Home    Vienna, Austria  9/7/2008  
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The Pestsäule was constructed by Emperor Leopold I following the Great Plague of Vienna. The Pestsäule (German for plague column) is located on Graben, a street in the inner city of Vienna and is one of the most well-known and prominent pieces of sculpture in the city. In 1679, Vienna was visited by one of the last big plague epidemics. Fleeing the city, Emperor Leopold I vowed to erect a mercy column if the epidemic would end. In the same year, a provisional wooden column made by Johann Frühwirth was inaugurated, showing the Holy Trinity on a corinthian column together with nine sculpted angel (for the Nine Choirs of Angels). In 1683, Matthias Rauchmiller was commissioned to do the marble works, but he died in 1686 and only left a few angel figures. Several new designs followed, among others by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, who designed the sculptures at the base of the column. Finally, the project management was assigned to Paul Strudel, who based his work on the concept of theatre engineer Lodovico Burnacini. Below the Trinity figure, Burnacini envisioned a cloud pyramid with angel sculptures as well as the kneeling emperor Leopold, praying to a sculpture of faith. Among others, the sculptors Tobias Kracker and Johann Bendel contributed to the column. The column was inaugurated in 1693.