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10 Mar 2011

Joseph Anton Koch in Rome | Drawings from the Graphic Collection of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Joseph Anton Koch, Agnello Brunelleschi Attacked by the Six-Legged Dragon
1803, illustration for Dante's Divina Commedia, pen drawing

© Graphic Collection of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Joseph Anton Koch in Rome | Drawings from the Graphic Collection
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna


Exhibition | 23 March – 30 April 2011 Opening hours: Tue-Sun, 10 am - 6 pm, free access

Claudia Kaiser
+43 (0) 1 588 16-1300
+43 (0) 1 588 16-1898

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Schillerplatz 3
A-1010 Vienna

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Opening | 22 March 2011, 7 pm

Welcome address | Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Introduction | Monika Knofler, Director of the Graphic Collection 

About the exhibition | Cornelia Reiter, collecting curator and curator of the exhibition

About the inventory catalogue | Silke Dürnberger, lector of the publisher Müry-Salzmann

Joseph Anton Koch (1768-1839), a native of Tyrol, definitely ranks among the most important representatives of Neo-Classicist landscape painting and drawing. He spent most of his life in Rome, where he, as a markedly integrative personality, became the center of the German artists' colony. Koch belonged to a generation which aimed at refining the empirical reproduction of nature by means of ideal compositions and the "incorporation of stories," mostly from mythology.

The Graphic Collection of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna possesses one of the largest collections of Joseph Anton Koch's drawings which, with only a few exceptions, were incorporated into the Academy's holdings as a single body of works directly from the artist's estate in 1865. Their range spans from Koch's early Swiss nature studies to his generously conceived cycles of illustrations for cornerstones of European literature (Dante's Divina Commedia, Macpherson's The Works of Ossian, and tragedies by Aeschylus), from mythological and Christian subjects to his late nature studies made in the vicinity of Rome. Together with the artist's drawings, two portraits were added to the collection: a drawing by Johann Michael Wittmer and a caricature by his assistant Hieronymus Hess, which depicts the artist painting the Schmadribach Falls; both reveal a lot of Koch's character and temperament, who seems to have been an affable and amicable man, but also prone to fits of rage and mordant criticism.

The occasion for the presentation in the xhibit space of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna has been provided by the completion of the third volume of collection catalogues on its nineteenth-century works - an undertaking that has been made possible through the Austrian Science Fund's support. More than 850 drawings have been systematically described for the first time - which is all the more important as these works constitute the material intensely studied by Koch's pupils.

A catalogue presenting the works on display, among them Koch's "Views of Rome" cycle of prints and two extraordinary views of Rome recently purchased by the Casa di Goethe, will be published on the occasion of the exhibition shown in Vienna and in Rome. A symposium is scheduled to take place in both venues on the day after the opening.

(text by Cornelia Reiter)

Symposium on Joseph Anton Koch (in German language):

23 March 2011, 9.30 am - 6 pm

Exhibition of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna



Joseph Koch in Rome/156 pages, approx. 60 tables of colours,

approx. EUR 20,--

Cornelia Reiter: Ideal and nature. Drawings und water colours of Joseph Anton Koch and Johann Michael Wittmer
ISBN 978-3-99014-028-4, 336 pages, approx. 800 b/w and colour pictures, 23,5x30,5 cm, approx. EUR 80.-, Müry Salzmann Publisher, Salzburg

Exhibition tournee

25.05.-24.07.2011, Casa di Goethe, Rome

25.05.2011, Symposium at the Austrian Historical Institute at the Austrian Cultural Forum

11.03.-06.05.2012, Museum Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt

The exhibition is presented under the patronage of the President of the European Parliament.