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Postmaster portraits of the Taxis-Bordogna family

The Kunsthistorisches Museum’s Collections in Ambras Castle thank Carlos Tasso de Saxe-Coburgo e Bragança for his generous gift of ten postmaster portraits from the house of Taxis-Bordogna. These portraits show members of this family from the early 16th to the late 18th century. Among these works are the artistically exceptional images of Lorenz I Bordogna von Taxis from the artist circle of the Lombard painter Giovanni Battista Moroni (ca. 1525-1578) as well as the head and shoulders portrait of Maria Anna Taxis-Bordogna and Valnigra from Johann Baptist von Lampi (1751-1839), a celebrated portraitist from the royal courts of Dresden, Vienna and St. Petersburg.

The name Taxis is inseparably connected to the history of the postal, transport and communications systems. In the 18th century the family was considered to be the “inventor of the post”. The Taxis family, which originated in Bergamo, was initially able to establish itself as couriers and messengers in the service of the pope and in the Republic of Venice, offering a new and efficient transport network. Through connections to further branches of their family, they were also in the position to expand into a trans-European enterprise. Starting in the second half of the 16th century the branch line of Bordogna von Taxis, a familial offshoot resulting from marriage, had their head offices in Bressanone, Bolzano and Trent. As a result of their economic and organisational skills the members of this family were closely connected to the Tyrolean sovereign Archduke Ferdinand II, the founder of the Ambras Collections, and actively took part in the life at his Renaissance court in Innsbruck. We meet them at the mystical-frolicsome rites in honour of the ancient god of wine in the Bacchus Grotto at Ambras Castle, as well as at the festivities which Ferdinand II arranged for the wedding of his chamberlain Johann Lipsteinsky von Kolowrat in 1580.

The presentation of the portraits of members of the Bordogna von Taxis family is enriched by the display of culturally and historically relevant borrowed objects from the extensive family and post archives of the barons and counts of Taxis-Bordogna (found today in the Tyrolean State Archive) as well as with pieces from the Museum of Musical Instruments in Kremsegg Castle near Kremsmünster. Together with objects from the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s Collections in Vienna, they all help to illustrate the development and story behind the history of the post and transport system in Tyrol for the visitor.

The new permanent exhibit was made possible through the generous support of a main sponsor, the Österreichischen Post AG (Austrian Postal Service). This exhibit will be displayed in the “Palas” of Ambras Castle, one of the oldest parts of the building located in the north wing. The tempering of this portion of the second floor of the “Hochschloss” (Upper Castle) will allow the exhibit to remain open in the winter. This tempering work was able to be carried out with the generous and year-long support of Innsbruck Tourism and the allocation of funds from the State of Tyrol.


Information

Ambras Castle
Schlossstraße 20, 6020 Innsbruck

Opening hours
daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission till half an hour before closing time.

Closed during November!

The Habsburg portrait gallery and the Collection of gothic sculptures are open April to October!

Schloss Ambras Innsbruck is open on May Day, 2017!Holiday opening hours

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Exhibition Catalogue 2012
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€ 9.90
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