|Archduchess Maria Carolina|
|Born||17 September 1748|
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
|Died||17 September 1748 (aged 0)|
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
|Father||Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor|
|Mother||Empress Maria Theresa|
Maria Carolina was the second of the children of Maria Theresa to bear the name: her elder sister with the same name had died in 1741 at the age of one year old. The second Maria Carolina also died in infancy. Particularly traumatic was the fact that she died during the birth, necessitating an emergency baptism. The baby failed to turn in the womb and so presented feet first for birth. As it became evident that the child would not survive, the surrounding women began weeping and the sacrament on the altar was hurriedly prepared for worship. It was considered of the utmost importance that the child be baptized while still living, since according to traditional Catholic belief unbaptized infants would spend eternity in limbo. Maria Theresa´s physician Gerard van Swieten assured her that the infant was still living when baptized, but many at court doubted this. The baby´s body was placed in the Summer Room in Schönbrunn Palace (like other newborn children), so that the members of the court might assure themselves that she was a normal child and not malformed, but was not formally displayed. The baby was buried in the Imperial Crypt.
Maria Theresa continued to treasure the memory of her tenth child. In 1748, she commissioned the painter Martin van Meytens to paint the three daughters who had died in infancy. Maria Carolina appears in the centre of the picture, flanked by her namesake and the eldest daughter Maria Elisabeth. After the sudden death in 1765 of Maria Theresa´s husband Francis I, she commissioned from Franz Anton Maulbertsch a mural in the "Giant Hall" of the Hofburg in Innsbruck. The mural shows her four daughters who died in childhood, crowned with floral wreathes and sitting on clouds: in the foreground is Johanna Gabriele, who died in 1762 from smallpox at the age of twelve, behind her Maria Elisabeth (the firstborn) at the age of three years, then Maria Carolina, who died shortly after her first birthday, and in the far background, only visible as a shadowy putto (cherub), the second Maria Carolina, who did not live an hour.
The name Maria Carolina who given again in 1752 to Maria Theresa´s thirteenth child. The third Maria Carolina became queen of Naples and Sicily.
|Ancestors of Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria (stillborn 1748)|
- Stollberg-Rilinger 2017, p. 120.
- Stollberg-Rilinger 2017, p. 306-310.
- Stollberg-Rilinger 2017, p. 310.
- Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 1.
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