Portrait of Ludwig I of Bavaria by Joseph Karl Stieler

Previously an electorate, Bavaria had only become a kingdom with the Peace of Pressburg in 1806, so all the regalia were still quite new when Ludwig became King in 1825. They were also very Napoleonic, note the wreath-shaped back of the throne and the L in analog to Napoleon’s N. The crown had been made by Martin-Guillaume Biennais, it was never worn, just displayed during the enthronement ceremony. It had a huge blue diamond that was sold in 2008 for £16.4 million Sterling to Laurence Graff, who recut it.

Ludwig, who does not look very regal on this portrait, was a great lover of the arts, women, and Greece. His second son Otto was elected monarch of the newly sovereign Greek state in 1832. He changed the spelling of his realm from Baiern to Bayern because it looked more Greek. He had no less than three museums built in Munich for his huge art collection. In the revolution year 1848, he abdicated in favor of his son Maximilian, since he did not want to rule under a constitution.

Joseph Karl Stieler had been appointed court painter in 1820 by Ludwig’s father, Maximilian I Joseph. For Ludwig, he painted portraits of the royal family, beautiful women, and poets.

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