Liechtenstein Palaces in Vienna from the Age of the Baroque - Lorenz, Hellmut - Yale University Press

Art and Architecture

Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press 

Liechtenstein Palaces in Vienna from the Age of the Baroque

  • Hellmut Lorenz
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It is astonishing that the impressive artistic development of the imperial city of Vienna after its liberation from the Turkish menace in 1683 was stimulated and supported more vigorously by the leading families of the aristocracy that it was by the Hapsburg rulers. Although the military success of the Hapsburgs provides the historical and economic as well as the psychological background for the flowering of "Vienna gloriosa," the imperial court did not function as an important patron of the arts until relatively late, during the reign of Charles VI (1711–40). Until then it was the great aristocratic families of the empire who, in the years around 1700, turned Vienna into a Baroque city and a European art center.

Because of its high social standing, the House of Liechtenstein was obliged to play a leading role in this process; not only were the Liechtensteins one of the most ancient noble families in the realm, but they had been richly rewarded, after the Catholic victory in the Battle of the White Mountain (1620), with extensive properties in Austria, Bohemia, and Moravia in recompense for their fidelity to the Emperor. Prince Johann Adam Andreas (1657–1712) became regent of the house of Liechtenstein in 1684, improving the economic management of his debt-encumbered estates. Because of the resulting fiscal prosperity of the house of Liechtenstein, Johann Adam may have been the only one of his contemporaries who was in a position to patronize the arts purely on the basis of personal taste and rigorous artistics standards. He gleaned broad first-hand artistic knowledge from his grand "gentlemen's tour" of Europe, focusing particularly on Italian art, and his continual contact with the great art dealers of Europe and any great artist that visited Vienna. This book illustrates and analyzes in detail the art, architecture, and sculpture of the Garden Palace and the City Palace, both monuments in Vienna of which Johann Adam of the house of Liechtenstein was patron. [This book was originally published in 1985 and has gone out of print. This edition is a print-on-demand version of the original book.]