Markus Ritter: Isfahan in Vienna: the Zacherl factory and Orientalising architecture in 19th-century Austria
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai, Via dei Servi 51, 50122 Firenze
Organized by the Max-Planck-Research Group “Objects in the Contact Zone – The cross-cultural Lives of Things”
In the “style” concepts of late 19th-century historicist architecture in Europe motifs drawn from what then was known as “Oriental” architecture came to be used for different buildings types, often conveying a sense of luxury and richness on architecture ordered by the growing elite of the upper middle classes. While orientalising visual features in historicist architecture drew from a variety of “Oriental” countries, references to Persian models seem to have been rare. The lecture will suggest some explanations and demonstrate how, in an exceptional case, “Persian” along with other “Oriental” motifs were used in the Zacherl factory at Vienna. How came Isfahan to Vienna, e.g. what were the visual sources and how were they used by the Austrian architect? How to explain the reference to Persian models in a factory building? The last question looks into the function and the patronage of the building in the context of 19th-century Austria.
Markus Ritter is Full Professor of the History of Islamic Art and Department Chair at the Department of Art History, University of Vienna.