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- This pen-and-ink drawing of a late-19th-century Hutsul wedding is by Thaddäus Rybkowski (1848–1926), a Polish artist whose work featured scenes of rural life in Galicia and Poland. Born in Russian Poland, Rybkowski was educated at the Krakow School of Art. He later came to Vienna, where he studied in the studio of Professor Leopold Löffler-Radymno. The Hutsuls are a seminomadic ethno-cultural group that for centuries has inhabited the region of the Carpathian Mountains. The Hutsul language is considered to be a dialect of Ukrainian, strongly influenced by Polish and Romanian. Rybkowski’s drawing captures many aspects of traditional Hutsul culture, which was known for its elaborate weddings and colorful and intricately made clothing, arts, and crafts. 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.
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- 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.