Winter Delights

Sleigh Ride at the Viennese Court to Celebrate the Wedding of the Crown Prince and King of the Romans Joseph to Josepha of Bavaria. Vienna, 7 February 1765.

Monica Kurzel-Runtscheiner

Through skillful editing and animation of historical images, this video brings the fascinating world of courtly sleigh rides of the Baroque period back to life. Using the extraordinarily detailed painting of a Viennese sleigh ride from 1765 exhibited at the Imperial Carriage Museum, Vienna (Kaiserliche Wagenburg), it shows the interweaving of courtly ceremonial and princely representation with sporting pleasure and entertainment. Accompanied by Leopold Mozart’s Musical Sleigh Ride, which was composed almost at the same time, this project gives an idea of the overwhelming impression that sleigh rides, conceived as a Gesamtkunstwerk, once offered the Viennese population.


Painting: Franz Michael Augustin von Purgau and Johann Carl Auerbach:
Great Sleigh Ride of the Viennese Court in the Courtyard of the Imperial Palace, February 7, 1765. Oil on canvas, Vienna 1766.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, exhibited at the Imperial Carriage Museum, Vienna.

Music: Leopold Mozart: Die Musikalische Schlittenfahrt (Musical Sleigh-Ride), Divertimento in F-Major (1755). Ensemble Eduard Melkus, Vienna alias Capella Academica, Vienna. Courtesy of Prof. Eduard Melkus.

Photographic Sources:

  • Museen der Stadt Wien. Wien Museum
  • Kaiserliche Wagenburg Wien (Imperial Carriage Museum, Vienna)
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Picture Gallery
  • Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books

Concept and text: Monica Kurzel-Runtscheiner

Photography and stitching: Andreas Uldrich

Image editing: Sanela Antic

Video and animation: Micha Elias Pichlkastner

Voice and English translation: Alexander McCargar

Monica KURZEL-RUNTSCHEINER, Winterfreuden. Schlitten und Schlittenfahrten in der mitteleuropäischen Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte. In: Wintermärchen. Winter-Darstellungen in der europäischen Kunst von Bruegel bis Beuys. Exhibition Catalogue of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Kunsthaus Zurich, Vienna – Zurich 2011, 94–105.

Stefan SEITSCHEK, Karussell und Schlittenfahrt im Spiegel der Zeremonialprotokolle – nicht mehr als höfische Belustigungen? In: Der Wiener Hof im Spiegel der Zeremonialprotokolle (1652–1800). Eine Annäherung, Innsbruck 2007, 357–434.

Stefan SEITSCHEK, Karussell und Schlittenfahrt: Sport und Prunk am Wiener Hof. In: Wiener Geschichtsblätter, Vol. 66, No. 4/2011, 299–312.

Aus der Zeit Maria Theresias. Tagebuch des Fürsten Johann Joseph Khevenhüller-Metsch. Kaiserlichen Oberhofmeisters (From the Time of Maria Theresa. Diary of Prince Johann Joseph Khevenhüller-Metsch, Imperial Lord Chamberlain). Edited by R. Khevenhüller-Metsch – H. Schlitter. Vol. 6: 1764–1767. Leipzig/Vienna 1917, p. 83 (7.2.1765).

Wienerisches Diarium, 9.2.1765, 3–5.