Oesterreich-Teschen, Karl von

The equestrian statue of Archduke Karl von Österreich-Teschen (1771–1847), who had defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809, was unveiled in 1859. In this work, Fernkorn skilfully achieved the difficult task of creating a monumentally sized equestrian statue with the horse and rider successfully balancing on the horse’s hind legs. 

The statue of William the Conqueror by Louis and Charles Rochet (1851) in Falaise (France) was most probably the inspiration for the statue of Archduke Karl. Both statues show the rider on a rearing horse, waving a flag in their right hand. 

It is quite an achievement of Fernkorn that a statue with a weight of more than ten tons stands on only two spots, each no larger than a hand. It is said that the stress caused by the question of whether the statue would remain standing or not, was the main cause for Fernkorn’s stroke and subsequent mental illness. Other rumours are that this was caused by last minute requests by the client for changes to the pedestal of the statue. The unveiling of the statue on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Aspern-Essling, attended by 115 veterans of the conflict, was the usual mix of ecclesiastical and secular ceremonies.

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