Fountain with in the center a pillar of hard, white stone, crowned by a statue. The statue shows the personification of Austria in an imperial robe, with a spear and a shield with the imperial coat of arms. Around the column are four personifications of the four main rivers of the Habsburg Empire: Elbe, Danube, Vistula and Po, each watering in different seas - the North Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Adriatic Sea, and so symbolizing the centrality of the Habsburg empire in Europe; moreover, the four rivers also represent the four nations of Austria: Germans, Hungarians, Slaves, and Italians
(click on the photo for an enlargement in a separate window.)
- Po - Bearded man with rudder and an antique lock key of the aquaducts
- Donau / Danube - Woman keeping a string of her hair in her hand (usual depiction of nymph playing with her hair).
- Weichsel / Vistula - Woman with a bear's skin over her shoulders, with a lock key in her hand, and a rudder next to her. The lock key represents the connection of the Vistula with the Nogat river.
- Elbe - Woman with in her right hand a rudder and leaning with the other hand on a bust of Rübezahl (Krakonoš), a bearded man growing out of a rock, the folklore mountain spirit (woodwose) of the Giant Mountains.
At the feet of the river personifications is the text:
UNTER DER REGIERUNG | KAISER FERDINANDS I. | VON WIENER BÜRGERN | ERRICHTET MDCCCXLVI
L. v. schwanthaler / statuas et archit. / inv. et mod.
gegossen / von ferd. miller / in / MUNCHEN.
The tale goes that the model for the figure Austria was Alma von Goethe, grandchild of the poet.
- Ludwig von Schwanthaler (München 1802-München 1848), German sculptor, son of Franz Jakob Schwanthaler (Wikipedia).
Sources & Information
Location (N 48°12'41" - E 16°21'56")
Item Code: atwi109; Photograph: 10 September 2012
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt