Mozart’s Tamino and Pamina achieve bronzed immortality in a fountain on Mozartplatz; an example of classic architecture from early 20th-century Vienna.
- The 1905 Jugendstil fountain mirrors a scene from Mozart’s The Magic Flute
- Probably only worth a visit for fans of the period (or the music)
- See also:
The fountain’s history
(View of Tamino and Pamina)
The Mozartbrunnen (Mozart fountain) sits at the centre of Mozartplatz (Mozart Square), itself found in the middle of Mozartgasse (Mozart Street).
So no prizes for guessing the theme at work here.
The square and street both got their musical name in 1862, but the fountain didn’t appear until 1905. The unveiling took place on October 8th in the presence of Vienna’s mayor, Karl Lueger (who has since fallen from grace due to his notorious antisemitism).
The Mozartbrunnen is also known as the Zauberflötebrunnen or “Magic Flute fountain” since it depicts a scene from Mozart’s opera of the same name. Indeed, a choir sang O Schutzgeist alles Schönen from that very work at the unveiling.
Honorary guests at the unveiling on October 8th, 1905. Interesting gender mix, and I think we might describe the male clothing as a little bit conformist; photographed by Heinrich Schuhmann (sen.); Wien Museum Inv.-Nr. 30840; excerpt reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
The two bronze figures are the lovers, Tamino and Pamina, who draw on the protective power of the magic flute to survive the “Trial by Water”.
(You’ll find further evidence of Vienna’s love for this particular opera at, for example, the Papagenotor side entrance to the Theater an der Wien.)
Carl Wollek sculpted the figures and Otto Schönthal designed the fountain, which honours the 1791 premiere of the opera in Vienna. Mozart conducted the orchestra himself that day, though the venue (the “Theater auf der Wieden”) no longer exists.
(Suitable water spouts)
Given its date of construction, the fountain falls into one of the more creative periods of Viennese art, when Jugendstil was all the rage.
Schönthal, for example, was a student and colleague of one of the fathers of modern architecture, Otto Wagner. Wollek built several other fountains during his working life, including another Mozart one in St Gilgen, near Salzburg.
Despite its artistic heritage, the fountain lies somewhat apart from the usual tourist haunts. So you may only wish to see it if you’re a fan of Mozart or turn-of-the-century design.
How to get to the Mozart fountain
Mozartgasse connects two of Vienna’s largest streets (Favoritenstraße and Wiedner Hauptstraße) and has subway and tram stops nearby.
Subway: The closest station is Taubstummengasse on the U1 line, which is about a 3-minute walk away.
Tram: The lines 1 and 62 both stop at Paulanergasse, which is also 2-3 minutes from Mozartplatz.
Address: Mozartplatz, 1040 Vienna