Willem Geets (1838-1919) – Puppetry at the court of Margaret of Austria – 1892
Museum Hof van Busleyden Mechelen
MARGARET OF AUSTRIA (1480–1530), duchess of Savoy and regent of the Netherlands from 1507 to 1530, daughter of the archduke Maximilian of Austria, afterwards the emperor Maximilian I., was born at Brussels on the 10th of January 1480. At two years of age she was betrothed to the dauphin Charles, son of Louis XI. of France, and was brought up at the French court. In 1489, however, Charles, now king as Charles VIII., to prevent Maximilian taking as his second wife the duchess Anne of Brittany, threw over Margaret and married the Breton heiress himself. Her ambitious father now sought for Margaret another throne, and in April 1497 she was married at Burgos to the Infant John, heir to the throne of Castile and Aragon. She was left a widow, however, a few months later. In 1501 Margaret became the wife of Philibert II., duke of Savoy, who only survived until 1504. The sudden death of her brother the archduke, Philip the Handsome (Sept 25, 1506), opened out to her a new career. In 1507 she was appointed by her father regent of the Netherlands and guardian of her nephew Charles, afterwards the emperor Charles V. Charles came of age in 1515, but he entrusted Margaret with the regency, as the vast extent of his dominions permitted him but seldom to visit the Netherlands, and she continued to hold the post until her death in 1530. She was a wise and prudent ruler, of masculine temper and intrepidity, and very capable in affairs.
Willem Geets (Mechelen, January 20, 1838 – there, January 19, 1919) was a Belgian painter.
As a child, Willem Geets already had a clear drawing talent. He started his artistic studies at the Academy in Mechelen, later at the Academy of Antwerp. In Antwerp he received lessons from Nicaise de Keyser, one of the most important painters of Flemish Romanticism. He also received lessons from Léon Cogniet in Paris (1861-1863).
In 1869 he was appointed director of the Academy in Mechelen. This institution played a major role in the training of sculptors for the Mechelen ornamental furniture industry. He remained in office until 1891. His incomprehension for artistic newslighting at his Academy was legendary.
In 1886 he founded the Lucasgilde, an association for visual artists in Mechelen.
Willem Geets is best known for his historical paintings. For example, he made paintings about the life of Emperor Charles V, the Spanish Netherlands, the (earlier) Burgundian era, and even about Roman times. The genre he practiced was actually already over its peak when Geets ventured to it. He is also a late offshoot of Romanticism.
He also painted portraits and genre scenes. Geets designed various tapestries, including for the City Hall of Brussels.
He was also a stage lover. He was active in theater group “De Taalzucht”, for which he also wrote plays himself.