Museums: Noble Remnants

As a Habsburg emperor, Rudolf II was exceptionally inept. During his rule, from 1576 to 1612, he was forced to cede Hungary, Moravia, Austria and Bohemia. Yet he had vision of sorts. He was an amateur astronomer, brought Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe to the Hradčany, his imperial castle in Prague, to perfect his stargazing. Rudolf's keen eye carried over into the arts, which he collected with all the magpiety of a Renaissance nobleman worshiping beauty. It was one of the world's greatest collections, but Rudolf could not hold on to it either.

During the Thirty Years' War, the Hradčany...

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