»Clashing of weapons and cannon powder«

Baroque Armoury


Armour and weapons from the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648)

They originate mainly from the inventory of the former Viennese armoury, and make clear the difference between splendid, unique pieces of the Renaissance and mass-produced weapons of the Baroque period. At the same time, they show plainly the appearance of a Baroque Armoury establishment. 

The richly decorated suit of armour dates to the early seventeenth century; it was probably worn, for example, by the Nuremberg castle guard. 

The lack of iron arm pieces and gloves is explained by the employment of firearms, which otherwise would have been unwieldy and inefficient. The helmet was also worn without a visor, in order to facilitate the aiming of the weapon. The outer surface of the armour is etched with strips of flowers and vines.

The Ambras starry sky is unique in its art.

The ceiling painting on wood was executed around 1586 by Giovanni Battista Fontana, the court painter of Archduke Ferdinand II. Although he observed the division into a northern and a southern hemisphere, he nevertheless treated the older pictorial tradition, as known for example via Albrecht Dürer’s woodcuts from 1515, very loosely: the figural representation of the formation of the stars does not correspond to any actual constellation in the Innsbruck skies, but instead is astronomically arbitrarily arranged and emphasizes the relative proportions in a unique manner. 

The seven planets known at that time are represented in the side fields. The corners of the main panel depict the four elements of fire, water, air, and earth. The twelve signs of the zodiac revolve around the universe in an oval band. 37 star signs are shown in front of a sky-blue background, including the ‘Coma Berenices’, which was first introduced into astronomy in the 1530s.

The painted ceiling was first located in the dining hall in the Ambras ‘forecastle’, a building that is no longer preserved. In 1880 the wooden ceiling was transferred here to the site where Archduke Ferdinand II’s Chamber of Art and Wonders were originally housed.

The Baroque Armoury

The weapons in the front part of the hall document the first half of the Thirty Years’ War. On the right side are weapons for cavalry, while on the left are weapons for infantry.

The ‘arquebus riders’ carried the arquebus – a short wheel-lock rifle – and a sword. The heavy cavalry armour was replaced by the lighter cuirass. The equipment of the cuirassier consisted of two pistols and a sword. On the lower pedestal there are infantry pole weapons from the early seventeenth century. The heavy, long muskets with matchlock were loaded at the front and had to be supported on a forked rest during firing. 

The musketeers wore the hat-like cap as their only protection. The second phase of the Thirty Years’ War and the beginning of the Turkish War under Emperor Leopold I are documented in the second part of the hall. The cavalry were equipped with curved swords and carbines with French cylinder plunger. The pikemen on the left side carried 4–6 m long spears (pikes) and simple swords. 

 Ferdinand Karl was born in 1628 as the oldest son of Archduke Leopold V and Claudia de’ Medici, and in 1646 elevated to Landesfürst (Count) of Tyrol.

In the painting he appears as a victorious general above the thick of the battle, perhaps a reference to the Thirty Years’ War, in which the borders of the land were threatened, in particular in the second year of Ferdinand Karl’s rule. In 1653 Justus Susterman (1579–1681) was summoned to Innsbruck to paint portraits of the archducal family. Presumably at that time he also began the large equestrian portrait of the archduke, which was subsequently reworked and completed by Cecco Bravo (1607–1661).

 Leopold I, the son of Emperor Ferdinand III, was born in 1640. The large equestrian portrait by Matthäus Merian (1621–1687) was created on the occasion of his imperial coronation in Frankfurt in 1658. 

Leopold reigned for almost 50 years, which were filled with virtually uninterrupted wars against France in the west and the Turks in the east. After the extinction of the so-called younger Tyrolean Line in 1665, Leopold became Landesfürst (Count) of Tyrol and reigned over the land directly from Vienna. The first transferral of objects from the collection of Ambras Castle to Vienna took place, such as, for example, valuable manuscripts from the library.

Baroque Armoury

Ambras Castle
Schlossstraße 20
6020 Innsbruck

Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed in november

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