Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine

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 of Neuburg (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.

Johann Wilhelm II
Jan Frans van Douven 003
Johann Wilhelm II, Elector Palatine
Elector Palatine
Reign2 September 1690 – 8 June 1716
PredecessorPhilip William
SuccessorCharles III Philip
Born19 April 1658
Died8 June 1716 (aged 58)
SpouseMaria Anna Josepha of Austria
Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici
HouseHouse of Wittelsbach
FatherPhilip William, Elector Palatine
MotherElisabeth Amalia of Hesse-Darmstadt


He was the son of Count Palatine Philip William of 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.

Anton Schoonjans - Kurfürst Johann Wilhelm zu Pferde - 2543 - Bavarian State Painting Collections
Equestrian portrait of Johann Wilhelm by Anthoni Schoonjans, 1702

He married Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria in 1678. 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, Count Palatine of Neuburg, his sisters were married to Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, Peter II of Portugal and Charles II of Spain.

His father ceded the duchies of Jülich and Berg to him in 1679, before he also succeeded him as Elector Palatine 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.

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.

Jan Frans van Douven, Doppelbildnis Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz und Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici (1708)
Double portrait of Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz and Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici

Art collections

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, Anthoni Schoonjans, Rachel Ruysch, Godfried Schalcken and Jan Weenix with his daughter Maria Weenix.[1][2] 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 be visited in Florence today.

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



  1. ^ (German) court painters Archived 2014-01-07 at the Wayback Machine who worked for Johan Wilhelm, according to the Dusseldorf museum website
  2. ^ Anthon Schoonjans at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (in Dutch)

External links

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
Succeeded by
Charles III Philip
Count Palatine of Neuburg
Elector Palatine

1711 Imperial election

The imperial election of 1711 was an imperial election held to select the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It took place on October 12.

Adriana Spilberg

Adriana Spilberg (1652, Amsterdam – 1700, Düsseldorf), was a Dutch Golden Age painter active at the court of Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine.

Agatha van der Mijn

Agatha van der Mijn (13 May 1700 – 1776/1796), was an 18th-century flower painter from the Northern Netherlands active in London.

Anthoni Schoonjans

Anthoni Schoonjans, nicknamed Parhasius (1655 – 13 August 1726) was a Flemish painter known for his portraits as well as his history paintings. After training in Antwerp he had an international career, which saw him work in various countries in Europe including France, Italy, Germany, Austria, The Dutch Republic and Denmark. He was a court painter in Vienna, Copenhagen, Berlin and Düsseldorf.

Coenraet Roepel

Coenraet Roepel (1678, The Hague – 1748, The Hague), was an 18th-century fruit and flower still life painter from the Northern Netherlands.

Cornelia van der Mijn

Cornelia van der Mijn (1709, Amsterdam – 1782, London), was an 18th-century flower painter from the Northern Netherlands active in London in the 1760s.

Frans van der Mijn

Frans van der Mijn (1719, Dusseldorp – 1783, London), was an 18th-century painter from the Northern Netherlands.

Herman van der Mijn

Herman van der Mijn, or Heroman van der Myn (1684 in Amsterdam – 1741 in London), was an 18th-century painter from the Northern Netherlands.

According to Houbraken he introduced Jan van Nickelen to Jan Frans van Douven.According to the RKD he learned to paint flowers from Ernst Stuven, and became a master of the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1712, and the following year court painter to Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine. He took the family of Jan van Nickelen in tow to Dusseldorp, where they painted at court, and Van der Mijn taught Van Nickelen's daughter Jacoba Maria van Nickelen to paint flowers. She met the painters Rachel Ruysch and Willem Troost (whom Jacoba married) there.

Van der Mijn returned to the Netherlands in 1717, but left on a trip via Brussels and Paris to London, where he stayed except in 1737, when he took a trip to Leeuwarden. His sister Agatha was also a flower painter who accompanied him to England, and his children all became painters: George, Robert, Cornelia, Frans, Gerard and Andreas van der Mijn. Other pupils (besides Jacoba Maria) were James Latham and Herman Frederik van Hengel.

Jacoba Maria van Nickelen

Jacoba Maria van Nickelen (1690, Haarlem – 1749, Amsterdam), was an 18th-century flower painter from the Northern Netherlands.

