courtyard of Hofburg Palace in Vienna
is the site of an oversized monument dedicated to the memory of the first Emperor
of Austria, Francis I, also known as Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor.
Florence to a
Spanish Mother, Francis was the nephew of Mary Antoinette and had 15 siblings, 4
wives and 13 children. His daughter
married Napoleon. As a patriarch of a
loving family the main point of his political testament left for his heir was
“Preserve unity in the family and regard it as one of the highest goods”.
1824-1846 by Italian sculptor Pomeo Marchesi this mammoth bronze monument
portrays Francis in a toga set atop a tall plinth. The pedestal is octagonal; each side depicts
Science, Trade, Production, Mining, Agriculture, Livestock, Art and War. On the plinth is inscribed a line from his
will in 1835 which reads “My life is for my peoples”. His heir, son Ferdinand I erected this
monument and his dedication plague reads: To Emperor Francis I, the pious, the
just, the brave and the peaceful, the Father of the Nation and his illustrious
father, Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria, 1846.
On the base are four other statues representing Peace, Might, Faith and
Justice. The statue depicting Faith is
my favourite. She is now missing the
star that was on her forehead and the cross she was clasping at her chest. I love her pose, her expression and the verdigris. The blue green patina from years of exposure
to the elements is such a striking colour duplicated in the nearby metal domes.
poignant, monument from a son to his father that illustrates his values and
chronicles his life.