skip to page content
- Rudolf von Alt (1812–1905) was an Austrian painter, draughtsman, and printmaker known for his city scenes, landscapes, and interiors. Shown here is Alt’s ink drawing with white heightening of the parliament building in Vienna, signed and dated 1885 in the lower right-hand corner. Located in the Innere Stadt (Inner City), or the first district of Vienna (“Vienna 1”), the neoclassical structure was built in 1874–83 by Danish architect Baron Theophil Edvard von Hansen (1813–91). It served as the meeting place of the two chambers of the Reichsrat (Austrian Imperial Council) until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918. The drawing is part of the original artwork for the Kronprinzenwerk (The crown prince’s work), the short name for a 24-volume illustrated encyclopedia of all the Crown lands and peoples of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. It was published in 1886–1902 under the title Die österreichisch-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild (The Austro-Hungarian monarchy in word and picture) in both German and Hungarian. The project was initiated by Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, and coordinated by him until his death in 1889. It reflects his faith in liberalism, science, and progress. Rudolf’s vision was to depict without partiality and as equal all peoples and ethnographic groups of the monarchy.
Title in Original Language
Type of Item
- India ink drawing heightened with white
- The original drawings that served as a basis for the illustrations of the Austrian (“Cisleithanian”) part of the “Kronprinzenwerk” were incorporated as a special collection into the private library of the Habsburg family after the publication of the last volume of the encyclopedia in Vienna 1902. The collection is preserved as a treasure in the Picture Archives Department of the Austrian National Library. It consists of 2548 brush, pen, and pencil drawings by more than 200 artists. The pictures of landscapes, of monuments and of folkloristic and economic themes from areas from Tyrol to Bukovina are of high scientific and artistic value. They are a unique source on the cultural history of the Crown lands and their peoples at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century and the last comprehensive pictorial self-representation of the multi-ethnic empire before its collapse.