I sometimes get a souvenir cap from the cities I visit. At first, I wasn’t sure which of these would be best:
It retrospect, it should have been obvious: The clear winner is the only one with built-in earmuffs.
The paintings of Peter Paul Rubens that I love the most are massive and “operatic,” depicting tremendous events from history and mythology. My favourite paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder capture the small details of everyday life.
About 45 paintings have been authenticated as Bruegel’s work. Kunsthistorisches Museum possesses a third of them, giving it the largest Bruegel collection in the world. I spent close to an hour in the Bruegel gallery, finding something new in each picture every time I looked at it.
Here are some of the paintings in the museum’s collection:
My long-time favourite. This is the first Bruegel painting that hooked me. I used it as my computer wallpaper for months.
Hunters in the Snow
The Fight Between Carnival and Lent
The Tower of Babel
“Stendhal syndrome…is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.”
I experienced this once. It was in the Louvre, in a huge gallery filled w/the works of Peter Paul Rubens. I was…transported.
I knew before I went to Vienna that two of my favourite artists were well-represented at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Rubens was one of them.
The Four Continents
The Miracles of Saint Ignatius Loyola
Philemon and Baucis
The Feast of Venus
Miracles of Saint Francis Xavier
My plan was to spend my last full day in Vienna at Kunsthistorisches Museum — the Art History Museum. I knew from the start that a day would not be enough.
A year would not be enough.
That meant I had to prioritize ruthlessly, limiting myself to the Picture Gallery, which offers European art, and skipping the antiquities collections during this visit. My first stop was the museum’s temporary Velázquez exhibition.
There was another, much smaller temporary exhibition that I’d been looking forward to: “Arcimboldo: Rediscovered” included two of Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s “composite heads,” privately owned and shown to the public for the first time in their history.
The paintings turned out to be lesser works, but I’ve always been fascinated by Arcimboldo. The National Gallery in Washington had a wonderful Arcimboldo show a few years ago that I probably visited a half dozen times.
Then it was on to a slow walk through the dozens of rooms that make up the Picture Gallery. It was overwhelming. Kunsthistorisches Museum has a magnificent collection.
Albrecht Dürer’s “Adoration of the Trinity”
Leonhard Beck’s “Saint George”
Lots to do today!
I hope to post the last of my Vienna stuff in a few hours. That’s item number 32 on my list of “Things To Do Before 2015,” right between “Get finances in order” and “Alphabetize spices.”
The Toast, a relatively new art/literature/culture/humour site, is one of the freshest, funniest sites I’ve found this year. Now, it’s about to make literary history.
The Toast has just published a stunning piece of investigative journalism by British writer Dale Shaw. Shaw, after years of research, has been managed to unearth Charles Dickens’ Internet Search History.
Here’s a sample of what he found:
You can read the entire search history here.