Donner, Georg Raphael#
b. Essling in Marchfeld (now Vienna), May 24, 1693, d. Vienna, Feb. 15, 1741. Sculptor, along with B. Permoser of Dresden and A. Schlueter of Berlin one of the greatest masters of sculpture in German-speaking countries in the 18th century. Son of a carpenter, began as a goldsmith's apprentice, until 1706 when he became apprentice to sculptor G. Giuliani. after 1713 completed a medallist's training programme with his brother M. Donner, in 1715 married Eva Elisabeth Prechtl from Preisfeld. After a trip to Dresden in 1721, when he studied the work of B. Permoser in great detail, D. began to use the name Raphael in addition to his given name Georg. In 1725 D. moved to Salzburg, where he chiselled mythological figures and the balustrade for Mirabell Palace. Lived in Bratislava from 1729, received his first major commissions from Count Emmerich Esterházy, Archbishop of Gran, for whom he decorated the Elemosynarius Chapel in Pressburg Cathedral (Bratislava). D. also built the (no longer intact) high altar for the cathedral with its monumental equestrian statue of St. Martin, which was consecrated in 1735. While living in Pressburg, D. worked on numerous commissions in Vienna. Between 1737 and 1739 he created his most significant piece, the Providentia Fountain at Mehlmarkt (now Neuer Markt), which was commissioned by the City of Vienna. The fountain, cast in lead, was the first major work of art to be commissioned by the city authorities since the Middle Ages. The fountain is an allegory of the care and prudence (Latin: providentia) of the city regiment and refers allegorically to the four tributaries of the Danube - the Rivers Ybbs, Enns, March and Traun. The original figures from the fountain have been in the Baroque Museum of the Oesterreichische Galerie Belvedere since 1921, when they were replaced by more weather-resistant copies in bronze. D.'s two last great works, the cross altar in the cathedral at Gurk and the Andromeda Fountain in the former Town Hall in Vienna, however, are still unchanged and in their original places. Through his pupils Matthaeus D. (his brother), J. C. Schletterer , and indirectly through B. F. Moll and J. G. Mollinarolo, D. had a lasting influence on Austrian sculpture up to the Classical period Zauner.
Literature#G. R. D., 1693-1741, exhibition catalogue, Oe. Galerie Belvedere, Vienna 1993.