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The Most Beautiful Sculptures in Vienna

The Most Beautiful Sculptures in Vienna

Picture of Ricarda Reininger
Updated: 13 January 2017
There is statue or sculpture on almost every corner of Vienna, often dedicated to a famous resident of the city, an Habsburg Emperor, or a particular event. With this guide, we show you the most beautiful and culturally important sculptures in the city.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

This sculpture is set in the Burggarten at the Ringstrasse, and is already visible at the entrance to the park. It shows the famous Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who lived from 1756-1791. The sculpture is made of Laaser marble from South Tyrol in Italy, and the stairs are made from diorite. This memorial portrays the musician with his music stand on a decorated pedestal. The figures on the side of the pedestal show the might of Mozart’s music and point to the art nouveau movement. On the flat relief below, there are scenes from his opera Don Giovanni. And on the back of the sculpture, you will find the little six year old Mozart with his father and sister.

Burggarten, Vienna, Austria

The Emperor Franz Monument

This cast bronze monument of Emperor Franz I was unveiled in 1846 and constructed in Milan. It was commissioned by Ferdinand I, the son of the Emperor Franz I of Austrial (also Emperor Franz II of the Holy Roman Empire. The Emperor is clad in a toga, as Franz I believed that this was the symbol of the multi-ethnic state and should represent Austrian nationality. The four women located around him at the corners signify faith, peace, justice and power.

Innerer Burghof/Hofburg, Vienna, Austria

The Franz Grillparzer Monument

This monument is located in the Volksgarten in Vienna and shows the great Austrian author, who is particularly famous for his dramas. It was unveiled 17 years after Grillparzer’s death in 1889, and shows the larger than life figure himself, as well as having reliefs on the left and right side. The reliefs show some scenes from the authors works. Visitors will find there the Ancestress, Medea as well as The Dream A Life. In the Volksgarten there is also the beautiful monument of Empress Elisabeth and the Temple of Theseus, which are worth seeing too.

Volksgarten, Vienna, Austria

Gestapo Memorial

The Gestapo Memorial is dedicated to the victims of fascism, and was designed by Leopold Grausam Junior in the 1980s. It is located at the place where the former house of the Gestapo once stood, and is comprised of a bronze figure and blocks of stones made of granite from Mauthausen. This sculpture shows a red triangle, which was the badge of the political concentration camp prisoners, and the yellow star that Jews were forced to wear in fascist Austria.

Morzinplatz, Vienna, Austria

Pallas Athene

The statue of Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom, is five meters high and situated directly in front of the Parliament building. She was designed by the sculptor Carl Kundmann. In her left hand Pallas Athene holds a spear, and in right a little representation of the goddess of victory Nike. This sculpture is set on a fountain and is surrounded by some other figures which were created by Joseph Tautenhayn. On the left of Pallas Athene, the woman with the sword signifies the executive, and the woman with the book on the right symbolizes the legislature. The two sculptures in the front with the amphora in the middle symbolize the main rivers in Austria, the Danube and the Inn. And the mermaid in the water itself, with the shell over her head, symbolizes the cooling wet after heated debates.

Dr. Karl Renner Ring, Vienna, Austria

Maria-Theresia Monument

The monument to the Empress, Queen and Archduchess Maria-Theresia von Habsburg-Lothringen is situated in a beautiful area in between the Museum of Art History and the Museum of Natural History. It is the most important monument to the the Habsburg monarchy in the city. It was built over a 13 year period by Kaspar von Zumbusch, and revealed in the presence of the Empress Elisabeth, ‘Sissi’, in 1888. This monument is about 19 meters high and shows Maria-Theresia herself, whose figure is about 6 meters high. Surrounded her are some of the Empress’ companions, such as commanders, consultants and artists, who symbolize the pillars of her reign. Maria-Theresia was, and still is, an important personality for Austria, as she introduced many important reforms like compulsory schooling.

Maria-Theresien-Platz, Vienna, Austria

Memorial of the Republik

The Memorial of the Republik is located beside the Parliament at the Ring. It shows three busts of the most important social democratic politicians of the First Republic, from 1918 to 1938. Jakob Reumman is on the left hand side. He was Vienna’s first social democratic mayor, serving from 1919 to 1923, and decided that Vienna become its own state. In the middle there is Victor Adler, the ‘founding father’ of Austrian social democracy, and on the right visitors see Ferdinand Hanusch. He enacted the laws which are still the basis for the modern welfare state.

Schmerlingplatz, Vienna, Austria

Archduke Karl

This statue of Archduke Karl riding on a horse was constructed by the sculptor Dominik Fernkorn, who was ennobled because of the big success of the statue. This sculpture was a masterly creation, as it was the first time that a monumental statue was supported only at two points. Archduke Karl was the brother of Emperor Franz I and the first commander to defeat Napoleon, at the Battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809. Directly opposite of Archduke Karl is Prince Eugen von Savoyen, and both are located in the open area of the Heldenplatz.

Heldenplatz, Vienna, Austria

Johann Strauss Junior

This sculpture shows the ‘King of Waltz’, Johann Strauss Junior. Visitors will find it in the City Park of Vienna, together with the beautiful figures of Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert, Franz Léhar and Hans Makart. The gold-plated statue of Johann Strauss is the most photographed in Vienna, and is known around the world. Johann Strauss Junior’s Monument was revealed in 1921, and at first it was criticized by the city’s population as it was seen as outmoded. 14 years later the gold plate was removed, but in 1991 it was returned to its original form.

Stadtpark, Vienna, Austria

The Plague Column

Many plagues ravaged Vienna during its history, but the worst one was in 1679, when thousands of people died. The Plague Column was created to commemorate this tragedy, and was set in the now famous Graben Street. It is a Holy Trinity Column in a baroque style, and shows a lot of different figures. The most important and best known one is the Dear Augustin. They say that Markus Augustin, extempore poet, bagpiper and balladeer, survived one night in a plague pit. He was put there after he was pronounced dead, and, after he shook off the illness, he shouted and sang to get free. So he symbolizes this special relationship between Vienna and death, and that death cannot defeat the city.

Graben, Vienna, Austria