Emperor Ferdinand III (died 11. 3. 1657), clad in black armour, with crown and Imperial mantle, lies on a bier in a rock tomb. The hourglass beside the head is a reminder that even monarchs are subject to the transience of life. Nine skeletons perform a danse macabre around him: one of them is bent under the burden of the regal insignia, the others gesture towards the expiration of life, symbolised by the extinguished torch held by the foremost figure. However, a hand appearing from above with a banderole bearing the legend VIVIT (He liveth!) serves as a consolatory reminder of the life eternal. The Imperial wax embosser Neuberger demonstrates his mastery of the medium with the virtuoso execution of the skeletons and the subtle modelling of the Emperor's features; equal impressive, however, is the bizarre composition. The background of rocks covered in glittering, dark-red sand forms a subtle contrast to the pallor of the wax figures. Emperor Leopold I commissioned the work around 1660 in memory of his father.
Wachs, Streusand, Hartholz, Ebenholzauflagen, Glas / bossiert
H. 26 cm, B. 36 cm
H. 36,5 cm, B. 46,5 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Geistliche Schatzkammer
Schatzkammer, GS Kap 244
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