Youth from the Magdalensberg

unknown1501 - 1600

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Vienna, Austria

In 1986 a research project into the casting and moulding techniques used for the “Youth from the Magdalensberg” produced surprising results: the statue, which had been considered the most important Roman find in the eastern Alps, is not the antique original but a cast copy from the 16th century. Found in 1502 by peasants who were ploughing on the Magdalensberg in Carinthia (southern Austria), the original statue came to Salzburg at the instigation of Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg. The first reproduction, a woodcut, was published in 1534. In 1542 the Salzburg painter Hans Bocksberger the Elder painted a fresco of it in the residence of the Bavarian archdukes at Landshut. In 1551 the chapter of canons at Salzburg Cathedral complied with a request by Ferdinand I and presented the statue to the king (the record has been preserved). A cast replica was made for Salzburg, but as time passed knowledge of this occurrence was lost. Thus when the copy entered Vienna’s Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities in 1806, it was considered to be the antique original, which unfortunately has been lost. There is evidence, however, that it may have gone to Spain, where an identical statue of the youth was recorded in the 17th century (the original?) but was lost in the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars. The most important indications that the statue is a Renaissance copy are the technique of casting, which is different from that of classical antiquity, and analyses of the bronze alloy and the casting core. This technique is responsible for the relative thickness of the bronze and the fact that the statue could be cast in one piece. Neither the exact year (after 1551) nor the workshop where the statue was made is known. The original is considered a work of Roman ideal sculpture from the 1st century BC and is modelled on Classical Greek sculpture. According to the inscription on the right thigh, which it is assumed was also on the original, the statue at Magdalensberg was erected at the behest of two freed men, Aulus Poblicius Antiocus and Tiberius Barbius Tiberi[a]nus. © Kurt Gschwantler, Alfred Bernhard-Walcher, Manuela Laubenberger, Georg Plattner, Karoline Zhuber-Okrog, Masterpieces in the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. A Brief Guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 2011


  • Title: Youth from the Magdalensberg
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 1501 - 1600
  • Style: Cast copy of a Romanoriginal (16th century)
  • Provenance: The copy entered Vienna’s Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities in 1806
  • Place Part Of: Austria
  • Physical Dimensions: h1850 cm (entire)
  • Inventory Number: ANSA VI 1
  • Excavation (lost original): Magdalensberg, Austria
  • Copy after: Roman ideal sculpture from the 1st century BC, modelled on Classical Greek sculpture
  • Type: sculpture
  • External Link: http://www.khm.at/en/collections/collection-of-greek-and-roman-antiquities
  • Medium: Bronze

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps