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Fischer von Erlach

Fischer von Erlach

Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach’s (1656–1723) Anfang Einiger Vorstellungen der vornehmsten Gebäude so wohl innerhalb der Stadt als in denen Vorstädten von Wien, published in Augsburg in 1719, offers beautiful views of early eighteenth-century Vienna with its principal squares and newly built baroque palaces. Represented on the stone pedestal in the foreground of the book's frontispiece is an illusionistic bird’s-eye view of the city as seen from outside the walls; on either side of the pedestal are baroque palaces with their gardens.

Fischer was a key figure in the development of Austrian baroque architecture during the second half of the seventeenth century and remained its most accomplished representative. His work is marked by its successful blending of contrasting elements into harmonious yet dynamic wholes. His architectural principles were thus akin to the philosophy of his contemporary, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716), who conceived of the world as a unity consisting of monads—self-contained individual building blocks—that aggregated in infinite diversity and perfection. The universal order espoused by Leibniz and represented in Fischer’s architecture was an intellectual reflection of imperial Vienna’s hierarchical society.

 

Aurenhammer, Hans. J.B. Fischer von Erlach. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973.

Image from: Fischer von Erlach, Johann B. Anfang Einiger Vorstellungen der vornehmsten Gebäude so wohl innerhalb der Stadt als in denen Vorstädten von Wien: wovon mit der Zeit das abgehende nachfolgen soll = Commencement de veues et de facades principlaes dans la ville & aux fauxbourgs de Vienne: dont le public aura à attendre la suite avec le tems. Augsburg: Johann Andreas Pfeffel excud. Aug. Vind., 1719.

 

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