Egon Schiele Aussichtspunkt
A little-known drawing by Egon Schiele opens up a special view of Rattenberg's historic rooftops to the viewer. A special monument to the Austrian painter has been erected on the Schlossberg.
The 2,30 m high iron tower shows Schiele's print pressed onto glass. The story behind it can be read in four languages. Thanks to the ingenious construction, the drawing can be compared directly with the original - the rooftops of Rattenberg. Schiele's detailed view is astonishing, for it has hardly changed over the past 100 years. Almost every gable, chimney and even the façades match the drawing in terms of perspective.
The town of Rattenberg is nestled between the rocky Schlossberg and the Inn River. The number of inhabitants probably elicits a grin from big city dwellers, as it is Austria's smallest town with approx. 420 inhabitants and 11ha municipal area. On a stroll through the historic alleys, you soon realise that the town doesn't have to be big to offer great things. Behind the medieval façades, Rattenberg holds some secrets.
Little is it known that Egon Schiele - one of the most famous Austrian expressionists - set a drawn monument to the town. Schiele's picture shows a view of the rooftops of Rattenberg from the unique perspective up on the Schlossberg. For a long time people mistook the depiction for the town of Krumau, but it later transpired that the drawing shows Rattenbergs' rooftops. It is astonishing that the view has hardly changed over 100 years later. Almost every detail, no matter how small, the gables, chimneys and even the façades seem unchanged.
Egon Schiele drew the scene in 1917, one year before his death. Schiele had been commissioned by the Imperial and Royal Army to travel to the Tyrol and draw the military's food stores. These were located in Brixlegg, Bolzano and Brunico. The drawings were intended as a report on activities for a planned army commemorative publication, which finally was never published. What remains is the drawing of Rattenberg.
The Schlossberg is without doubt an ideal spot to view the town of Rattenberg, the Inn valley and the surrounding mountains from above. There is now one more reason to pay the town a visit.
- From the Rattenberg P1 car park, take the narrow underpass and follow the signs "Zum Schlossberg". Approx. 400 m and a ten to 15-minute walk to the Schlossberg.
- In the town centre, at the Malerwinkel Restaurant and event centre take the lift to the roof terrace. From there it is a five-minute walk to the Schlossberg.
- Arriving from the eastern end of Rattenberg (train station or car park P4 or P5): immediately after the railway underpass, take the approx. 200 m (10-minute walk) to the Schlossberg.
Alongside Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele is one of the most important visual artists of Viennese modernism. As a ten-year-old, he already stood out with his unique draughtsmanship talent. His breakthrough came around 1910, when he caused a sensation with his new radical style and his revealing depictions of the human body. Egon Schiele, a victim of the Spanish flu, died in 1918 at the age of only 28. Among his best-known works are nudes and self-portraits, for which the artist found himself behind bars for indecent exposure.
Less offensive, but no less impressive, are his drawings of landscapes, which he painted from chosen elevated vantage points. These include the view of Rattenberg that every visitor to the town will be able to admire.
Image: Leopold Museum archive