Enfilade

Exhibition | Habsburg Splendor

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 6, 2014

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The Prince’s Dress Carriage, ca. 1750–55
(Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum)

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It’s still too early to get a good sense of what’s included from the eighteenth century, but we’re sure to hear lots more about the exhibition in the coming months, particularly if you live anywhere near Minneapolis, Houston, or Atlanta. It really should be an extraordinary show.CH

Press release (18 April 2014) from the MFAH:

Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 15 February — 10 May 2015
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 14 June — 13 September 2015
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 18 October 2015 — 17 January 2016

Curated by Monica Kurzel-Runtscheiner

In 2015, a major American collaboration will bring masterworks amassed by one of the longest-reigning European dynasties to the United States. Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections showcases masterpieces and rare objects from the collection of the Habsburg Dynasty—the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and other powerful rulers who commissioned extraordinary artworks now in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The exhibition, largely composed of works that have never traveled outside of Austria, will be on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA); the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH); and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Debuting in Minneapolis in February 2015 before traveling to Houston and Atlanta, Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections explores the dramatic rise and fall of the Habsburgs’ global empire, from their political ascendance in the late Middle Ages to the height of their power in the 16th and 17th centuries, the expansion of the dynasty in the 18th and 19th centuries to its end in 1918 with the conclusion of World War I. The 93 artworks and artifacts that tell the story include arms and armor, sculpture, Greek and Roman antiquities, court costumes, carriages, decorative-art objects, and paintings by such masters as Correggio, Giorgione, Rubens, Tintoretto, Titian, and Velázquez. Key masterpieces that have never before traveled to the United States include:
The Crowning with Thorns (c. 1602/04) by Caravaggio
• A portrait of Jane Seymour (1536), Queen of England and third wife to Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein the Younger
Jupiter and Io (c. 1530/32) by Correggio . . . .

Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections chronicles the Habsburgs’ story in three chapters, each featuring a three-dimensional “tableau”—a display of objects from the Habsburgs’ opulent court ceremonies—as context for the other works on view.

D A W N  O F  T H E  D Y N A S T Y

The first section features objects commissioned or collected by the Habsburgs from the 13th through the 16th centuries. In this late medieval/early Renaissance period, Habsburg rulers staged elaborate commemorative celebrations to demonstrate power and to establish their legitimacy to rule, a tradition that flourished during the reigns of Maximilian I and his heirs. Works from this era—including sabres and armor, tapestries, Roman cameos and large-scale paintings—illustrate the significance of war and patronage in expanding Habsburg influence and prestige.

Tableau: Suits of armor displayed on horseback, and jousting weapons from a royal tournament.

Highlights include:
• Armor of Emperor Maximilian I (c. 1492) made by Lorenz Helmschmid
• Bronze bust of Emperor Charles V (c. 1555) by Leone Leoni
• A rock crystal goblet made for Emperor Frederick III (1400–1450)

G O L D E N  A G E

The second and largest section of the exhibition highlights the apex of Habsburg rule, the Baroque Age of the 17th and 18th centuries. The dynasty used religion, works of art and court festivities to propagate its self-image and claim to rule during this politically tumultuous time. Paintings by Europe’s leading artists demonstrate the wealth and taste of the Habsburg rulers, while crucifixes wrought in precious metals and gems, as well as sumptuous ecclesiastical vestments, reflect the emperor’s role as defender of the Catholic faith.

Tableau: A procession featuring a Baroque ceremonial carriage and sleigh, with carvings by master craftsman Balthasar Ferdinand Moll.

Highlights include:
• An ivory tankard (1642) by Hans Jacob Bachmann
Infanta Maria Teresa (1652–53), a portrait of the daughter of Philip IV of Spain and eventual wife of Louis XIV of France, by Velázquez
• An alchemical medal (1677), illustrated with portraits in relief of the Habsburgs, by Johann Permann

T W I L I G H T  O F  T H E  E M P I R E

The exhibition concludes with works from the early 19th century, when the fall of the Holy Roman Empire gave rise to the hereditary Austrian Empire—a transition from the ancien régime to a modern state in which merit determined distinction and advancement. Franz Joseph, who would reign longer than any previous Habsburg, saw the growth of nationalism and ultimately ruled over a dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. As heir to the Habsburg legacy—and in the spirit of public education and enrichment—he founded the Kunsthistorisches Museum in 1891. Reflecting the modernization of the Habsburg administration, the exhibition ends with a spectacular display of official court uniforms and dresses.

Tableau: Uniforms and women’s gowns from the court of Franz Joseph.

