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Wolfgang Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg

male / German
commissioner (person who orders works), art collector, prince-elector
In Düsseldorf he had the Jesuit Sankt Andreas Church built, He was the founder of the great painting collection. He appointed Johannes Spilberg (who was a member of a rich calvinistic family in the city) as court painter. He spent on a lavish scale on art, music, hunting and drinking, but seems to have neglected his court and his servants.
Neuburg an der Donau 1578-11-04
Düsseldorf (city) 1653-03-20
buried on 14 May 1653
Family relationships
this field records any family relationship to one or more other artist(s).
son of Count Palatine and Duke Philipp Ludwig (1547–1614) and his wife Anna von Jülich-Kleve-Berg (1552–1632). He married Magdalene of Bavaria, still as a Lutheran In later years it seems that the marriage was not very harmonious. His second wife Katharina was sickly and suffered from headaches, rheumatism and probably melancholia. His relationship with his only son Philip was stormy and very bad after the latter married Anna from Poland and Latvia against his father's wishes. Wolfgang Wilhelm himself suffered from attacks of fury and instability. According to Sophia von der Pfalz-Hannover, he had a good day and a bad day alternatively.
See also
In this field, you will find references to names of groups or to the artists that made/make up groups. You may also come across references to other artists if there was/is question of collaboration without a joint name. This is the case, for instance, with artists who rendered parts of works by other artists (such as with P.P Rubens and J. Brueghel I).
Van der Veken was an agent of Wolfgang Wilhelm.
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Biographical information
Active in
  • Neuburg an der Donau 1578 - 1653
    Neuburg was his home base, to which he returned throughout his life.
  • Regensburg 1594
    visited the Reichstag with his governor (ADB)
  • Kopenhagen 1596
    participated in the coronation of Christian IV (ADB)
  • Italië 1597
  • Neuburg an der Donau 1600-06 - 1601
    During his Grand Tour 1600-1601 he kept a diary, so we are well informed about his travels; Neuburg, Dillingen, Göppingen, Augsburg, Stuttgart, Durlach, Heidelberg, Mainz, Koblenz, Bonn, Köln, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Wesel, Kleve, Goch, Kalkar, Brüggen, Trier, Kaiserslautern, Zweibrücken, Straßburg, Rastatt, Neuburg
  • Jülich 1600-08
    The duke Johann Wilhelm of Jülich was his uncle and married to his aunt, one of his mother's three sisters (all four sisters and their ofspring were interested in the inheritance of Julich and Berg) : his trip 1600-1601 was meant to gain enough political support in Western europe so that he could inherite this dukedom, as his uncle did not have a male heir. But Vienna, The Hague, Brussels and Madrid all had their own designs on the dukedoms. This would eventually lead to the war of the Julich succession, that would take up much of Wolfgang Wilhelms energies and money.
  • Grand Est (regio)
  • Parijs
    he had to remind Henri IV that he still owed considerable money to his father
  • Londen (Engeland)
  • Oxford (Engeland)
  • Londen (Engeland)
  • Vlissingen (stad, Zeeland)
  • Leiden (stad)
  • Haarlem (stad)
  • Amsterdam (stad)
  • Den Haag (stad)
    first diplomatic attempt in the name of his father to keep the Spanish-Dutch conflict out of Jülich and Berg
  • Delft (stad)
  • Dordrecht (stad)
  • Den Bosch (plaats)
  • Breda (plaats)
  • Antwerpen (stad)
  • Brussel
    first diplomatic attempt in the name of his father to keep the Spanish-Dutch conflict out of Jülich and Berg
  • Parijs
  • Metz
  • Nancy 1601-03
  • Neuburg an der Donau 1601-04
    took over the governing of this dukedom while his father was absent
  • Regensburg 1603
    visted the Reichstag, mainly to gain favor of the Emperor
  • Wenen (stad) 1603
  • Dillingen an der Donau 1604-11-05
    He met with archduke Maximilian to further his claims on Julich.
