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Cultural Policies of the Enlightenment. Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz-Rietberg (1711–1794) and the Arts

Event Label
Book presentation
Organisational Units
University Library
Location Address (1)
Schillerplatz 3
Location ZIP and/or City (1)
1010 Vienna
Location Room (1)
University Library (Reading room, M7)

A book presentation with Gernot Mayer, Max Kunze, and Monika Knofler as part of the series Wer A… sagt of the A…cademy Library


Cornelia Demmer, lute: Karl Kohaut (1726–1784), Adagio—Minuet and Trio in G-Major from Ms. A-Egger
Monika Knofler, former director of the Graphic Collection of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna: introductory words
Gernot Mayer: Kaunitz and Music
Cornelia Demmer: Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714─1787), aria “Gli sguardi trattieni” from the opera “Orfeo ed Euridice” (arrangement C. Demmer)
Monika Knofler in conversation with author Gernot Mayer and Max Kunze, editor and president of the Winckelmann Society
Cornelia Demmer: Karl Kohaut (1726–1784), Allegro from the Sonata à Liuto Solo in D Major

State Chancellor Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz-Rietberg (1711–1794) not only counted among the most influential European politicians of the 18th century but also played a decisive role in the founding of several special schools of the Accademie in der Mahlerey und anderen freyen Künsten (Academy of Painting and Other Liberal Arts) like the Commerzial-Zeichnungs-Akademie (Commercial Drawing Academy) in 1758, the Kupferstecherakademie (Academy of Etching) in 1766, and the Erzverschneidungsschule (School of Engraving) in 1767. Likewise, the publication of the second edition of Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (History of Ancient Art) by the Academy was initiated by him. The integration of all special schools in the Akademie der Vereinigten bildenden Künste (Academy of Unified Fine Arts) that he effected in 1772 and their reorganization made his 20-year term of office as Protector one of the most important phases in the history of the Academy.

For the first time ever, Gernot Mayer systematically researched Kaunitz’s cultural-policy activities for his publication: his engagement for the theater, his influence on building and architecture, on artist education and state promotion of the arts as well as his significance for the establishment of the institution of the museum and art-history as an academic discipline. Kaunitz’s activities are placed in a European context and presented as a case study of cultural policy in the age of Enlightenment. Personal relations around Kaunitz are analyzed, as are the motives, sources of inspiration, and mechanisms of his cultural policies. The author describes his daily interactions with representatives of the sciences and humanities as well as of various branches of art like architecture, painting, theater, music, and dance. Following the example of the salons that Kaunitz had attended in Paris he held almost daily gatherings where artists, scholars, and travelers came together, without regard to their class or descent, to mostly talks about art and literature. Gernot Mayer also was the first to be able to furnish evidence of Kaunitz’s artistic activities as an architect and urban planner. He remained unsuccessful, though, in his years-long efforts for the establishment of an Academy of Fine Arts and Liberal Sciences, which were stymied by the court for budgetary considerations.

Cornelia Demmer
Studies of musicology at the universities of Vienna and Basel, Switzerland, and of historical performance practice with a major in lute at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich with Evangelina Mascardi. 2021 Master of Arts in musical performance at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis under Peter Croton and Julian Behr. Since 2019, recipient of a scholarship of Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now. Cornelia Demmer founded Casulana Lute Consort (lute quartets of the 17th century) and the Radolt Ensemble (specializing on chamber music with obligatory lute). Another focus of her work is on self-accompanied solo singing to the lute.
Aside from her international concert activities as a soloist and continuo player, she can be heard on CD recordings for the labels Naxos und Coviello Classics.

Max Kunze
1964–1969 studies of classical archaeology and philology in Berlin. From 1971 director of the Winckelmann Museum, Stendal, Saxony-Anhalt, since 1990 its president. 1982–1993 director of the Antiquities Collection of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. 1992 adjunct professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; 1990 visiting professor at the University of Antalya; fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum, New York; 2001–2009 honorary professor at the University of Mannheim. Aside from authoring numerous publications, he took part in the archaeological excavations of the Academy of Sciences in Krivina, Bulgaria (1969–1982) and 1993–2021 headed the German team at the excavations in Patara (today Yenisehir) and Rhodiapolis, Turkey.

Monika Knofler
1967–1976 studies of art history, archaeology, and psychology in Innsbruck and Munich. Researcher for the Cultural Land Register of the State of Tyrol, 1978–1982 exhibition curator at the Albertina, Vienna, 1982–1995 UNICEF director based in Geneva and New York. 1995–2012 director of the Graphic Collection of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Main areas of research: cultural and social history of 18th-century Austria, industrial archaeology, 20th-century architecture, contemporary art prints and drawings. Currently works on a publication on the history of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the collecting history of the Graphic Collection.

Gernot Mayer
Studies of art history in Vienna and Venice. Currently research associate at the Department of Art History of the University of Bonn. His research focus is on early modern art in Italy and Central Europe. His publications address, among other things, phenomena of cultural transfer, the history of collecting, and questions of patronship.

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 The event is fully booked.