Genius and Posterity
    16 February 2018 - 27 January 2019

    An exhibition of the Austrian National Library at the Mozarthaus Vienna

    The name Wolfgang Amadé Mozart stands for musical perfection and a superlative genius. Yet how did Mozart achieve worldwide renown, and how did his fame spread? During his lifetime Mozart had in some cases been awarded the status of the extraordinary, especially by his great contemporary Joseph Haydn. It was Haydn who, in 1785, said to Mozart’s father Leopold that his son was “the greatest composer I know in person and by name” and in a letter dated December 20, 1791, shortly after Mozart’s death, Haydn wrote to Marianne von Genzinger, “Not in a hundred years will posterity again see such talent.”

    On October 29, 1792, Ferdinand Graf Waldstein wrote in the album of the young Ludwig van Beethoven, who was about to set off for Vienna, “Mozart’s genius is still grieving and lamenting the death of his pupil [...] By constant diligence you will receive Mozart’s spirit from Haydn’s hands.”

    The aim of this exhibition is to show this process of how people became aware of Mozart’s greatness and make it possible to experience and comprehend the unbroken, indeed increased popularity of his oeuvre after his death on the basis of a variety of aspects.

    Photo: Janos Blaschke: Mozart, 1807 © ÖNB, Bildarchiv und Grafiksammlung (left)
    Johann Ritter von Lucam: Die Grabesfrage Mozarts, Wien 1856 © ÖNB, Musiksammlung (middle)
    Albert Henry Payne: Denkmal auf dem Mozartplatz (Entwurf), 1842 © ÖNB, Bildarchiv und Grafiksammlung (right)