Like the fountain in Graz’s Hauptplatz, the figures at the bottom of the Pallas Athene fountain represent rivers. The Danube and the Inn are depicted in this photo; the Elbe and the Vltava are lounging at back of the fountain. The muscular ladies seated at the base personify the legislative and executive powers of the state.
Above them all, with a spear in one hand and winged Nike (victory) in the other, stands Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. Because of the violent shenanigans within the building, the Viennese used to joke that Athena had turned her back on Austrian politics.
The fountain design was the brainchild of the Parliament’s architect, Baron von Hansen. But the actual sculptors – from A.D. 1893-1902 – were Carl Kundmann, Josef Tautenhayn, and Hugo Haerdtl.