Very Subtle Ornaments on Hofburg Palace

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Moderately tasteful ornaments on the Michaelertrakt of the Hofburg

The picture above shows ornaments and decorations on the Michaelertrakt wing of the Hofburg. This part of the Hofburg Palace was built in the 19th century, loosely inspired by Baroque designs of Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. Matching with the imperial madness of its time, the already pretty heavy Baroque designs were enlarged - the result can be seen above: Pomposity at a record-setting level. So why is that?

The worst in terms of over-the-top-historicism at the Hofburg is the Neue Burg, the most characteristic part of the palace which you saw on previous pictures. The person in charge with supervising the construction of the late 19th and early 20th century extensions was Archduke Franz Ferdinand, known as a Scottish pop band and the reason for WWI.

Franz Ferdinand was a bit of a reactionary and extremely conservative in is architectural preferences. He thought that the "best" architecture was the one seen in representative buildings of late Baroque/Rococo, so he wanted to endorse this style and make it even bigger and more impressive. Franz Ferdinand′s rivalry with Art Nouveau architect Otto Wagner is legendary. The Neue Burg was part of an enormous development project, which aimed to create a so-called "Kaiserforum" - the world′s biggest courtyards, embraced by the Neue Burg, the Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches Museum, today′s MuseumsQuartier (then the Imperial Stables) and new buildings to fill the gaps.

Due to a lack of money, no real need for such big buildings and finally the end of the Empire as a result of WWI, the Kaiserforum was never completed. All that is left are some hefty wings and super-sized decorations like the ones above.