24.12.2012 marks the 175th anniversary of the birth of Empress Elisabeth. In the context of this anniversary, we are concentrating on Elisabeth as a family person. From April we will be looking at Sisi's family in Bavaria, while September will see the start of a focus on her children. In addition, the two famous Winterthaler paintings of Empress Elisabeth and Franz Joseph are to be returned to their sparkling original condition and the bathroom is to be given new wall coverings.

The two paintings, "Elisabeth in Ball Gown" and "Franz Joseph in Gala Uniform" by Franz Xaver Winterhalter © SKB

Bathroom of Empress Elisabeht in the Imperial Apartments © SKB

Siblings of the Empress Elisabeth in the great antechamber © SKB

Portrait of Empress Elisabeth by Anton Kaulbach © BMobV

"Splendour, glory and family ties"

24.12.2012 marks the 175th anniversary of the birth of Empress Elisabeth. Her portrait, painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, is world-famous, but bears the mark of time. The two paintings, "Elisabeth in Ball Gown" and "Franz Joseph in Gala Uniform", together with their frames, are therefore to be handed over to experienced restorers and will return to radiate in all their new glory in the Sisi Museum by Easter.

Visitors will also be impressed by the freshness and colour of the bathroom in the Imperial Apartments. The original wallpapers have been carefully masked and covered with a new wall covering made according to the historical model. Research on the original bathroom equipment is expected to lead to new findings so that the entire sanitary equipment and furnishings can be recreated.

However, Elisabeth's life was not made up simply of room furnishings and portraits, but, most of all, of the people who were close to her, the Wittelsbach and Habsburg families.

Individual yet strong in relationships

Elisabeth grew up in Bavaria with many siblings. Duke Max's "band of rascals" in Bavaria comprised three brothers and four sisters. Later, they all went their separate ways, and often lived at great distances from each other, but yet the family ties were strong and the sense of solidarity impressive.
Elisabeth, as Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, was at the centre of attention, but the fates of her brothers and sisters were no less interesting and often harrowing.

From mid-May, visitors to the Imperial Apartments in the Vienna Hofburg will be able to immerse themselves in the world of the Wittelsbach ducal family in the Empress's Large Antechamber, which will contain an impressive history of love, politics, business, research, and the bourgeoisie and aristocracy in their never-ending search for security and happiness.

Elisabeth's four children were also overshadowed by the Empress. Elisabeth's role as a mother and the individual biographies of her daughters Sophie, Gisela and Marie Valerie and her son Rudolf will be a further focal point of the topics of the anniversary year starting from autumn.

Elisabeth and Franz Joseph as parents

Franz Joseph and Elisabeth had very different relationships with their children. Both mourned the deaths of the firstborn daughter Sophie and Rudolf, the heir to the throne, with Elisabeth falling into a deep depression on both occasions.
Archduchess Gisela received little attention from her mother, but was cherished by her father, while the reverse was true for Rudolf. Although Franz Joseph often criticised him, Elisabeth relationships with him were very good on many levels.
The youngest daughter, Marie Valerie, enjoyed a special position above all in the eyes of her mother. She was regarded as the Empress's favourite child and was overwhelmed with affection.

Biographies of the children

The lives of the Imperial children differed very much, but each was extremely interesting. The detailed biographies can be read and the original exhibits on the individual children viewed in the Trabantenstube in the Imperial Apartments from September.

Sisi on Corfu in the Imperial Furniture Collection

In autumn, the Imperial Furniture Museum will be showing the exhibition Sisi on Corfu. The Empress and the Achilleion. Don't miss the opportunity to travel to Greece in the footsteps of the Empress!

Exhibition preview in the Imperial Furniture Collection

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