Tag Archives: Bruegel

The Restaurant at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, with Beef Goulash and a Side of Bruegel

Since my last posting in November, I’ve been in Vienna, except for one quick sidetrip to Budapest. I’m back in DC now, and I’ll be posting some travel pictures over the next few weeks. Not too many, though, because my last visits to both cities were fairly recent—I spent a couple of weeks in Vienna back in 2014, and some time in Budapest just last year. You can find those earlier posts in the archives. Rather than rehash my notes on museums and galleries, I’ll probably write more about restaurants and street scenes.

One of the reasons I returned to Vienna so soon was that the Kunsthistorisches Museum was commemorating the 450th anniversary of the death Pieter Bruegel the Elder by hosting a massive Bruegel exhibition. Over the past few years, I’ve developed something of an obsession with Bruegel—with all the Bruegels, really, and there are about half a dozen notable artists in that one extended family.

But for the reasons I posted above, I’m not going to post new images from the exhibition.  I’ve already posted a selection of Breugel paintings, which you can see at these links from my last visit to Kunsthistorisches Museum and from my trip to Brussels last Spring. Instead, I’m going to focus on something almost as important.


The Café-Restaurant at the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Image found on the Web.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
—Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

“Small minds discuss people; average minds discuss events; great minds discuss restaurants.”
—Attributed to Fran Lebowitz.

With some notable exceptions, “museum food” doesn’t have a great reputation. My meal at the Kunsthistorisches was not one of those exceptions. The drink and the beef goulash were forgettable at best, but I wasn’t there for the food.

I was there for the room.

The magnificent Café at the Kunsthistorisches Museum is one of the Great Rooms, the kind of place that reminds you that you’re in one of the old imperial cities of Europe.

Image found on the Web.

Image found on the Web.

Pictures don’t begin to convey the breathtakingly beauty of this room.


Oh, yeah. One other thing…

I almost forgot to mention: The Bruegel exhibition?  Oh, It was glorious!

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At the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium — Bruegel and Rubens and Bosch, Oh, My!

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB) is a complex of three connected museums, plus the Museum of Modern Art and two smaller specialized galleries. The Big Three are the Old Masters Museum, the Fin-de-Siècle Museum, and the Magritte Museum. I spent most of my visit with the Old Masters—I didn’t have enough time to do justice to the Fin-de-Siècle Museum, and, for me, Magritte is only interesting in very small doses.


Bruegel

There were four notable artists in the Bruegel family, but it’s Pieter Bruegel the Elder who owns the name. I’ve become rather obsessed  with tracking down his works over the last few years, which is one of the reasons I’d come to in Brussels. The RMFAB has the largest collection of works by Bruegel outside the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

The Census of Bethlehem

The Census of Bethlehem

Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap

Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap

The star of the RMFAB’s Bruegel collection is the magnificent, Bosch-influenced “The Fall of the Rebel Angels”.

The Fall of the Rebel Angels

The Fall of the Rebel Angels


Rubens

Bruegel was a master of detail, filling his paintings with dozens of small figures going about the routine daily business of rural or village life.

I’ve always thought of Rubens as operatic. His figures were dynamic and larger than life, captured in the midst of wrestling with tigers or ascending into heaven. His canvases are huge.

Here’s another link to the Kunsthistorisches, this time to the Rubens entry. (I really need to get back to Vienna!)

Assumption of Mary

Assumption of Mary

Four Studies of a Head of a Moor

Four Studies of a Head of a Moor

The Martyrdom of St Livinus

The Martyrdom of St Livinus


Bosch

This is a better picture of the Hieronymus Bosch triptych at the top of the posting. All the images in this item, except for that one, were found on the Web. I’m using them because there’s no way my amateur museum shots can capture the beauty of the paintings as well as a professional photographer with a tripod and great lighting can.

The Temptation of Saint Anthony

The Temptation of Saint Anthony

Bruegel Comes to Bath

Oh, to be in England.

The Holburne Museum in Bath has opened what looks like a glorious exhibition called Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty, which is designed to “unravel the complex Bruegel family tree, revealing the originality and diversity of Antwerp’s famous artistic dynasty across four generations through 29 works, including masterpieces from the National Gallery, Royal Collection Trust, the National Trust, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.”

I’m a fierce admirer of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, and a somewhat less fierce admirer of Pieter Brueghel the Younger, but I’m embarrassingly ignorant of the relationships among the many members of their extended Flemish artistic family. I wish I could see this exhibition, but I’ll probably have to settle for the catalogue.

Here are some pictures from the exhibition:

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, "Visit to a Farmhouse"

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, “Visit to a Farmhouse”

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, "Spring"

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, “Spring”

Jan Brueghel the Elder, "A Stoneware Vase of Flowers"

Jan Brueghel the Elder, “A Stoneware Vase of Flowers”

Jan van Kessel the Elder, "Three Butterflies, a Beetle and other Insects, with a Cutting of Ragwort"

Jan van Kessel the Elder, “Three Butterflies, a Beetle and other Insects, with a Cutting of Ragwort”

(All of the above photographs are from the museum’s website. The image at the top of this posting is Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s “Wedding Dance in the Open Air”.)


In Bruges Bath

The last time I was in England, I spent a delightful day in Bath, exploring the Roman Baths that gave the city its name…
Bath
…meeting some charming, friendly people at the bright and airy Bath Abbey…

Bath d1

…and hoping to run into Jane Austin, although that wouldn’t have done me any good, since we’ve never been formally introduced.

There’s never enough time, is there? A visit to a place like Bath should last at least the length of a summer. I wish I could have stayed longer, and I hope to return some day, but I had promises to keep….