  • Kulmbach 1604
    attended the marriage of princess Agnes of Brandenburg with Philip julius of Pommerania in castle Plassenburg in Kulmbach
  • Praag 1605-10 - 1605-11
    diplomatics with the emperor
  • Ansbach 1606
  • Heidelberg 1606
  • Darmstadt (stad) 1606
  • München 1606
  • Neuburg an der Donau 1607
    Wolfgang Wilhelm started to militairily prepare the dukedom for the treathened invasion by Maximilian of Bavaria. Neubrug was by this time completely encircled by the Catholic League of Bavaria.
  • Stuttgart (stad) 1608-03 - 1608-04
    Wolfgang Wilhelm tried to negotiate support from the other protestant powers on the Rhine.
  • Ahaus 1608-05
    meeting his father
  • Praag
  • Rothenburg ober der Tauber 1608-08
    further acrimonious negotiations with the protestant Union
  • Düsseldorf (stad) 1609-04-01
    When Johann Wilhelm died on 25 March 1609, Wolfgang Wilhelm immedeately went to Julich, just to find the Brandenburg claimant already there: he therefore made his claims from the palace in Dusseldorf.
  • Dortmund 1609-06-10
    temporary truce between the two claimants regarding Julich: both would for the moment reign together. To make things easier, a possible marriage between W.W. and Anna Sophia of Brandenburg was considered
  • Düsseldorf (stad) 1609 - 1611
    dual reign with Ernst von Brandenburg
  • Neuburg an der Donau 1611
  • München 1611-03
  • Kosztryn nad Odra 1611-07
    negotiations at Kustrin and Schoenfliess over the Brandenburg marriage with Agnes. The union failed, as the Elector of Brandenburg thaught the dowry too high
  • Rothenburg ober der Tauber 1611
    during the so-called ' Unionstage', the meeting of the protestant princes
  • Neurenberg 1611
    During the two meetings of the Electors of Germany (Rothenburg and Nuremberg) it became clear, that Brandenburg was supported by the protestants in the Julich affair and that only the Spanish-Bavarian faction was left as an opportunity for WW, for which reason he went to Munich.
  • München 1611-12
    In Munich he asked the duke's daughter Magdalena in marriage: the marriage was approved if he would consider chainging his religion.
  • Chojna 1612-02 - 1612-03
    last negotiations with Elector Johann Sigismund of Braandenburg over the Brandenburg marriage. The atmosphere became so tense, that the princes started to hit each other over the head ('Ohrfeigenstreit')
  • München 1612-04 - 1612-05
    talks with Elector Maximilian over religion and his impending conversion
  • Düsseldorf (stad)
  • Keulen (stad) 1613-05
    WW decides to change his religion
  • München 1613-07-19 - 1613-11
    WW becomes a roman catholic (in secret) and gets engaged to Magdalena of Bavaria: on 10 November the y married, with the blessing of his calvinistic father (who he told that he would bring his new wife over to the protestant side)
  • Düsseldorf (stad) 1614-01 - 1614-08
    Back in Düsseldorf the tensions with his Brandenburg co-regent accerbated, all the more since Johann Sigismund had changed his religion too (from Lutheran to Calvinist) . In the middle of this situation WW declared his conversion openly on 25 May. Brandenburg- The Neherlands now armed against Neuburg and Bavaria. WW stayed away from his father's funeral, on 22 September 1614.
  • Wesel 1614-09
    Together with Ambrogio Spinola, WW stormed and took Wesel. To avoid a new war, Holland, Brandenburg and WW (whose father had died on 22 August) struck a deal in Xanten.
