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The entry of Emperor Franz Joseph I to Cracow

by Juliusz Kossak, 1881

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Watercolor on paper, 390 x 570 mm, signed and dated lower right, Muzeum Narodowe, Krakow, inv. cat, nr. III-r.a. 12.774

This painting shows several pecularities. In contrast to the title, the emphasis is not on the carriage of the Emperor but on the carriage of the City President Mikolaj Zyblikiewicz. The artist has placed his carriage in the centre of the painting. Moreover his landau carriage is drawn by a team of four horses, while the more simple victoria carriage of the Emperor is drawn by a team of only two. The blue and white colors of the harness, the uniforms and the carriage are those of the city of Krakow. The four grey horses are much more conspicuous than the two bay ones which draw the Emperor’s carriage. Also the harness of his horses is regular compared with the gala harness of the grey horses. Zyblikiewicz rides with two grooms on the box seat and a rider on the left hind horse to drive the team. Franz Joseph’s horses are driven by a coachman accompanied by an adjutant on the box seat. The green and yellow Habsburg colors are visible only in the uniform of Franz Joseph and his companion, but not in the harness of his horses. Altogether it seems the City President has chosen for a state escort while the Emperor appeared in a more modest style. Miscommunication or deliberate action ?

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