A couple of plaques and a street name hardly suffice when it comes to remembering the greatest composer in history. Which is why Vienna has more than a few monuments dedicated to the genius of Mozart.
The biggest now sits in the Burggarten park that borders the Hofburg Palace.
- Marble statue of Mozart with reliefs depicting scenes from his work and childhood
- First unveiled in 1896
- Great photo motif, particularly when the surrounding park is in full bloom
- NB: the monument is currently being cleaned up so may be hidden from view. The restoration project is expected to finish at the end of 2022
- See also:
A restless genius
Karl König (architect) and Viktor Tilgner (sculptor) were the men behind the monument’s design.
König is perhaps most famous for the Haus der Industrie on Schwarzenbergplatz, officially opened in 1911 and still home to the Federation of Austrian Industries.
Tilgner enjoyed the approval of the emperor: Franz Joseph. This opened a lot of doors in those days. So the sculptor’s busts of playwrights grace the Burgtheater, and his statues decorate such iconic buildings as the museums of art history and natural history, or the Hermesvilla (Empress Elisabeth’s summerhouse).
Sadly, Tilgner died just a few days before the April 21st unveiling of the Mozart monument in 1896. Franz Joseph attended the ceremony and was heard to say (my translation):
It is a source of considerable pain that such a wonderful artist should not be here to witness the completion of his main work.
That unveiling took place in front of the Albertina palace, where the monument gave its name to a nearby café. Unfortunately, the marble Mozart suffered bomb damage during the last days of WWII. After repairs, the statue relocated to the Burggarten park in 1953.
That park itself owes its existence to the deprivations of war, having been built as part of the clear up following the withdrawal of Napoleon’s troops in 1809 (silver linings, etc.).
Mozart’s statue looks out from the top of the monument, one hand turning over the sheet music on the stand next to him. He makes an ideal perch for pigeons, perhaps allowing them to exact revenge for having a birdcatcher as the star character in The Magic Flute.
The front relief on the installation depicts two scenes from Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni. The rear shows him as a young child performing with his father and sister, based on a watercolour by Louis de Carmontelle.
You can see the key part of the original de Carmontelle painting below, taken from a 1764 copy (courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art):
At the right time of year, a perfect bed of flowers spells out a treble clef on the ground in front of the statue.
This is one of your “must-take” photos of any Vienna trip:
How to get to the Mozart monument
The monument sits just inside the Burggarten entrance that leads off the great Ring boulevard, so you can see it as you drive (or ride) past. You might also spot in on TV: it appeared, for example, in an episode of the period detective series, Vienna Blood.
Note that restoration work (expected to finish toward the end of 2022) may mean your view of the monument is blocked temporarily.
Subway: take the U2 line to the Museumsquartier station.
Tram: the Burgring stop is just outside the park entrance and reachable by tram lines 1, 2, 71 and D.
Bus: the 57A bus also stops at Burgring.
Address: Burggarten, 1010 Vienna