Rudolf II was born in 1552 .He was a son of Maximilian II. and his cousin Mary of Spain. Maximilian prepared the ground for the young prince not only in his approach and tolerance to politics but also in his respect for learning and love of art.Rudolf had been born of loveless dynastic marriage.
Both his father´s sympaties for protestantism and his mother´s bigoted Roman catholicism influenced his upbringing.His mother conviced Maximilian to entrust the education the young pretender to imperial throne to the Spanish court.The 11-year old prince Rudolf,together with his younger brother Ernest thus left Vienna to enjoy the benefits of a humanistic educatin, alternating with dancing,hunting and tournaments.
When,in 1575,the Bohemian Estates approved the election of the young Archduke Rudolf as king of Bohemian lands,they asked Maximilian II for assurance that his son and succesor would learn Czech and remain in Prague.The archbishop of Prague placed the crown of St Wenceslas on Rudolf´s head,but Maximilian still reigned.His sudden death in October 1576 made Rudolf´s decision an urgent one.Immeadiately ,after his accesion to throne,he visited the countries he ruled.An act of 1583 established Prague Castle as a imperial seat. At the end of 16the century ,Prague was the largest city in central Europe.During Rudolf II.´s reign Prague became an important centre of Europe´s intellectual and artistic life.Rudolf II rose to fame as an art collector .Most interesting part of his collection were the works of his court artists.The most famous of them were Giuseppe Arcimboldo,whose paintings of the Four Seasons and the elements are famous in all the world,Bartholomeus Spranger ,a master of mythological and allegorical images,and Hans von Aachen,the emperor´s confident ,a master of portraits.Other artists work in Prague too- Jan Vermeyen,Andreas Osenbruck, Ottavio Miseroni, Caspar Lehman ,astrologicals Erasmus Habermel and Jost Borgi,alchymists Edward Kelley and John Dee.
Here lived two worldfamous astronomers:Tycho de Brahe and Johannes Kepler, who formulated the fundamental laws of the solar system and of trajectory of the planets.His reign wasn´t succesful and he abdicated to Czech crown. Rudolf II dead in 1612.After his death has finished Prague´s era as a seat of king city.His reign was one of the most significant eras in Bohemian history.