Anton Dominik Fernkorn – a brilliant Austrian sculptor
Anton Dominik Fernkorn is a brilliant Austrian sculptor who paid too high a price for fame and recognition.
Anton Dominik Fernkorn is a famous Austrian sculptor of the 19th century, an outstanding representative of the Neo-Baroque style. He was famous for creating monumental equestrian monuments to famous military leaders and rulers of the Habsburg Empire.
Anton Dominik Fernkorn was a skilled caster, most of the artist’s works are made of bronze. He had a huge influence on the development of Austrian sculpture.
Anton Dominik Fernkorn was born on March 17, 1813 in the German city of Erfurt in the family of the director of a local hospital. The future sculptor was fond of technical sciences from childhood and began to study foundry at school. At the age of 19, he served three and a half years in an artillery brigade.
In 1835, immediately after demobilization, Fernkorn moved to Munich. There he got a job at the royal ore plant. Here, under the guidance of an experienced craftsman Johann Baptist Stieglmeier, the young man thoroughly studied foundry production. And in the evenings, he attended classes with Professor Ludwig Schwanthaler at the Munich Academy of Arts.
In 1840, Anton Dominik Fernkorn moved to Vienna and lived in the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until his death. From Munich, he brought with him letters of recommendation from Stiglmeier, so he could easily get a job at the imperial bronze factory. And after a couple of years, the young master was appointed director of this large enterprise.
At first, the sculptor’s career and personal life were not very successful. For more than a decade, no one paid attention to his original work. Anton Fernkorn was more engaged in production affairs. The situation changed dramatically only after the artist turned 40 years old. In November 1853 he married Elizabeth Varmouth. A month later, he won a competition to create an equestrian monument to Archduke Charles.
The artist’s marriage turned out to be happy, his only daughter was born in him. Fernkorn loved her very much, and the victory in the competition brought the long-awaited fame of the great sculptor. The heyday of his professional career began. Over the next twelve years, almost all the famous masterpieces of genius were created. He became an extremely popular craftsman and completed many commissions for the Austrian crown.
last years of life
But already from the beginning of the 1860s, friends and relatives began to notice that something was wrong with the artist’s psyche. He had panic attacks and constant depression. In 1865, Anton Fernkorn ended up in a psychiatric hospital. Unfortunately, medicine was powerless. The master spent the rest of his life in a hospital ward.
The sculptor was not aggressive and dangerous to the surrounding patients. Therefore, he occasionally visited public places, accompanied by medical staff. From time to time he visited art exhibitions and the opera house. Although he never returned to a healthy and active life. On November 16, 1878, Anton Dominik Fernkorn died in the ward of the Vienna State Psychiatric Hospital at the age of 65.