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Description

Striking image of Emperor Charles IV, published in Nuremberg by Johann Baptiste Homann.

Portrait of Charles VI (1685 -1740), in a long curled wig, wearing armour, a mantle fastened with a jewelled strap, and a sash, his right hand extended with a baton.

In the background is drapery printed with portraits of emperors and other figures, titled, within ovals.

In the lower right corner, a child looks up, wearing a helmet and cape, holding onto a globe which depicts 'Africa', 'America' and 'Europa', with the latin phrase 'Constantia et fortitudine', meaning, 'through perseverance and bravery', below.

A crown sits on a plinth with the crest of Charles VI underneath, to the left.

Charles VI

Charles VI (1685 - 1740.) succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia (as Charles II), King of Hungary and Croatia (as Charles III), and King of Serbia, Archduke of Austria, etc., in 1711. He unsuccessfully claimed the throne of Spain as Charles III, following the death of its ruler, and Charles's relative, Charles II of Spain, in 1700. He married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, by whom he had his two children: Maria Theresa, born 1717, the last Habsburg sovereign, and Maria Anna, born 1718, Governess of the Austrian Netherlands.

Four years before the birth of Maria Theresa, faced with his lack of male heirs, Charles provided for a male-line succession failure with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. The Emperor favored his own daughters over those of his elder brother and predecessor, Joseph I, in the succession, ignoring the decree he had signed during the reign of his father, Leopold I. Charles sought the other European powers' approval. They exacted harsh terms: Britain demanded that Austria abolish its overseas trading company. In total, Great Britain, France, Saxony-Poland, the Dutch Republic, Spain, Venice, States of the Church, Prussia, Russia, Denmark, Savoy-Sardinia, Bavaria, and the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire, recognized the sanction. France, Spain, Saxony-Poland, Bavaria and Prussia later reneged.

Charles died in 1740, sparking the War of the Austrian Succession, which plagued his successor, Maria Theresa, for eight years.

Johann Baptist Homann Biography

Johann Baptist Homann (1663-1724) was a mapmaker who founded the famous Homann Heirs publishing company. He lived his entire life in Bavaria, particularly in Nuremberg. Initially, Johann trained to become a priest before converting to Protestantism and working as a notary.

In 1702, Johann founded a publishing house that specialized in engravings. The firm flourished, becoming the leading map publisher in Germany and an important entity in the European map market. In 1715, Johann was named Imperial Geographer to the Holy Roman Empire by Charles VI and made a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Most importantly for his business, his reputation and contacts gained him imperial printing privileges which protected his publications and recommended him to customers. Johann is best known for this Grosser Atlas ueber die ganze Welt, or the Grand Atlas of the World, published in 1716.

After Johann died in 1724, the business passed to his son, Christoph (1703-1730). Upon Christoph’s early death, the company passed to subsequent heirs, with the name of the company changing to Homann Erben, or Homann Heirs. The firm continued in business until 1848.