Planet paintings

The cycle of paintings by the court artist Hans Adam Weissenkircher is an allegory of the Golden Age under the rule of the Eggenberg family. The paintings of the seven known planets of the time, which also included the moon, are central to the room's allegorical theme. Grouped around the central sun they embellish the vaulted ceiling, the corners of which are decorated with the representations of the four elements. The twelve signs of the zodiac depicted in large oil paintings complete the scene on the walls of the Planetary Room. Hans Adam Weissenkircher allocated the seven celestial bodies known at the time to the days of the week, seven alchemistic metals, seven coats of arms of the Eggenberg family and the seven most important members of the family. Sophisticated astrological ideas concerning the workings of the universe at the time built on the ancient system of the "theory of signatures", according to which each planet not only has its "children", but also plants, animals, minerals, locations and activities, colours and shapes. All terrestrial manifestations were therefore able to be allocated to a planet.

Jupiter

Jupiter, the Father of the Gods, appears enthroned on mountainous clouds. His raised right hand presents lightening bolts, while his left hand receives a golden statue of Pallas as a symbol of prudence. At his side are three allegorical figures - Justice, Mercy and Providence - with Chains of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Johann Seyfried von Eggenberg was ruler of the Eggenberg family at the time of painting. Jupiter therefore represents his image to be that of the ideal ruler. The eagle at his side is at the same time the heraldic bird of the county of Adelsberg (Postojna).

Venus

Venus is resting on a garden terrace surrounded by rose hedges. Around her cherubs are busy tending the roses. They are cutting and arranging them in vases and making them into garlands. Cupid in the front of the picture is actually poking a fire in which the thorny branches are burned. As the goddess of love, Venus stands for beauty and peace, she rules Friday and the metal of copper. A small temple can be seen in the background of the painting. On the pediment there are five roses, the coat of arms of the Eggenberg Dukedom of Krumau (Český Krumlov). While the Father of the Gods, Jupiter, was connected with Johann Seyfried, his wife, Eleonora Rosalia was personified as Venus with all her feminine attributes in the rose garden.

Mercury

Mercury, the messenger of the gods, descends to earth and delivers the Letters Patent granting nobility to the Eggenberg family. Three allegorical figures - Fortitude, Prudence and Divine Merit - are erecting an obelisk with the Eggenberg coat of arms. The three princely ravens holding a crown can be seen up above in the sky. Mercury, the divine messenger, is to be connected to Prince Johann Anton, the Imperial Ambassador to Rome. Mercury rules Wednesday and its metal is quicksilver (or mercury). The family coat of arms with the three ravens symbolises the Eggenberg dominion in this painting.

Sun

Central to the Planetary Room's allegorical scheme, the huge painting of the sun is also in the centre of the vaulted ceiling. Here Apollo is to be connected to Johann Seyfried's younger son, Johann Anton II. He is guiding the fate of the family into a new and Golden Age. The female figures at the front of the painting personify his virtues: honour, generosity, steadfastness, fortitude, gratitude, love, devoutness and fidelity. The painting connects the sun with Sunday and the metal of gold, the coat of arms of the estate of Aquileia and the allusion to the young Prince Eggenberg as the epitome of perfection and the hope for a glorious future for the family.

 

Schloss Eggenberg and Gardens

Eggenberger Allee 90
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9532
F +43-316/8017-9555
eggenberg@museum-joanneum.at

 

Opening Hours


State Rooms:
1 April - 31 October 2017
24 March -  31 October 2018   
admission with guided tour only

Guided Tours: Tues-Sun and public holidays at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm (exceptions may apply), and additionally by appointment.
Group visits (7 people or more) by appointment only. 

Park and Gardens:
1 April - 31 October: daily, 8am-7pm

1 November - 23 March: daily, 8am-5pm  
1 January 10am-5pm
24 March -  31 October 2018: daily, 8am-7pm
November - March: daily, 8am-5pm