unbekannter Gast


Goldsmithery: The Archdiocese of Salzburg is the only region within the borders of today´s Austria where evidence has been found that artistic goldsmithery was already practiced during the early and high Middle Ages. After a first flowering during the 8th and 9th centuries ( Tassilo Chalice, Kremsmuenster abbey), a second upswing occurred between 1150 and 1250 (Chalice of Saint Peter, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; reliquary cross, Zwettl abbey; portable altar of Gurk, Klagenfurt). Art historians have no evidence of any important production-site on Babenberg territory. Pieces from the Babenberg era which are nowadays exhibited in Austrian museums were produced in various European countries (e.g. Verdun altar, Belgium: retable by Nicholas of Verdun, now at Klosterneuburg abbey; Verona: 7-armed candelabrum, Klosterneuburg abbey; Lower Saxony: Wilten chalice, Kunsthistorisches Museum; Lower Saxony or England: reliquary cross, Kremsmuenster abbey; France: processional cross at Bartholomaeberg, province of Vorarlberg.

Until the 14th century, pieces crafted in Alpine regions were produced in the Langobard style (e.g. gilded copper panels, Voecklabruck; reliquary in the form of a head, Melk). It was only then that goldsmiths began to be influenced by the Gothic style. Salzburg (around 1300: Chalice of Rupertus, Salzburg Dommuseum) and Vienna were the centres of goldsmithery in the 14th century. Vienna goldsmiths were influenced by the style of goldsmiths from the Upper Rhine region, Germany (1331, supplementary panels for the Verdun altar), northern Italy and Bohemia (cross of Melk, 1362). The first set of regulations for Vienna guild of goldsmiths was issued in 1366 (last amendment: 1775). Under Friedrich III and Maximilian I, court goldsmiths, influenced by the style and technique of craftsmen from Nuremberg and Burgundy produced important secular and religious pieces in Vienna: Reliquaries, crosses, monstrances (church of Sankt Leonhard, Tamsweg; Hall in Tirol, Vienna Cathedral Treasury), chalices (church of Sankt Peter, Salzburg; Tamsweg; Brixlegg; Sankt Sigismund im Pustertal; Klosterneuburg). Magnificent secular piece: Vessel of Corvinus, Wiener Neustadt. Only a few pieces from the 16th century still exist today. The centres of goldsmithery were the princely residences of Graz and Innsbruck as well as Salzburg and Vienna.

During the Renaissance period, especially during the reign of Rudolf II, goldsmiths were influenced by artists from Southern Germany and Italy. Prague was established as the centre of goldsmithery, and artists from all over Europe came to work in the court workshops of Rudolf II (1602: imperial crown). It was only by the end of the 17th century that Vienna again established itself as the centre of goldsmithery in Austria. Taking pieces from France and Southern Germany as examples, Austrian craftsmen produced religious and secular gold objects. It was mainly the nobility and the church that ordered art objects, sometimes to the designs of famous architects (J. B. Fischer von Erlach, M. Steinl). Two of the most famous and influential Viennese goldsmiths were J. B. Kaenischbauer (1660-1739) and J. Moser (during the reign of Maria Theresia). Kaenischbauer´s "sun monstrance" for the church of Maria Loreto in Prague strongly influenced generations of goldsmiths after him. Moser´s main works were the Kolomani monstrance, 1752 (Melk Abbey) and the Sonnenberg monstrance, 1762. A. Domek produced the most beautiful gold tableware for the breakfast table of Maria Theresia as well as gold combs and brushes for her dressing table (most important secular gold objects of the epoch). In Graz it was L. Vogtner (monstrance for the church of Saint Georgen, near Wildon), F. Pfaffinger (monstrance for Graz cathedral) and A. Roemmer (silver decorations for the main altar at the Mariahilf chapel of the Minorites) who created beautiful pieces of gold work. During the Napoleonic Wars decrees were issued that imposed new rules and regulations on goldsmiths (1806, 1810), and forced them to pay high taxes and put hallmarks on their gold articles. Many workshops had to close down and the guild of goldsmithery was weakened. After 1830 it was especially the workshops in Vienna (e.g. K. and R. Wallnoefer, J. Wiesner, W. J. Swoboda, J. H. Koechert) that were re-established and produced high quality goods that sold very well. Machine production for the manufacturing of silver articles was also introduced (S. Maderhofer, A. J. Wuerth). The School of Arts and Crafts at the Austrian Museum of Art and Industry gave new incentives to the guild of goldsmiths and the "Viennese Style" was established in 1867. Until World War I, articles produced by the Klinkosch company were very popular. Many artists who used gold as a material for their designs worked with the Wiener Werkstaette, which was partly inspired by Secessionism. J. Hoffmann and K. Moser designed pieces of art in a strict and highly geometrical style, while D. Peche designed pieces in an abundance of forms and shapes. Indeed it was the products of Wiener Werkstaette that set very high standards in terms of design and craftsmanship between 1918 and 1938 and again after 1945.


G. Sakrale und profane Kunstwerke aus der Steiermark, exhibition catalogue, Graz 1961; Renaissance in Oesterreich, exhibition catalogue, Schallaburg 1974; W. Neuwirth, Lexikon Wiener Gold- und Silberschmiede und ihre Punzen 1867-1922, 2 vols., 1976/77; B. Wild, Der Goldschmied J. Moser und die Wiener Goldschmiedekunst des 18th Jahrhundert, doctoral thesis, Vienna 1982; Gold + Silber. Kostbarkeiten aus Salzburg, exhibition catalogue, Salzburg 1984; S. Krenn, Studien zur Wiener Goldschmiedekunst des 14. Jahrhunderts, doctoral thesis, Vienna 1984; H. Fillitz and M. Pippal, Schatzkunst, 1987; H. Pickl-Herk, Der Grazer Goldschmied F. Pfaffinger (1693-1763): ein Beitrag zur steirischen Goldschmiedekunst in der 1. Haelfte des 18. Jahrhunderts, doctoral thesis, Graz 1988; W. Neuwirth, Wiener Silber 1780-1866, 2 vols., 1988/89.