Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Other Vienna Memories

Before we move on to Prague, here are some other memories from our quick stay in the capital of Austria, in no particular order.

The Albertina Museum*--we had plans to see the Austrian Theater Museum one afternoon, but my intel was out-of-date, and it turned out they are closed on Tuesdays now. So we went to the art museum down the street, where we had just missed a Klimt show. So we looked at modernist artwork with a strong interwar representation. Some of Picasso's early work obviously required thought and skill, but Dear Husband and I agreed that some of his later sculpture just looked like he wasn't trying anymore. Maybe that was the point, but it didn't appeal to us as much. The highlight of the visit was deciding to  check out the Prunkräume, rooms of the palace that maintained some of their original decorations and a few furnishings but that also contained works of art from Dürer onward. It's worth going to the website to check out the 360-degree virtual tours of the rooms.

*--Not to be confused with the Albertinum Museum in Dresden, named for a different Albert.

The Belvedere Palace/Museum--the morning had been rainy, but the afternoon was surprisingly beautiful, as the above picture attests, looking north toward the Ring and the center of town. Too bad we needed neither of the umbrellas I lugged around in my bag the whole time... Inside, we wandered through one wing of each floor, taking in Secessionist works like Klimt's _The Kiss_, an exhibit on the differences between Realism and Impressionism, and interwar modern art by the likes of Egon Schiele.

Credit: MAH
Right is "Tafelspitz," Kaiser Franz Josef's favorite meal: boiled beef, creamed spinach, and roasted potatoes.

Left is the "Riesenrad" in the Prater amusement park in Vienna. It was dedicated 105 years ago today, on 3 July 1897 for Kaiser Franz Josef's 50th Jubiläum. The ferris wheel was almost totally destroyed by bombing and fire during WWII and due to reasons of stability only rebuilt with 15 of the original 30 wagons. For a long time it served as a symbol of Austria's reconstruction after the war. Today there is also a museum. We did not get to ride on it this trip but now have something to do next time we're in Vienna. I hear the view from the top is great and also that the ride is slow, so you really get your money's worth.

There was a lot of art to look at in Vienna. The apartment of our hostess, Jutta, was full of paintings. Below, the group gives a short concert in her living room. Next, a select group of tenors, who had been holding secret rehearsals, sang the beautiful love song, "Annie Laurie," which one of them had dedicated to his girlfriend--and then he proposed! She accepted (i.e. "gave her promise true"), and there were few dry eyes. I couldn't actually see the proposal because of the crowd of people, so I marked up this "before" photo.

[Text on photo: He put a ring on it.]

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