Emperor Karl VI. Painting by J. G. Auerbach (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).
Karl VI, b. Vienna, Oct. 1, 1685, d. Vienna, Oct. 20, 1740, from 1703 King of Spain (Karl III), 1711-1740 Holy Roman Emperor, son of the Emperor Leopold I and brother of Emperor Joseph I, was designated to become heir of the Spanish Habsburgs by the "Pactum mutuae successionis" in 1703, attempted to impose his rule in Catalonia with the help of England. After the death of his brother Joseph I, K. became emperor and inherited the Austrian territories. He had to renounce Spain (Spanish Succession, War of the), but he always felt attached to this country and introduced Spanish court etiquette in Vienna. Under his reign the Austrian monarchy became a great power and attained its largest size (Naples, Sardinia/Sicily, Milan, Austrian Netherlands, North Serbia, parts of Romania), but in 1736 and 1739 important territories were lost again. K. promulgated the Pragmatic Sanction , which created the legal requirements for a unitary realm. Personally he insisted on his status and was a passionate hunter. During the last decades of his life he was also an important sponsor of stately buildings (St. Charles's Church). K. was the last of the "Musikkaiser", but none of his compositions are extant. Under his reign the "Hofmusikkapelle" (court orchestra) reached its zenith ( Great Power of the Baroque Age).
Literature: O. Redlich, Das Werden einer Großmacht, 41962; F. Matsche, Die Kunst im Dienste der Staatsidee K., 2 vols., 1981; B. Rill, K., 1992; A. Unzeitig, Die Italiener am Wr. Hof zur Zeit K., master's thesis, Vienna 1994.
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