Formative influences

The young Archduke Maximilian spent his childhood at the royal court in Wiener Neustadt, where he received a comprehensive but strict education. When he was still a child, the imperial family and Maximilian were besieged at the Imperial Palace Vienna for months as a result of power struggles.  Also, the untimely death of his mother, Eleanor of Portugal, was a severe stroke of fate for him: not only did she die young, but he had loved her dearly, having received from her the compassion and warmth his strict father Frederick III lacked. Burgundy, where young Maximilian lived with his first wife, Maria, was to leave a deep impression on him, too: On the one hand, this was the happiest chapter in his life, on the other one, it also was where he learned what it was like to live in one of the most economically, culturally, and intellectually advanced courts in Europe.


The textbook was used by Emperor Maximilian I to learn his ABCs. It was composed by Wolfgang Spitzweg and illustrated by the miniaturist of that time, who is popularly referred to as so-called “Lehrbuchmeister”. It shows the young archduke together with his teacher Jakob von Fladnit. The “Pater Noster” is framed with colourful acanthus leaves and an ABC bar.

Kaiser Maximilian I. Prunklehrbuch

Textbook (Prunklehrbuch) Emperor Maximilian I (Austrian National Library)