Friday, 8 June 2012

Royal cows in the Augarten park

These two cows in the city of Vienna's Augarten park are called Ritta (l) and Hektor (r) and they are said to be direct descendants of the sculptor Gustinus Ambrosi's original and "most beautiful" Fleckvieh cow which hailed from what is today the upmarket ski-resort of Kitzbühel in Austria.

In 1942 Albert Speer, the Reich's Minister of Armaments and War Production commissioned a marble sculpture to be called Maiden with Cow for the new Reich Chancellery in Berlin as part of Adolf Hitler's dream of Germania. The work was to be conceived as a counterpart to an existing sculpture Youth with Bull by Louis Tuaillon.

Ambrosi was ordered to find a suitable cow.

After searching farms of the Tirol  he finally found a beast of "proportions . . . not easy to find again". The cow, which was to be his model, was called Queen (Königin). 

Ambrosi made several plaster models to show Speer. These can be seen today in the Gustinus Ambrosi Museum in the Augarten.

"This is a cow that in the mayhem of the war caught the gaze of Ambrosi, possibly Speer, and maybe even Hitler and caused them to feel compassion and concern on its behalf" according to the booklet accompanying the Ambrosi exhibtion.

The animal was not slaughtered when the project failed to come to fruition. Perhaps it's life was saved because of a letter written by Ambrosi in February or March 1945 where he begs the authorities for "an additional 300M a month" to sustain the animal.

Whatever the true facts of the story we can today visit the Augarten and see for ourselves the direct descendants of the Queen of the thousand year Reich.



  1. Interesting information there Gwil. What is the weather like where you are - is your part of Europe suffering from the wet weather as we are over here?

  2. Hi pat, We're not having the best summer we've ever had, the weather being generally mixed and basically unsettled. Today's threatened thunder didn't arrive but there was a rumble and a shower - maybe tomorrow.


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