Portrait of Maximilian I

Maximilian I

In 1500 Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I was Europe’s most powerful ruler and a famous tournament competitor. His court invented new forms of jousting and he employed many of the best armourers, including members of the Seusenhofer and Helmschmid families.

Maximilian I wrote books in which he was the thinly disguised hero and presented himself as the last great chivalric knight.

In 1509, Henry VIII married Katherine of Aragon, whose sister Juana had married the Emperor Maximilian’s son, Philip. Young Henry admired Philip and Maximilian and aspired to be like them.

Maximilian I wanted Henry VIII as his ally to attack France and presented him with gifts of fine armour. When Henry’s troops captured the French city of Tournai in 1513 he celebrated victory by jousting in the market square.

Der Weisskunig (The White King)

The engraving Der Weisskunig (the white king) was produced in the 16th century as a collaboration between Leonard Beck (1480-1542), Hans Burgkmair (1473-1531), Hans Schäuffelein (1480-1540), and Hans Springinklee (1490-1540).

Though other artists are thought to have contributed, the vast majority of the engraving is by Hans Burgkmair.

This engraving shows Maximilian in the workshop of his armourer, possibly Konrad Seusenhofer.

Did you know?

Longest-range gun ever built

During the First World War, Germany built the longest-range gun ever. Its 100 kg projectile travelled 122km, and left the muzzle at 1500 metres per second reaching a height of about 40 km. This is higher, and about 6 times faster, than a transatlantic jet