Innsbruck c. 1515

Originally ruled by the counts of Tyrol, the city fell to the Habsburgs in 1363. Duke Friedrich IV of Habsburg ---- resided in the city, which led to a period of intellectual and economic flowering aided by its location as the crossroads of trade routes connecting southern and northern Europe. In 1497-1500 King (later Emperor) Maximilian, one of the leading participants at the double wedding of 1515, commissioned what would become the city’s celebrated landmark, an elaborately decorated balcony on a central administrative building known as the “Golden Roof.”

Maximilian and his court often stayed at Innsbruck, which was his favorite residence. During his reign he also built an impressive palace in the city to indulge his love of hunting. It is therefore not surprising that the city received a special privilege in 1511: the so-called “Landlibel “ freed it from the requirement to provide foreign soldiers for the army in wartime; in return, however, the city was responsible for the defense of its own border.

Other buildings erected in Innsbruck at the turn of the 16th century are an armory located in the quarter of Dreiheiligen, one of the most important weapons’ depots in Europe. Also closely connected with Emperor Maximilian is his mausoleum, where he had planned to erect forty large and a hundred smaller bronze guardian figures, which were cast between 1509 and 1550. Situated in the court church at Innsbruck, it comprises only 28 of the life-size bronze figures – all that were completed.

Innsbruck University, however, was founded long after Maximilian’s death. Its precursor was a Jesuit Latin school (1562). But Innsbruck still played an important role in the establishment of Humanism, which was encouraged and nurtured by a councilor of Emperor Maximilian and regent of Lower Austria, Johannes Fuchsmagen, a native of Hall---- in Tyrol. He resided at Vienna, where he was a stalwart supporter of Humanism.

Christian Gastgeber

© KHM-Museumsverband, Wissenschaftliche Anstalt öffentlichen Rechts.
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