinand (20 January 155030 January 1608)
  4. Maria Anna (21 March 155129 April 1608)
  5. Maximiliana Maria (4 July 155211 July 1614)
  6. Friedrich (26 July 155318 April 1554)
  7. Ernest of Bavaria (17 December 155417 February 1612), Archbishop and prince-elector of Cologne 1583-1612

Albert is buried in the Frauenkirche in Munich.


External links

Hofkleiderbuch (Abbildung und Beschreibung der Hof-Livreen) des Herzogs Wilhelm IV. und Albrecht V. 1508-1551. (Court and Coat of Arms Book of Bavarian Dukes: William IV and Albert V) at the Bavarian State Library


Albert's ancestors in three generations
Albert V, Duke of Bavaria Father:
William IV, Duke of Bavaria
Paternal Grandfather:
Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Albert III, Duke of Bavaria
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Anna of Brunswick-Grubenhagen-Einbeck
Paternal Grandmother:
Kunigunde of Austria
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Eleanor of Portugal, Holy Roman Empress
Marie of Baden-Sponheim
Maternal Grandfather:
Philipp I, Margrave of Baden-Sponheim
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Christopher I, Margrave of Baden-Baden
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Ottilie von Katzenelnbogen
Maternal Grandmother:
Elizabeth of the Palatinate
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Philip, Elector Palatine
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Margarete of Bavaria-Landshut


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