A distinguished academician, Rudolf Weyr (1847-1914) was a most active member in the Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo movements, of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Noticed by the imperial couple, he is the author of a great amount of monuments in Vienna and other cities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His most famous work is the fountain Die Macht zur See, or « The Power On The Sea », raised in 1894 on the Michaelertrakt before the Hofsburg Palace. This fountain represents the marine forces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, twin of « The Power On The Land », representing the armies.
Born in 1847 in Vienna, Rudolf Weyr studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna, where he attended the lessons of Franz Bauer from 1864 to 1872. Meanwhile, he worked in Josef Cesar’s studio and caught the attention of two architects, Gottfried Semper and Carl von Hasenauer, who entrusted him with the project of the great allegories for the Mittelrisalite Kunsthistorisches Museum tympanums. The group of Samson and Dalila, a story from the Bible, he realizes in 1870, allows him to win the Reichel Price. He gets in 1873 the first price for medals at the Universal Exhibition of Vienna.
Rudolf Weyr is hence one of the most distinguished artists of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the imperial couple personally calls him on for the sculptures of Empress Sissi’s Villa Hermes pediments. In 1898, he is entrusted with the statue of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
For the city of Vienna, he made the statue of Charles VI of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (facade of the Maria Theresa square), the decoration of the Natural Museum cupola, two bas-relief for the University (Prosperity and Industry), and two other reliefs for the bronze door of Equitablepalais (1890/1891). From 1894 to 1898, he realized two bronze lions for the Nussdorf docks, as well as a Magyar soldier for the Neue Burg front. Last but not least, Saint Peter’s Church of Vienna is decorated with a bas-relief by Weyr, depicting the legend of its founding by Charlemagne. In several of these works, one can notice the artist’s affection for folkloric costumes, in particular on the Magyar statue and St. Peter’s bas-relief.
On several occasions, Rudolf Weyr also realizes monuments in the memory of great artists : in 1889 he wins the competition for the drama author Franz Grillparzer monument. In 1905, he realizes a statue of the painter Hans Canon, and then the Johannes Brahms Monument on Karlsplatz, in 1908.
1888 onwards, he was Honorary Member of the Academy of Fine Arts, and then University Professor in 1889.