Christina of Sweden  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Christina (Swedish: Kristina Augusta; 18 December [O.S. 8 December] 1626 – 19 April 1689), later known as Christina Alexandra[1] and sometimes Countess Dohna, was Queen regnant of Sweden from 1632 to 1654. She was the only surviving legitimate child of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden and his wife Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. As the heiress presumptive, at the age of six she succeeded her father on the throne of Sweden upon his death at the Battle of Lützen in the Thirty Years' War.

After converting to Catholicism and abdicating her throne, she spent her latter years in France and Rome, where she was buried in St. Peter's Basilica.

Burial

Christina had asked for a simple burial, but the pope insisted on her being displayed on a lit de parade for four days in the Riario Palace. She was embalmed, covered with white brocade, a silver mask, a gilt crown and scepter. Her body was placed in three coffins - one from cypress, one from lead and finally one made from oak. The funeral procession led from Santa Maria in Valicella to St. Peter's Basilica, where she was buried within the papal grottoes - only one of three women ever given this honour. Her intestines were placed in a high urn.

In 1702 Clement XI commissioned a monument for the queen, in whose conversion he vainly foresaw a return of her country to the Faith and to whose contribution towards the culture of the city he looked back with gratitude. This monument was placed in the body of the basilica and directed by the artist Carlo Fontana. Christina was portrayed on a gilt and bronze medallion, supported by a crowned skull. Three reliefs below represented her relinquishment of the Swedish throne and abjugation of Protestantism at Innsbruck, the scorn of the nobility, and faith triumphing over heresy. It is an unromantic likeness, for she is given a double chin and a prominent nose with flaring nostrils.

Christina had named Azzolino her sole heir to make sure her debts were settled, but he was too ill and worn out even to join her funeral, and died in June the same year. His nephew, Pompeo Azzolino, was his sole heir, and he rapidly sold off Christina's art collections. Venus mourns Adonis by Paolo Veronese, for example, which was war booty from Prague, was sold by Azzolino's nephew and eventually ended up in Stockholm's National Museum. Her large and important library, originally amassed as war booty by her father Gustav Adolf from throughout his European campaign, was bought by Alexander VIII for the Vatican library, while most of the paintings ended up in France, as the core of the Orleans Collection - many remain together in the National Gallery of Scotland. Her collection amounted to approximately 300 paintings. Titian's Venus Anadyomene was among them. At first, removing them from Sweden was seen as a great loss to the country; but in 1697 Stockholm castle burned down, where they would have been destroyed.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Christina of Sweden" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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