Statues - Hither & Thither

Austria
Wien
Wien (Land)

Neuer Markt (1.)

Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen

Providentia or Donner Fountain

Georg Raphael Donner
Röhlich & Pönninger
1739/1873

Wien /  Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen

Description

In the center of a granite fountain basin is a bronze statue of Providentia, with a large shield showing a Janus head. Providentia is the allegory of foresight or good government, which not at least refers to the good water supply of Vienna.

(click on the photo for an enlargement in a separate window.)
Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen

The pedestal surrounded by four cherubs with water spouting fish (pike, carp, catfish, and salmon), which serve as the actual fountind and together symbolize the Danube.

(click on the photo for an enlargement in a separate window.)
Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen

The basin is surrounded by four allegorical figures representing the rivers in the Archduchy of Austria, and at the same time the represents four ages and temperaments. The two male figures represent the rivers of Upper Austria , the two female those from Lower Austria:

(click on the photo for an enlargement in a separate window.)
Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen
1
Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen
2
Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen
3
Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen
4

  1. Ybbs, a resting girl with a water spouting vessel.
  2. Traun, a youthful figure with a trident aiming to a fish at the bottom of the basin.
  3. March, a female character, with a water spouting shell, and leaning to a relief of a battle (possibly the Romans against the Marcomanni is) and so emphasizes the character of March as a border river.
    Wien - Providentiabrunnen oder Donnerbrunnen
  4. Enns, an old ferryman, with a rudder, leaning against a rock - referring to the Enns as an important route to the Alps.

Inscription(s)

Under the four putti:

RAFAEL DONNER
modellirt und in Blei gegossen 1739.
Restauriert von Martin Fischer
1801.
Die Commune Wien
unter Bürgermeister Dr. Felder 1873
Restaurirt und in Bronze ausgeführt
in der k.k. Kunst-Erzgiesserei von
Röhlich und Pönninger 1873.

Annotation

Unveiled 4 November 1739. In 1770 it was removed because the puritanical Empress Maria Theresa was offended by the nudity of the river figures. The sculptures were handed over to the sculptor Johann Martin Fischer to melt. Fischer however recognized the high artistic value and did not let them melt. On the contrary: he restored the sculptures in 1801 and even accomplished it that the fountain was erected again. But the soft lead suffered greatly from the weather. In 1871, the city of Vienna decided to make copies of the fountain figures in bronze. The new fountain was finished in 1873. The original sculptures are placed in the Unteren Belvedere.

The official name of the fountain is "Providentia Fountain", but that difficult name was not used by the people. They named the fountain after its sculptor, "Donner Fountain".

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

  • Donner, Georg Raphael
  • Enns (personification)
  • Fountain
  • Janus head
  • March (personification)
  • Providentia
  • Röhlich & Pönninger
  • Traun (personification)
  • Ybbs (personification)
  • Location N 48°12'22" E 16°22'14"

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    Item Code: atwi038; Photograph: 9 September 2012
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