The Grand Master of the Order of St. George HIRH Karl Habsburg-Lorraine visited the city of Wels on 20 March to open the special exhibition “Maximilian I. Emperor – Reformer – Human Being” in the Castle’s City Museum and the redesigned Sisi Pavilion in the Lichtenegg Castle Park. The special exhibition is the highlight of the Welser Maximilian memorial year on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Emperor Maximilian I. It sheds light on the Emperor’s political aspirations, his reforms and innovations and the glorification of his person after his death. Particular attention is paid to Maximilian’s relationship with Wels, where he died on 12 January 1519. The special exhibition runs until Sunday, 27 October. (Further information at www.wels.at/maximilian2019)
Two items on loan from the Order of St. George are also part of the exhibition: a necklace and a neck cross of Maximilian. The special connection of the emperor to the Order of St. George is expressed in the facsimile of an engraving “Maximilian as St. George” by the artist Daniel Hopfer around 1518. This shows Maximilian’s unmistakable profile in the robe of St. George. “The exhibits from private lenders and traditional associations such as the Order of St. George make a major contribution to the quality of this exhibition,” emphasised Johann Reindl-Schwaighofer, Councillor for Culture.
Emperor Maximilian I was a great supporter of the Order, as Karl Habsburg-Lorraine emphasised: “His attachment to the Order of St George is on the one hand connected with the special veneration of St George, whose name Maximilian I was actually supposed to bear, and on the other hand with the fact that Maximilian cultivated and upheld the knightly ideals throughout his life – and St George still stands for them today. So I am particularly pleased that an exhibition of the same kind is dedicated to this versatile and multi-faceted personality. My heartfelt thanks go to all those who made this possible”.
Another pleasant item on the agenda in the presence of Karl Habsburg-Lorraine was the opening of the renovated Sisi Pavilion. Schloss Lichtenegg was built by Ludwig von Polheim in the 16th century as a moated castle. After changing ownership it became the property of Johann Sigmund Kazianer. During this time the garden was designed in baroque style. From 1890 to 1897 Archduchess Marie Valerie, daughter of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth of Bavaria (“Sisi”), together with her husband Archduke Franz Salvator, leased the castle and garden from the middle-class owner Ludwig Hinterschweiger. Empress Elisabeth visited her favourite daughter Marie Valerie several times in the castle, which is why the pavilion was later given the name “Sisi Pavilion”.