Jan van Nickelen

Jan van Nickelen (1655, Haarlem – 1721, Kassel), was a Dutch Golden Age painter.

Johannes Schenck

Johannes Schenck (or Schenk, 3 June 1660–after 1712) was a Dutch musician and composer.

Schenck was born in Amsterdam and baptized in a Catholic hidden church. He became a renowned virtuoso viola da gamba player.

His compositions included music for a Dutch Singspiel, Bacchus, Ceres en Venus, which can claim to be the first opera in Dutch, and from which songs were published in 1687, as well as works for the viola da gamba. Around 1696 he accepted an appointment to the court of Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine in Düsseldorf. After Johann Wilhelm's death in 1716, the electoral court moved to Mannheim.

There is some uncertainty about the date of Schenck's death as there is no mention found in the Düsseldorf Protestant church records or parish and cemetery records in Amsterdam. His last known published work appeared in 1712. He is no longer mentioned in the list of court musicians compiled in 1717.

Johannes Spilberg

Johannes Spilberg (30 April 1619 – 10 August 1690) was a German Baroque painter, active in Amsterdam during the period known as the Dutch Golden Age.

Maria Weenix

Maria Weenix (1697–1774), was an 18th-century painter from the Northern Netherlands.

Nicolaas Hartsoeker

Nicolaas Hartsoeker (26 March 1656, Gouda – 10 December 1725, Utrecht) was a Dutch mathematician and physicist who invented the screw-barrel simple microscope circa 1694.

Oldtimer Festival

The Oldtimer Festival (German pseudo-anglicism: vintage car festival) is a motor-sport event held by the DAMC 05 since 1983 on the Nürburgring, Germany. The official name of the event is Internationales Oldtimer Festival um den "Jan-Wellem-Pokal" auf dem Nürburgring, known colloquially as the "Jan Wellem".

Smetius Collection

The Smetius Collection was a 17th-century collection of Roman provincial antiquities around the Dutch city of Nijmegen. Put together by Johannes Smetius (1591–1651) and his son Johannes Smetius junior (1636–1704), both clergy at Nijmegen, the collection was instrumental in settling the debate about the exact location of the Batavians.

Still life with flowers on a marble slab

Still life with flowers on a marble slab is a 1716 floral painting by Rachel Ruysch. It is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

The Great Last Judgement (Rubens)

The Great Last Judgement is an oil on canvas altarpiece, painted by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens between 1614 and 1617. He created the composition and final touches and his is the only signature on the work, though it is believed between nine and nineteen studio assistants also worked on it. Its name distinguishes it from the same artist's The Small Last Judgement of 1619 and his The Fall of the Damned of 1620.

It was one of four altarpieces commissioned from Rubens for the Jesuit church at Neuburg an der Donau by Wolfgang William, Count Palatine of Neuburg. It later passed into the private collection of Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine and is now in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.

Willem Troost

Wilhelmus, or Willem Troost (1684, Amsterdam – 1752, Amsterdam), was an 18th-century painter from the Northern Netherlands.

Ancestors of Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine
16. Wolfgang, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken
8. Philip Louis, Count Palatine of Neuburg
17. Landgravine Anna of Hesse
4. Wolfgang Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Neuburg
18. William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
9. Anna of Cleves
19. Archduchess Maria of Austria
2. Philipp Wilhelm, Elector Palatine
20. Albert V, Duke of Bavaria
10. William V, Duke of Bavaria
21. Archduchess Anna of Austria
5. Duchess Magdalene of Bavaria
22. Francis I, Duke of Lorraine
11. Duchess Renata of Lorraine
23. Princess Christina of Denmark and Norway
1. Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine
24. George I, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt
12. Louis V, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt
25. Countess Magdalene of Lippe
6. George II, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt
26. John George, Elector of Brandenburg
13. Margravine Magdalena of Brandenburg
27. Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt-Zerbst
3. Landgravine Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
28. Christian I, Elector of Saxony
14. John George I, Elector of Saxony
29. Margravine Sophie of Brandenburg
7. Princess Sophia Eleonore of Saxony
30. Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia
15. Duchess Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia
31. Duchess Marie Eleonore of Cleves


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