Moritz von Schwind (1804–1871)
Austrian Nineteenth-Century Artists in Prints and Reproductions at the ALBERTINA Museum
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the painter and draftsman Moritz von Schwind, born in Vienna in 1804, informed the idea of Romanticism more than most other artists—although, by that time, the epoch was already considered “historically concluded” (Scholl 2012). Speaking to us about a world populated by knights, fairies, and gnomes, the artist’s pictures express the Romantic ideal of and longing for an allegedly ideal past.
Reproduced in the form of prints, Schwind’s images achieved a circulation by which they reached wide segments of the population. Processes of the replication and dissemination of his pictures are the subject of ongoing art historical research. These studies are based on fundamental findings made in the context of the ALBERTINA Museum’s own holdings.
The ALBERTINA Museum is the keeper of ample Schwind holdings. In addition to drawings and sketchbooks, the special collection of prints comprises illustrated books and portfolios that can be regarded as an important addendum improving our knowledge of the artist’s œuvre. Moreover, the ALBERTINA Museum’s collection of prints includes a rare set of 290 large-format albums of works by nineteenth-century Austrian artists that have scarcely been examined scientifically to date. From the very outset, they were intended as an impressive showcase of “Austrian artists of the nineteenth century” by means of prints and reproductions of their works.
The present project is devoted to the digitization and thematic analysis of the ALBERTINA Museum’s Schwind holdings of prints and reproductions and, subsequently, to the scholarly investigation of the above-mentioned albums of Austrian nineteenth-century art. By putting these works online, they will be made available to both international research and individual scholars. With digitization being constantly expanded, it is our goal to firmly establish the presence of Austrian nineteenth-century artists in online databases.
Ursula Drahoss MA (PhD Candidate)