Painted by the Creator of the Austrian Coat of Arms.
Franz Joseph held the title of Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, and then Emperor of Austria-Hungary from 1848 until 1916, his 68-year span constituting one of the longest reigns in monarchial history. By the turn of the 20th century, the old ruler presided over a crumbling empire and what history remembers...
Franz Joseph held the title of Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, and then Emperor of Austria-Hungary from 1848 until 1916, his 68-year span constituting one of the longest reigns in monarchial history. By the turn of the 20th century, the old ruler presided over a crumbling empire and what history remembers as Fin-de-Siecle Vienna.
There, amidst intensifying political rivalries and an atmosphere of glittering decadence, there was an extraordinary flowering of science and culture that gave birth to the Modernist movement. Amidst the famed coffee houses could be found artists, composers, medical pioneers, and political visionaries like Arnold Schönberg, Gustav Mahler, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Kraus, Robert Musil, Hermann Broch, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Sigmund Freud and Theodor Herzl.
The granting of nobility was one of great honors of the age of royalty, and by the late 19th century it had become customary to award it to people who had made outstanding contributions in many walks of life. Thus, it is no surprise to find that a physician was thus rewarded by Franz Joseph. This is an ornate, colorful illuminated Patent of Nobility issued to Dr. Sigmond Varga, Budapest, February 28, 1903, with the text in Hungarian. There are seven 12 by 15 inch double-sided vellum pages, one of which contains a beautiful watercolor painting of the coat of arms being granted to Dr. Varga, signed by the artist, Ernst Krahl, who founded the Austrian Ex Libris Society this same year. In 1919, Krahl would create and submit the official drawing for the Austrian coat of arms that was adopted by its Parliament. The manuscript is bound in a red leather book with gold embossed decorations including the Hungarian coat-of-arms. Attached by gilt cords is a round gilt brass case enclosing the large red-wax pendant seal of Emperor Franz Joseph (who did not sign the document).
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