Women, Power and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Europe

The Case of Maria Theresa

  • Elinor Anderson University of Minnesota
Keywords: Maria Theresa, art, Holy Roman Empire


In 1741 Maria Theresa became the first and only woman to ascend the throne to the Holy Roman Empire. This article discusses the challenges Maria Theresa faced as a female ruler and how she strengthened her power through the use of art as propaganda. The article traces how her image evolved over time and also examines her prolific use of her son and heir Joseph II in art.

article type

An Empress Remembered: Examining the Life and Legacy of Maria Theresa