Model of the column dedicated to the Virgin Mary on Vienna’s Am Hof square: Pietas Austriaca 1551–1739

Veneration of the Virgin Mary was one of the main elements of the Pietas Austriaca, piety of the Habsburgs stylized during the Baroque era as them principal virtue of the dynasty. In 1645 Emperor Ferdinand III pledged to erect a column dedicated to the Virgin Mary on Vienna’s Am Hof square when the city was threatened by advancing Swedish troops. This was replaced in 1667 by the cast bronze column that still stands there today. In 1675 Leopold I commissioned from the Augsburg goldsmith Philipp Küsel a 129 cm tall silver-gilt copy decorated with enamel painting and more than 3,000 gemstones and pearls which took three years to make.

 

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