Christina [Christina Alexandra], Queen of Sweden
- John Bergsagel
(b Stockholm, Dec 8, 1626; d Rome, April 19, 1689). Swedish ruler and patron of music, active partly in Italy. She was one of the principal 17th-century patrons of arts and learning and for 30 years the leading figure in the cultural life of Rome.
Christina succeeded at the age of six to the throne of her father, Gustavus II Adolphus, hero of the Thirty Years War, who was killed at the Battle of Lützen in 1632. In accordance with his wishes she was given the education of a prince during the chancellorship of Axel Oxenstierna, and by 1644 she had achieved a reputation for intelligence, learning and culture. After the alliance with France in 1635, French culture began to assert itself at the Swedish court, and in 1637 she brought from France the dancing-master Antoine de Beaulieu. In 1646, to provide authentic music for the French ballets that quickly became the rage in Stockholm, she imported six French violinists, among them Pierre Verdier, who at first were established as a separate ensemble independent of the so-called German chapel of Andreas Düben. Other French musicians were brought in, and in ...