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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Mathilda of Germany

b. 1418/19, Heidelberg, Germany; d. 1482, Rottenburg, Germany

The correct spelling of this name is MECHTHILD or MATHILDE.

Mechthild, countess of the Palatinate (in southwestern Germany) and archduchess of Austria, was one of the great patrons of the German humanist movement. She commissioned the translation of classical Latin texts and the literary and philosophical works of Italian Renaissance authors such as Petrarch, Bruni, and Boccaccio. The daughter of Ludwig III, count of the Palatinate, and Mathilde of Savoy, Mechthild was raised at the enlightened court of Heidelberg. She was married to Ludwig III, count of Württemberg, from 1436 to 1450, when he died of the plague. In 1452, she married Albrecht VI, duke of Austria, but remained at her own court in Rottenburg, where she continued to support secular and ecclesiastical projects. She no doubt influenced the decision of her husband to found a university at Freiburg in 1457, and supported her son Eberhard’s establishment of the University of Tübingen in 1477.