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Paintings & Muses

The main staircase belongs to the historic part of the building and dates back to the opening of the Vienna State Opera House. It is bordered on three sides by arcades and at the front by a marble wall. 

If you turn around, you will see along the balustrade, statues surround the staircase. This is an allegorical representation of the Seven Liberal Arts: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Music, Poetry, Dance and Drama. These statues - made of Carrara marble - symbolize the union of all forces in the realization of a single, cohesive and ideal work. The concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, formulated by Richard Wagner as early as 1849, is said to have been united into the design of this installation.

If you look upwards you will see the fresco on the ceiling, by the Viennese painter Franz Dobyaschofsky. It is titled »The Recognition« and shows a floating figure holding a trombone and a music roll in its left hand and a laurel wreath in its right. This allegorical depiction also takes financial matters into account: a genie, also floating, rains coins down on the honourees.

The two semicircular side pictures (with representations of the wardrobe and theatre painting) are crafted in grisailles technique: the achieved depth-effect is created by the exclusive use of different shades of gray. The contrast with the colorful central image draws it even more into the centre of attention.