Highlights include:
• Campaign uniform of Franz Joseph (1907)
• A velvet dress made for Empress Elisabeth (c. 1860/65)
• An evening gown made for Princess Kinsky (c. 1905)
• Ceremonial dress of Crown Prince Otto for the Hungarian Coronation (1916)

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Monica Kurzel-Runtscheiner, director of the Imperial Carriage Museum, Vienna. The hosting curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is Kaywin Feldman, director. At the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the lead hosting curator is Dr. David Bomford, director of conservation; his curatorial team comprises Dr. Helga Aurisch, curator, European art, and Christine Gervais, associate curator, decorative arts and Rienzi. At the High Museum of Art, the hosting curator is Dr. David A. Brenneman, director of collections and exhibitions and Frances B. Bunzl Family Curator of European art.

A full-color catalogue is being published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, with essays by Dr. Monica Kurzel-Runtscheiner, director of the Imperial Carriage Museum, Vienna; Dr. Franz Pichorner, deputy director, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; and Dr. Stefan Krause, curator of arms and armor, Kunsthistorisches Museum. Additionally, a virtual exhibition of additional pieces will be viewable online, deepening the visitor experience and providing further opportunities for the public to engage with the art and its history.

A Brief History of the Habsburgs

The noble House of Habsburg rose to prominence in the late Middle Ages through strategic marriages, political alliances and conquest. In 1273, count Rudolph IV gained control of Germany as King of the Romans, and Habsburg domains continued to grow leading up to Pope Nicholas V’s coronation of Frederick III as Holy Roman Emperor in 1452. Under Frederick’s son Maximilian I and his successor, Charles V, the Habsburgs achieved world-power status, assuming the title of emperor without papal consent and enfolding Spain and Burgundy into the Habsburg-controlled territories. The dynasty split into Spanish and Austrian branches shortly thereafter, and in the 17th and 18th centuries the male lines died out, resulting in the loss of Spain.

In 1740, Maria Theresa—the sole female Habsburg ruler, who reigned for a remarkable 40 years—seized control of the Austrian line to become the final ruler of the House of Habsburg. The early 19th century witnessed the final demise of the Holy Roman Empire and the establishment of the main Habsburg line’s successors: the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. A hundred years later, in 1916, Emperor Charles I inherited a dual Austro-Hungarian monarchy upon the death of longtime Emperor Franz Joseph. More than 600 years of Habsburg sovereignty came to an end in 1918 with the close of World War I.

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Scheduled for February publication with distribution by Yale UP:

Monica Kurzel-Runtscheiner, Franz Pichorner, and Stefan Krause, Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015), 296 pages, ISBN: 978-0300210866, $60.

This beautiful book tells the fascinating story of the Habsburg dynasty, which ruled most of central Europe, Spain, Belgium, and parts of Italy for nearly six hundred years, from the 15th through the 20th century. Charles V (1500–1558) once remarked that the sun never set on the Habsburg Empire, and for most of its history, Vienna served as its capital. The Habsburgs were acclaimed collectors and generous patrons of the arts. Franz Joseph I (1830–1916), the penultimate emperor of the dynasty, created the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna to house the artistic treasures of the empire. Today, this museum possesses one of the most renowned collections in the world of Western art. An extraordinarily wide-ranging survey of the Habsburgs’ collections, this volume features classical Greek and Roman works, medieval arms and armor, tapestries, early modern painting and craftwork, ceremonial gilded carriages, and opulent costumes. Together, they reveal the splendor and the spectacle of the Habsburg court.

Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections” showcases masterpieces and rare objeMore Information: http://artdaily.com/news/69524/Exhibition-of-masterpieces-from-the-Austrian-Habsburg-dynasty-brings-imperial-splendor-to-the-U-S-#.U1Jc4CRk4l8[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
“Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections” showcases masterpieces and rare objectMore Information: http://artdaily.com/news/69524/Exhibition-of-masterpieces-from-the-Austrian-Habsburg-dynasty-brings-imperial-splendor-to-the-U-S-#.U1Jc4CRk4l8[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
“Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections” showcases masterpieces and rare objectMore Information: http://artdaily.com/news/69524/Exhibition-of-masterpieces-from-the-Austrian-Habsburg-dynasty-brings-imperial-splendor-to-the-U-S-#.U1Jc4CRk4l8[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org

“Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections” showcases masterpieces and rare object

More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/69524/Exhibition-of-masterpieces-from-the-Austrian-Habsburg-dynasty-brings-imperial-splendor-to-the-U-S-#.U1Jc4CRk4l8[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org

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