  • Xanten 1614-11-12
    the Treaty of Xanten: Brandenburg gets the government over Cleves, Mark, Ravensberg and Ravestein, while WW got the government over Julich and Berg
  • Brussel 1614-12 - 1615-01
    festivities in Brussels in his honour by Albrecht and Isabella
  • Neuburg an der Donau 1615
    he has to come to terms with his mother and his two brothers. All three remained lutheran till their death. And although he brought the counter-reformation and especially the Jesuits to Neuburg and Julich, he tolerated many protestants in his lands, even in his own household
  • Madrid (stad, Spanje) 1624-10 - 1625-03
    a visit to Philip IV, who made him a 'Grande' of Spain as well as a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The story, according to which he helped Rubens during his visit to stay out of the hands of the Inquisition, is apocryphical: W.W. (1624-5) and Rubens (1628) were never together in Madrid and Rubens never had trouble with the Spanish Inquisition (Levin 1905)
  • Parijs 1625 - 1625-05-01
    He visited Louis XIII on his way back to the North; he also met with Rubens (Levin 1905).
  • Italië 1630
  • Den Haag (stad) 1630-07 - 1630-08
  • Regensburg 1630-10
    Yearly conference of Electors. WW was very angry from the beginning about the unlawful land grab of the Palatine by the Bavarian Elector. Ever since that time he had supported his disposessed relative Fredrick. He used every opportunity to further his interests, although he also tried to claim the Palatine for himsel When he learned now, that Bavaria and the emperor in Prag had already permanently settled his legitimate claims in a secret agreement in 1628, he withdrew his active support from the Imperial party. From now on he walked a tight rope, invoking the wrath of all parties: for the protestants he wasa turncoat and for the catholics he was not sincere enough. His relations with Munich became very frosty, and real stormy at times
  • Mainz 1631
    negotiations with the Swedes in a fruitlos attempt to keep the war out of his lands
  • Neuburg an der Donau 1631-11-11
    After the negotiations with Brandenburg and Munich came to nothing to broker a second marriage, he now married with Katharina Charlotte, the daughter of Johann II von Zweibruecken, a protestant princess (she held on to her relegion: her chapel became the hub of Lutheran life in Düsseldorf). Through his new wife he became a relative of Frederik Hendrik in The Hague: the beginning of a lifelong friendship
  • Neuburg an der Donau 1632-04
    Neuburg suffers a Swedish occupation. WW's mother and younger brother August die, making life somewhat easier for WW: his catholic allies were constantly on his case to pressurize him to disown his protestant relatives, while these never stopped annoying him with their demands and outspoken lutheranism
  • Maastricht (stad) 1632
    WW was with Frederik Hendrik when Maastricht surrendered.. WW never stopped trying (in vain) to make peace between the Dutch and the Spanish
  • Brussel 1633
    at the death of Isabella WW tried to get the stadtholdership, not understanding that he was totally unexceptable for Prag and Madrid.
  • Düsseldorf (stad)
    the following years WW stayed as much as possibly in his possessions on the Rhine, while the warring parties (Swedes, catholic Hessian and Cassel troups as well as the French) passed through his lands (Julich-Berg as well as Neuburg), that suffered severely from quartering and buy off's of groups of hungry soldiers. From 1636 onwards his life of constant journeying comes to an end: apart from occasional trips to Colgne, he remained in Düsseldorf. Although the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 settled the succession of Julich and Berg in his favour, war did not leave this Rine lands for another three years. A remaining problem were the roaming groups of soldiers, now out of pay, from all sides, that kept harassing Germany
  • Düsseldorf (stad) 1651-03-21
    WW becomes a widower again
  • Düsseldorf (stad) 1651-05
    marries at 73 with 18 year old Maria Franziska von Fuerstenberg-Heiligenberg. Her two (catholic) brothers were confidants of the Elector and prince-bishop in Cologne, Maximilian Heinrich von Bayern. His personal friend Leopold Wilhelm became viceroy in Brussels: these years his life seemed to ease out somewhat.
  • Düsseldorf (stad) 1653-03-20
    Wolfgang Wilhelm suffers a heart attack and dies.
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Creation date: 2017-02-18; Last modified date: 2023-05-17


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