The ceiling panels of Burgtheater's state staircase Volksgartenseite



Vienna, Austria

The ceiling panels of Burgtheater's state staircase Volksgartenseite (Gigapixel):

The Hofburgtheater, finally inaugurated in October 1888 after a prolonged construction period, marked the completion of the mammoth Ringstraße building project. After Gottfried Semper’s departure from Vienna in 1876 Carl Hasenauer bore the sole responsibility for the construction work. He alone was in charge of the details of the building’s outward appearance and of its interior decoration. As overall coordinator he was also responsible for the choice of artists. The highlights of the theatre’s artistic decoration are the panels from 1886/1887 painted on the ceilings of the two state staircases flanking the main building. The main panels, which are spread out along the central axis of the ceiling, have theatre history as their subject. They are early works by brothers Gustav and Ernst Klimt, and by Franz Matsch. In terms of prestige the commission was practically without parallel at the time: after all, the work had been commissioned by the Emperor himself. The theatre, a meeting place for the upper reaches of society, was also an institution bathed in the limelight of public attention. It is therefore not surprising that the work made the young artists known to a wider public almost overnight. It was their first great state commission and a turning point in their careers. (Text by Christoph Brenner)


  • Title: The ceiling panels of Burgtheater's state staircase Volksgartenseite
  • Date Created: 1886/1887
  • Location: Burgtheater Vienna: State Staircase Volksgartenseite

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