Austrian, 18th century
Emperor Charles VI, c. 1708
40 x 33.8 x 7.3 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with the assistance of the Women's Committee
This marble relief of Emperor Charles VI (1685–1740) was made by Paul Strudel, a well-respected sculptor in the Hapsburg court. Strudel succeeded in elevating the Hapsburg dynastic endeavours by producing a series of marble portrait reliefs of the Emperor and his family, which were presented as diplomatic gifts throughout the Spanish and Austrian kingdoms. Only 40 of these portrait medallions, including the WAG work, remain in existence. The profile relief provided Strudel with a link to ancient Greco-Roman traditions in which the faces of rulers were reproduced on coins. Strudel also incorporated stylistic elements from the dynamic sculptures of Gianlorenzo Bernini, marking the introduction of the high Baroque into Austria. At this time, Strudel was also commissioned to produce a series of life-sized marble statues of the living Hapsburgs and their ancestors. Along with his two brothers, the Strudel family also contributed technical innovations such as designs for war machinery and hydraulic engineering for Hungarian silver mines.