Francesco Borromini and the Stosch Atlas


The "founding father" of the Architectural Collection was Philipp Freiherr [i.e., Baron] von Stosch (1691-1757), to whom the Albertina owes a significant stock of some 2,000 sheets of Italian architectural drawings of the 16th, 17th and early 18th century.
Baron Stosch was one of the most respected of specialists on Roman antiquities, a well-read polymath and at the same time a keen-to-buy amateur and middleman-dealer in sculptural found objects, medals, cameos and copper engravings as well as drawings. Among many other things, he succeeded in striking a veritable mother lode when he acquired the estate of Francesco Borromini, the principal master of Roman Seicento architecture.

In addition, Baron Stosch produced a pictorial atlas, which, in a kind of general panoramic view, united the façades of all the famous and stately Roman buildings in frontal perspectives. Following his death, the complete Stosch Collection was auctioned off in Hamburg in 1769, with 324 glued-together volumes of the "Stosch Atlas", upon the initiative of the library prefect, Gerhard van Swieten, being acquired by the Royal Imperial Court Library in Vienna. These albums were retained in their original form until 1841 but were then unpicked and absorbed into the panoramic collection of the German Museum of Prints and Drawings (Kupferstichkabinett).

When, in 1905, a separate geographic section was established, the material was finally disassembled once and for all. Over 3,800 maps and panoramic city views were added to the collection of maps. The art historian H. Egger began, at this time, to sort through the architectural hand drawings, and to do scholarly research on them. Following the establishment of the Albertina Graphic Collection in 1919, the holdings were once more mingled with sheets from other provenances.



Picture Gallery


Anonymus A
Rome, Colosseum, Floor Plan of the Ground Floor, 16th century

Francesco Borromini
Rome, S.Ivo alla Sapienza, Dome and Lantern

Carlo Rainaldi

Design Sketch for Bell Towers and Façade Remodelling of
St. Peter’s in Rome, orthogonal view

Giulio Romano
Die Porta del Tè in Mantua