Photo by VitVit
When hearing the name Mozart, so many different things come to mind. The two biggest would be that he was a child prodigy and create some of the most dynamic, complex classical music that is still adored today. Not only does a few of his compositions survive, but the city of Brno has immortalized his life and tragic end through a sculpture, place in 2008, that can be found just outside the National Theatre Brno-Reduta Theatre. The Reduta Theatre was one of the theatres Mozart performed as when he was a child. Mozart was eleven years old when he and his sister performed together in December 1767 in the Reduta. To understand the meaning behind the physical appearance of the statue, we must look at the life of Mozart.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria. His father, Leopold, came from a family of good standing, but he was estranged from them. Leopold gained recognition in the music world when he wrote a famous violin-playing manual that happened to be published the same year Mozart was born. Mozart’s only living sibling was his sister Maria Anna, also known as Nannerl. Both of Leopold’s children were very talented in music and he saw the opportunities that were before them.
Accounts from Mozart’s life speak that at the age of three he was practicing picking different chords on harpsichord, by four was playing short pieces of music, and by five had started to compose music. When he was six, his father took him and his sister to Munich to play for the Bavarian court and they were so well praised that they took a trip to Vienna to play of the imperial court. His sister would play along with Mozart and was considered just as talented, but little is known about her due to her being a female during the mid-to-late 18th century. It is beleived that she stopped performing because she was of marrying age and was to raise a family.
Leopold thought that he must expose his children’s’ talents in the name of God and as a financial support system for himself. The family was sent all over western Europe and would not only play Mozart’s compositions but also improvise. By the age of thirteen, Mozart was a published composer with help from Johann Christian Bach and Bach’s youngest son who was a prominent figure in the musical world of Paris. His career only skyrocketed from here.
Throughout Mozart’s adult life, Leopold was still heavily involved and it pushed Mozart to appease his father in any way possible. Mozart never seemed happy wherever he went because it was what his father wanted. He finally got out from under his father’s control and started to live a happier life. He ended back in Vienna because of his love for the style of music that was performed. His popularity only grew throughout Europe and was considered the greatest composer of the time at his death. Mozart died of an illness that had taken hold of him while he was visiting Prague on December 5, 1791, in Vienna. The illness was certified as severe miliary fever, an old term for a disease that caused infectious disease, but later it was rheumatic inflammatory fever, a disease that results from improper treatment of strep throat or scarlet fever. One argument by historians is that he may have actually passed from Schönlein–Henoch syndrome, a disorder that causes inflammation and bleeding in small blood vessels.
The statue in Brno of Mozart stands tall as a reminder of what was and could have been in the life and death of one of the most profound composers of the 18th century. The author of the design was Kurt Gebauer and was constructed between 2006-2007 with a reveal in 2008. I could not find much information on the designer. The building of the scupture was the first in the Statues of Brno project. The Statues of Brno project is a revitalization effort to support the arts.
When starting at the base of the statue, there is a five-meter-high sandstone pillar with a statue of what almost looks like a cherub that is cast in black bronze. Black bronze may have been used because during the classical antiquity, it was a highly valuable metal with similar materials found throughout Europe. This could be a reference to Mozart being taken all over Europe and taking different musical styles from everywhere he went to create something new and different. The figure stands on what almost seems like a block that is hanging on an angle while being placed on the sandstone pillar. The figure stands on one corner of the block with one of his legs in the air, as though he is balancing on the block. Some believe that this is a reference to him being acrobatic in the way his personality and music was reflected. Others argue that it is about him balancing the mental stress of being so young and having to hold himself in a certain light.
Continuing to move up the statue, one would notice that the body seems that of a young child which is to represent how young Mozart was when he became famous internationally for his music. Finally, the head is that of a man. The belief of why Mozart’s adult face was placed on his young body was to represent how grown up he was. He was viewed as a peer while in his early teens, not as a young child. Mozart also was known to be young at heart and rebellious but was still expected to act a certain way. This was the reasoning behind having him be naked to express his lifelong desire to be free from his fame and his overbearing father. Overall, the structure seems symmetrical except for the one wing on his back. This one wing was used to represent his tragic end and that he never saw himself as enough when it came to pleasing his father.
Today, the statue is located in a heavily populated area and can be viewed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Anyone and everyone can view the statue and we will most likely have an opportunity to view between June 2 and June 5.
Mrazek, L. (2019). Brno – W. A. Mozart Sculpture. Retrieved March 6, 2019, from https://www.visitbrno.cz/en/brno-w-a-mozart-sculpture/26/Sadie, S. (2019, January 23).
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Retrieved March 6, 2019, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Wolfgang-Amadeus-Mozart#ref15619TIC BRNO. (2018, August 07).
Mozart (Kurt Gebauer). Retrieved March 6, 2019, from https://www.gotobrno.cz/en/place/kurt-gebauer-mozart/