Austria Arts and Architecture

Austria Arts and Architecture During Middle Ages and Renaissance

Middle Ages

Due to its geographical position and its historical events, the territory of the Austria current has been marked by different cultural influences (Germanic, Bohemian, Italian, etc.). There are very few surviving testimonies from the early Christian period (in Carinthia, small basilicas with a single nave: Theurgy, 5th century, with a mosaic floor; Gratzerkogel, etc.). Starting from the 7th century. the architectural activity (Salzburg, cathedral consecrated in 774 and western tower of S. Pietro; Linz, S. Martino, later transformed) becomes more consistent thanks to the missions of the Iberian-Scottish monks who leave their mark also in the miniature (Codex Millenarius, late 8th century, Kremsmunster abbey) and in the goldsmith’s art (chalice and candelabra by Tassilone, 777, Kremsmunster).

In the Romanesque period Salzburg and the Tyrol were the most active centers. 12th century they are the first influences of Italian art in sculpture (cathedral and church of St. Peter in Salzburg) and in painting, while, thanks to the work of Archbishop Corrado of Salzburg (1106-1147), the forms of the Saxon Romanesque spread; the churches are extended to three naves, often of the same height; of the 12th century. it is the renovation of the cathedral of Salzburg and the foundation of that of Gurk. The cathedrals (St. Stephen) of Vienna and Wiener Neustadt and the cloisters of Heiligenkreuz, Zwettl and Lilienfeld (Bassa Austria) arise from the encounter with the Cistercian currents. In painting, school was established in the 11th and 12th centuriesof Salzburg (frescoes by Nonnberg, illuminated manuscripts now in the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, etc.); from the end of the 11th century. it is the important cycle of Byzantine frescoes from Lambach; the frescoes of S. Nicola in Matrei (near Lienz) have an Italian influence. The goldsmiths are noteworthy (S. Paolo in Lavanttal, Klosterneuburg etc.).

Around the fourteenth century there are the first examples of Gothic (Heiligenkreuz) which asserted itself in Vienna in the Augustinian church and in the numerous works carried out in the cathedral which absorbed a large part of the building and artistic activity of the entire country. In the mid-fourteenth century the choir of the church of Zwettl approaches the forms of the French Gothic. The most important creation of the 15th century. it is the choir of the Franciscan church of Salzburg (1452). Among the secular buildings, the Bummerlhaus in Steyr and the Goldenes Dachl in Innsbruck, built around 1500, are noteworthy. Gothic sculpture is manifested at the beginning with the Zackbrüchiger Stil (“zigzag style”; Leechkirche in Graz). Works of extraordinary beauty are two Madonnas (c. 1325), in the cathedral of Vienna and in Klosterneuburg, deriving from French art. Local schools are being developed at the same time, especially in Styria and Tyrol. Towards the middle of the 14th century. realistic tendencies of Bohemian influence appear (statue of St. Paul, in a side portal of St. Stephen in Vienna); around 1400 Austrian artists also took part in the international currents of the Weicher Stil, to which the school of C. Laib in Salzburg reacts and which violent late Gothic realism will oppose (tomb of Frederick III by N. Gerhaert van Leyden in S. Stefano, begun in 1467). The Gothic painting, which inspires some frescoes in the cathedral of Gurk (1260-64), then undergoes, also through the miniature, the Italian influence. A masterpiece of the school active in Vienna at the beginning of the fourteenth century are the four panels with scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin in the abbey of Klosterneuburg. Towards the end of the century, J. Sachs and followers), both in panel paintings. During the 15th century. Italian influences are renewed, together with Flemish influences. Among the provincial schools, the most important is that of Salzburg, where R. Früauf and the Master of Grossgmain work. But the most vigorous talent of the time is M. Pacher.

Renaissance and Baroque

In the first phase of the Renaissance, which corresponds to the reign of Emperor Maximilian, a great patron of the arts, the so-called school of the Danube was formed, with its particular attention to the landscape, to which, among others, J. Breu, R Früauf the Younger ; J. Kölderer he painted miniatures for the emperor. The sculpture combines late Gothic and Renaissance elements: the figures of apostles in Wiener Neustadt (Priory church), numerous sculptures in St. Stephen in Vienna, the imperial monument of H. Valkenauer in Salzburg and Maximilian’s sepulcher in Innsbruck, with the beautiful statues of Arthur and Theodoric by P. Vischer. Applied arts achieve a high degree of technical perfection: woodworking in Tyrol, ironworking in Styria, ceramics in Upper Austria and in Salzburg. For Austria 2014, please check

In architecture, civil buildings appear more in line with Italian innovations: Stallburg, Neuegebäude and the Schweizertor of the Hofburg in Vienna; the castle of Ambras; the Salzburg Residence; part of the Landhaus of Vienna (1562-68); the mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand in Graz (1614-48), the Landhäusers of Graz and Linz; the castles of Rosenburg, Schallaburg, Tratzberg and Spittal. In Salzburg, Italian art informs the villa of Hellbrunn, the cemetery of S. Sebastiano (1595-1600), and above all the cathedral, built by S. Solari (1611-28) based on a design by V. Scamozzi. In the second half of the seventeenth century the Italian influence predominates, with entire families of artists (the Carlone, the Carnevale, the Allio, etc.) employed in the ecclesiastical buildings, commissioned by the Habsburgs, characterized by a sober and solemn taste (Jesuit and Dominicans in Vienna, the Jesuit church in Innsbruck, that of St. Cajetan in Salzburg and the monasteries of Schlierbach, Kremsmünster, Klosterneuburg, etc.). Worthy of note, among the profane buildings in Vienna, are the Favorita (later Theresianum) and the Leopoldian arm of the Hofburg (G. and LO Burnacini), the castle of Petronell (D. Carlone, C. Carnevale) and, among the monuments, the Hofbrunnen in Salzburg and the Trinity Column in Vienna.

From this early Baroque derives a style, characterized by a marked decorative trend, which takes place independently up to the whole of the eighteenth century. The great development of Vienna dates back to this period and, once the Turkish danger was removed, it extends beyond the fortified walls and assumes one of the first places among the European capitals (churches of S. Pietro and S. Carlo, votive columns of Graben and of the Marriage of Mary, National Library, Imperial Chancellery, Schönbrunn etc.). The main aristocratic families compete with the court: Eugene of Savoy, the princes of Liechtenstein and Schwarzenberg, the Harrachs, the Schönborn and many others who enrich Vienna with beautiful palaces. At the same time, numerous convents were rebuilt (Kremsmünster, St. Florian, Göttweig, Herzogenburg, Altenburg). Among the prominent artistic personalities the Italian D. Martinelli, who built the Harrach and Liechtenstein palaces in Vienna and prepared the golden age of the Austrian Baroque, whose main representatives are JB Fischer von Erlach and JL von Hildebrandt. Also remembered are J. Prandtauer (Melk Abbey) and M. Steinl (Zwettl and Dürnstein churches). GR Donner was the greatest sculptor of the time; contrasts with him, for the rude fantastic sense of his carvings, JT Stammel. In painting, the influence exerted by Austria Pozzo in his stay (1702-09) in A was noteworthy; among the Austrian painters we remember FA Haulbertsch, JM Rottmayr, M. Altomonte, P. Troger, JM Schmidt of Krems. The decorations of Schönbrunn Palace, made by N. Pacassi, have a French character.

Austria Arts and Architecture