»Zu Lob und ewiger Gedachtnus«
Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) strove to emphasise his own personal provenance and the fame of the House of Austria, throughout his life. He skilfully exploited the opportunities to fashion his Gedachtnus, i.e. his memory and legacy. His great-grandson Archduke Ferdinand II (1529-1595), founder of the famous Ambras collections, emulated him. He adopted the idea of memory and legacy and pursued it ambitiously creating his own projects, such as the ‘Hero's Armoury’ and historiographical-genealogical works.
On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Maximilian's death, Schloss Ambras Innsbruck invites visitors to set out on an extended journey throughout the museum. The tour features superb heirlooms of Maximilian that Ferdinand incorporated into his Armouries and his Chamber of Art and Wonders, but also showcases the architectural traces of his great-grandfather. The exhibition illuminates the project of Maximilian's tomb, which was completed by Ferdinand decades after the former had died. Beside all that, Ferdinand's own prestigious works in praise of the Habsburg dynasty show impressively how the Tyrolean sovereign was closely committed to Emperor Maximilian.
Maximilian wished to rank among the great emperors and the heroes of antiquity and saw himself as their rightful heir. He engaged a staff of historiographers with genealogical studies in order to establish a direct lineage. The noble origins of his personal provenance and his heroic exploits were intended to legitimise the Habsburgs' rightful claim to the title of Holy Roman Emperor. He commissioned autobiographical publications, portraits, prints, coins, edifices, and not least his tomb, incomparable regarding its monumental scale. The best and most renowned artists of his day created something of a ‘corporate identity’ for the Habsburg monarch, showcasing all manner of symbols of his power and might.
Maximilian's policy of commissioning artworks to enhance his prestige was subsequently kept up by his descendants as a tradition of the Habsburg dynasty, a further heyday of which were the prestigious projects by the princely sovereign ruler of Tyrol, Archduke Ferdinand II.
The precious objects from the stock of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and Schloss Ambras Innsbruck as well as valuable loans (Albertina Vienna, private collection) vividly illustrate the world of thought of Maximilian and Ferdinand. Due to its wealth of originals, the show is one of the most stellar to feature as part of the Maximilianjahr 2019.
Adopt a masterpiece
Did you fall in love with a particular artwork during your visit of the exhibition?
By adopting an artwork from one of our collections you help us preserve, restore and explore our rich holdings and you have the opportunity to undertake the cultural responsibility for one of these objects in a very personal manner.