Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Hofkirche, Innsbruck

Maximilian was King of the Romans, also known as King of the Germans, and Holy Roman Emperor. He was never crowned by the Pope as the journey to Rome was always considered too risky 
 
 Emperor Maximilian l by Albrecht Dürer, 1519
Maximilian holds his personal emblem, the pomegranate - a symbol of fertility, bounty and eternal life
The Hofkirche (Court Church) in Innsbruck was built to be a mausoleum for Emperor Maximilian l by his son Ferdinand l. However, it appears that when Maximilian was on his death bed he had a change of heart and said that he wished to be buried in St. George's Chapel at Castle Wiener Neustadt
Guarded entrance from the Cloisters to what is now Emperor Maximilian's cenotaph
Flanking the tomb are 28 much larger than life bronze statues either representing the Emperor's ancestors or his heroes from antiquity.
The emperor kneels on top of the empty tomb accompanied by virtues - Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance
All of the statues are very impressive having been designed or cast by distinquished artists and sculptors from the C16th.
With such a large collection of historical characters is it possible to highlight just one figure?
For me the choice is easy - but who?
My choice is our very own dear English legendary King Arthur whose magical exploits seemingly impressed Emperor Maximilian l. It is interesting to reflect that in the c15th/16th Arthur was considered to have been a real King and not the mythological figure that we now know he was.
King Arthur's elegant statue was designed by none other than Albrecht Dürer - painter, printmaker and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg, Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his early twenties.
I seem to have known and loved Dürer's exquisite painting of a hare forever, and been amused by his woodcut of a rhinoceros. Dürer had never seen a rhinoceros, his woodcut was based purely on a written description and a brief sketch by an unknown artist.
Whilst Dürer designed the statue of King Arthur it was cast by Peter Vischer the Elder, a German sculptor, and the most noted member of the reknown Vischer Family of sculptors from Nuremberg.
Dürer paintings and woodcut courtesy Wiki

38 comments:

  1. Sensational post. My old school used to organise their annual school trip to Innsbruck, sadly I never went, funds not available. I shall add it to my 'must visit' list.

    Jean

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    1. Thank you Jean - I am delighted that you enjoyed seeing it. Our trip was a bargain courtesy Travelzoo, if you do not know their site it is worth finding and subscribing.

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  2. The tomb of Maximiliam is a grand tomb indeed. What beautiful statues, and I do like the ladies in their gowns and headgear. Durer is a wonderful artist, the hare is lovely, and the rhino, well quite amazing if he had never seen one!

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    1. Durer was a great talent, I think I first became aware of him when my youngest son was doing a History of Art A level.

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  3. The statues are amazing, those details of the clothes look so real.

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    1. They are all amazing works of art especially in their detail.

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  4. Hello Rosemary, It is fascinating to see the retinue that Maximilian chose to attend his tomb, as well as the artistic quality. I admire your choice of King Arthur--I hadn't know that Durer produced this kind of statue.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - Durer was such a gifted young man - I know that he was also greatly admired by William Morris who collected his woodcut prints.

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  5. Great post! I too have loved Durer's hare since I was an adolescent! I still have the small "art print" I bought of it in the 1970s.

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    1. Snap Debra - glad you are a fan of Durer too.

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  6. WOW!!! What an incredible set-up. I would have chosen King Arthur, a hero of mine, mythical or not. Have always been a huge fan of Durer's work. We lived in Germany for a number of years and got to see a number of his creations.

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    1. Glad that there are two things that you are a fan of here too Mac n' Janet.

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  7. What a beautiful post. I loved seeing all these lovely photos. I am having such fun traveling vicariously through your posts. ;-)

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    1. It is lovely to have you travelling vicariously with me Catherine - glad that you enjoyed seeing the photos.

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  8. Dearest Rosemary,
    Delightful post with so much history and culture in it.
    That's what we always love about visiting other countries, finding the historic connections.
    Such statues are to us now 'living' symbols and give such a wonderful insight in how they dressed and how they looked like some 500 years ago.
    Love all the work from Albrecht Dürer and we do have his praying hands in our Rose Suite: http://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2012/10/our-rose-suite-bedroom.html
    Hugs,
    Mariette

    PS I did leave you a reply to your comment on my post.

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    1. Dear Mariette - Dürer was a prodigious all round talent, and how fortunate for us that so many pieces of his work remain for us to appreciate and enjoy today. It is lovely that you also have a piece of his work in your Rose Suite.

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  9. If I read that right....the amazing statues gaurd and empty tomb. It looks like they could have been transported to St. George's chapel. His son went to a lot of trouble.....the statues are exquisite. Love the rabbit.

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    1. Yes, you are right Janey, the statues are guarding his empty tomb - it is a very impressive place to visit when in Innsbruck.

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  10. It's no surprise Maximilian has such a superior expression in the painting; he clearly did have wealth and power from his elaborate tomb. The painting of the hare is lovely and it is interesting to see the rhino woodcut produced largely from Durer's imagination. He was obviously fascinated by the skin, giving the rhino that impressive suit of armour!

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    1. Dürer painted a wonderful portrait of Maximillian - he really seems to have captured his personality - I feel as if I am looking at the real character who was King of the Romans.

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  11. The detail in the bronze statues is so intricately done. What an impressive monument. Durer's hare is a favourite of mine, too.

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    1. When you enter the room the bronze statues really do have a huge impact on your first impressions - that Dürer hare is timeless.

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  12. A post of beautiful art and interesting history. A lovely interior where white walls and lighting help to enhance the intricate patterns of the statues and fine wrought ironwork.
    Thank you for sharing with us, Rosemary. I have enjoyed all of the posts of your Austrian holiday.

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    1. Thank you Betty - I am so pleased that you enjoyed these posts from Austria.

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  13. Dear Rosemary, I love coming along on your travels. There is no need for me to visit these beautiful places because your photos tell the story so well.

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    1. Dear Gina - it is always a delight to have your company.

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  14. Very interesting history and photos ♥ So wonderful of you to share ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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    1. Glad you found it interesting Summer - please do call again

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  15. Such an impressive church Rosemary. Austria looks like a country worth going to and not only for the mountains and it's beautiful nature.

    Madelief x

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    1. I don't know why it has taken us such a long time to return to Austria? - I had forgotten just how lovely it is.

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  16. Such an interesting post Rosemary and as always it's such a joy to experience different places through your lens and words. And tha 3rd picture of the inner courtyard... so beautiful.♥

    I hope you're enjoying beautiful late summer days sweet Rosemary. Take care.♥

    Charlie
    xx

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    1. This part of summer has brought us so many lovely warm, sunny days, and how typical that it just as the children will soon be returning back to school.
      I am pleased that you found the post interesting Charlie - thank you, take care and enjoy yourself with your family♡

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  17. Dear Rosemary,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful holidays photos and the history - very interesting.
    The bronze statues are wonderful and the hare sketch is lovely with all the detail.
    Happy weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Dear Carolyn - Austria is a lovely country for a visit.

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  18. What a lovely series. Thanks for sharing.
    Have a nice Friday.

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    1. Happy that you enjoyed - thank you Orvokki

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  19. Well I enjoyed your trip to Austria, hope you did too.

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