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Audience Waiting Room (c) SKB, Photo: Fritz Simak

Audience Waiting Room

Emperor Franz Joseph gave general audiences twice a week, at which any of the subjects of his empire could attend to present a matter of their concern to the emperor.

In the Audience Waiting Room persons seeking an audience with the emperor waited before being admitted to the audience chamber in order to present themselves on taking public office, to convey their gratitude at receiving a military or civilian decoration or to beg for clemency for themselves or their relatives. Right into his old age, Franz Joseph received around one hundred people on any one morning. Those attending an audience were required to appear in uniform, tail-coat or in the case of ladies, a black dress with a train.

The Audience Waiting Room is decorated with three monumental paintings by the artist Johann Peter Krafft executed in encaustic wax technique. Completed in 1832, they show two political events and a less official scene from the life of Emperor Franz II (I), the grandfather of Emperor Franz Joseph. The painting on the right-hand wall represents the emperor returning from Pressburg (present-day Bratislava) after the French troops had withdrawn from Vienna in 1809. The painting on the left-hand wall depicts the emperor’s state entry into Vienna following the peace of Paris in 1814. The central image, dated 1826, shows Emperor Franz driving out in public for the first time after a long and serious illness, accompanied by his fourth wife, Karolina Augusta, who commissioned the cycle of paintings for this room.

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