The Three Sons of Duke Johann Friedrich II of Saxony, 1567
Veste Coburg, Inv.Nr. M.034
Photo by Marion McNealy
This was painted after Johann Friedrich was no longer Duke of Saxony, having been put under imperial ban, imprisoned, and had his lands and possessions confiscated in 1566. His three sons seen here, with their approximate ages: Frederick Henry, age 4; John Casimir, age 3; and John Ernst, age 1 or less. This was either painted when they were at Eisenach, or in Weimar with their uncle, the new Duke of Saxony. His wife, Countess Elisabeth of the Palatinate, is seen in the background with two small dogs. After her husband’s imprisonment, she fought and pleaded for his release, and for the reinstatement of her sons. She was successful in protecting her sons, and they were reinstated as Imperial Princes in 1570. After 1572, the boys spent most of their childhood at the Ehrenburg Palace in Coburg, where the painting is today.