Georg Rafael Donner was one of the most prolific Austrian sculptors of the 18th century. His style was baroque with some pseudo-ancient additions. He educated many German sculptors of his era, including his son Matthäus Donner.
Donner was born in Essling, Vienna. His work was inspired by nature and by antique sculpture which was deposited in the Vienna's academy. One of Donner's most famous works is Donnersteig in Mirabel Castle, Salzburg, for which he sculpted life-size marble figures. From 1728 he worked in Pozsony at the court of count-bishop Emeric Esterházy, where he sculpted a gravestone for Bishop Esterházy and a horse monument of St. Martin. For almost 10 years he had his studio in the garden of the Summer Archbishop's Palace, at that time just outside Pozsony. In Vienna he created two fountains: Fountain of Austria's rivers and the source with the sculptures of Perzei and Andromeda in front of the City Hall. One of his last works is the Pieta at the cathedral in Gurk. He died in Vienna.
Georg Rafael Donner was recently selected as the main motif of the Austrian gold euro commemorative coin: The sculpture coin was issued on 13 November 2002.