Friday, November 5, 2010

Kunsthistorisches in Vienna

Our family actually seems to enjoy hours in art galleries. This is good since there are an awful lot of art galleries to visit. The major collection in Vienna is at the Kunsthistoriches Museum. We only had two hours so we rented an audioguide and hit the highlights.

The ones I thought were the most interesting were not on our highlighted tour. Don’t get me wrong, the highlights were amazing and I could rave on about many of them. The last two we saw however, just seemed like an extra gift. Both were painted by Paolo Veronese. The first one was called, “Lucrezia”. As I rushed past, my eye caught the beautiful young woman richly dressed and I glanced again and noticed she was holding a dagger to her chest. The painting was interesting because the horror of what is happening in the painting isn’t at first apparent. The story is that Lucrezia was raped by the son of the Roman Emperor and she killed herself. The people of the town rose up in anger, hunted down the son and killed him then deposed the emperor and thus began the republic of Rome. This may or may not be true but I like the fact that the great tragedy of Lucrezia’s life brought about something better for others.

Further along the wall was another painting possibly painted as a partner to Lucrezia. It is called “Judith and the head of Holofernes”. From where I sat looking at Lucrezia I could see Judith quite well but the rest of the picture was more subtle. She was lovely in a richly dressed gown. Only after I got up to take a closer look did I see she was holding the head of a man. The story is that Holofernes had his army outside the gates of her city. In the night, she snuck out and seduced him. When he fell asleep, she cut off his head and saved her city. It seems a bit unlikely as I learned in England that beheading is actually quite difficult and takes a lot of strength. Often, just one chop of the axe wasn’t enough. Also, she looks awfully clean for someone who has just cut off another person’s head. Not that I’d know first hand how messy it would be, but it seems like there should have been a bit more blood; unless, of course, the enemy was bloodless.
Julia's report:
We went to an art gallery in Vienna. The art gallery wasn’t one of the better ones in my opinion, but one of the pictures I liked was of a girl about 8 years old wearing a big fancy dress. We saw this drawing many times first of all it was repeated when she was 1, 3 and once when she was 5. Also other artists like Botero, drew the picture in their way of the painting by Diego Velazquez. I first saw the painting when it was done by Fernando Botero in a National art gallery in Budapest. The story behind it is that this is a princess, and the king had people painting these pictures and sending them off to her future husband. There were lots of other paintings but none of them were as odd or interesting as this one.

Rhys's report:
So, Suzanna's getting ready for a nice bath and looking at herself in the mirror, and then all of a sudden 2 old creeps are staring at her nude. One is on the left crouching down to get a good view; the other is 'hiding' at the end of the bush looking over his glasses. The guy at the front is in such a back breaking position for his age, therefore he must really want to see her bathing. Another thing I found funny about this picture is that the title doesn’t give it away, but it still makes sense in the picture.


maryanncart said...

Loved all of your observations of the wonderful art work you are seeing. I think you should write Kentridge or do a drawing/painting of the picture of the three of you and send it to him! And send it to your classes at Langley! Wonderful trip and experiences.

Love, Grandma Mac (the queer word I have to copy is inest and reminds me of incest from Rhys' comments!

Steve said...

Thanks for helping educate the masses. The whole concept of art galleries is likely going to change considerably in the coming centuries. As everything is digitalized, the digital world is archiving and making so much of this accessible. Even so, there is nothing more impressive than a 20 foot canvas painting depicting a space in time, or story of how life used to be. Knowing the stories makes the paintings infinitely more interesting.

Holly said...

Seeing the picture online is NOTHING like seeing it in real life. I never could have guessed we would find the art galleries as inspiring as we do. A print in a calendar just can't compare to the immense canvas works hanging on palace walls. I was appreciative that the pictures were online so we could share them with the blog but don't let that stop you from seeking out the real thing!

Mynnette said...

Holo and Judith! Studied that in my art history class in Louisville.Horrible story- not my class, Judith- and when I was w/ the Orange Ladies visiting an art gallery in Atlanta, the docent asked if anyone knew what the picture was, I raised my hand- she asked if I wanted to tell the story of it. I shrieked "NO!" later wished I had gently said I was sure she would do a much better job- which she did. You are absorbing SO much. Do you each keep a log? XX - MSW