Vienna Art: It’s Not All Klimt

Klimt’s Kiss and much, much more!

Gustav Klimt , Kiss 1907/08 ©Belvedere, Vienna

I’ve recently had the good fortune to visit Vienna. Going for a short holiday it was inevitable that I would take in some of the art for which Vienna is famous. This is , after all, the home of Klimt and the Kiss. Having said that, it would have been possible to spend every day visiting one museum or gallery after another, so it was necessary to keep things on a level that would actually allow time to savour this potential feast of art whilst still leaving time to see this beautiful city.

Outside HofBurg Palce Vienna. Image Brian Wild

Although we visited the Kunsthistories Museum, which had lots of renaissance art and ancient sculptures, Vienna is about Klimt, The Secession Movement, Jugendstil, Egon Schiele and Wiener Werkstätt.  The period 1895 -19030’s was the heyday for this fantastic period in Modern & Contemporary art. (I know….along with many other art movements) The Belvedere (Upper) and the Leopold Museum were to be our chosen venues.

Egon Schiele. Mother with Two Children II – 1915 ©Leopold Museum Vienna

Klimt’s Kiss was to be the highlight, but to be honest I found that far from being the epitome of love, it raised so many questions. The woman’s head turned from the man, the fact her hand around his neck is not holding her to him, but is held away from him. That the fingers on his right hand seem not to caress, but to pull forward the woman’s head whilst the left hand holds her head in place. I’m sure there’s nothing new in what I perceived and that many others have been moved to comment about this great work of art. I say on my websites ‘About’ page, I’m not an art critic. But, isn’t art about emotion and the feelings a work of art engenders in each person who see’s it? You cannot truly enjoy art that doesn’t move you in some way.

The Belvedere’s collection of Klimt’s is wonderful and is a must see for visitors to Vienna. Equally so the Leopold Museum whose collection of Schiele’s is equally impressive. The Leopold also has a collection of Wiener Werstätt (Vienna’s Workshop) works which look so modern and contemporary that you want to know where they can be bought!

Wiener Werkstätt exhibits. Leopold Museum Vienna. Image Brian Wild

In addition to the Modern & Contemporary art there are some fabulous sculpture from Auguste Rodin and Belgian George Minne.

I realised when writing this blog that I could write a book about the artworks on display just in these two museums. Vienna also has MUMOK and  The Albertina (who currently have an exhibition of Egon Schiele’s work) for contemporary art lovers, plus more which I didn’t even get the chance to look into.

Vienna is a real treat for lovers of Art, Architecture, History and Opera, which, incidentally, you can watch  live and free from the square outside the Opera House. (as Wagner’s ‘Parsifal’ was showing and is about 5 hours long I’m not sure if the whole opera is shown. But with tickets costing up to €200 each, it worth a look.)