It seemed a little sacrilegious to actually walk up the steps painted with Monet’s water lilies.  There is a lift which provides wheelchair/disabled access as well should this be needed and an excellent cafe at street level.

When you get to the top of the steps you are greeted by this statue and a view over the streets around you.

We eventually found our way to what we had come to see — The Albertina – Permanent Collection — we coughed up our 11.9 Euro’s each and set off in search of today’s gold. The collection is shown in light airy rooms, all interconnected.

There were comfortable benches allowing people to sit each side, in the middle of each space. I liked the idea of being able to sit and look and then go and appreciate the brushstrokes and techniques close up. Almost all of the pieces were shown as is — without being behind glass or protective cases.

I went specifically to see this — Lily Pond — Monet:

At last I had seen it, but was blown away by its next door neighbor Venice, The Pink Cloud — Paul Signac  —  and the exquisite  — Portrait of a Young Girl  — Renoir opposite.  The brushwork used for Venice, the Pink Cloud was spectacularly detailed using a technique I am familiar with as it is similar to one my mother used. To see it taken to its highest point was a special moment for many reasons.

I am going to go our on a limb here and say the works by Picasso left me cold, maybe I just do not “get” Picasso.  we both loved this one — Schläferin mit Blumen — Marc Chagall.

There were of course “No photography” signs everywhere but everyone was clicking away merrily.  A discrete discussion with one of the staff revealed that they turn a blind eye in most cases but they do not tolerate any flash photography. However this was not my day to be discrete — taking out my camera to take this shot it clattered on the floor — the poor member of staff supervising this room started to give me a stern look and then dived around the corner to stop me see him laughing!

I can recommend an afternoon here  — or longer if you are interested in their archive material as well as the artworks on offer.

Our next destination and on our way home was the Rathaus — which, of course, is pronounced “Rat House” — otherwise known as the New City Hall.   From now on all City Halls/Council chambers will be known as Rat Houses!

The reason for our visit was to investigate the offerings at the free film festival held there every evening in the open air and to possibly taste something from the much touted “Flavors of the World” food exhibition that runs alongside the Film Festival during the summer months and is set in the large gardens to the front of the Rathaus called Rathauspark.

The Rathaus is an immense building whose Gothic architecture demands immediate attention.  It serves as the seat of the Mayor and Council of the City of Vienna as well as being the seat of the Governor and Assembly for the state of Vienna.

Another view showing the large screen for the Film Festival.

We had a couple of drinks and tried some wine — we left the food well alone as most of it was highly spicy and not suitable for my stomach.  We decided to make our way back to the hotel — checking in at the station on the way to see if my card had been retrieved.

9 Comments

  1. Exceptional and delightful work, Nicola, thank you! It must have been amazing to be in the same room as those masterpieces.

    I wonder why there’s so much trust that nobody will touch or threaten the artwork? Is there really no way to stop someone with bad intentions? How close can one get to the paint?

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    1. it is only the second gallery of this significance I have visited as an adult. In other words by choice – I went to a far few museums as a child but never had my imagination fired – or was simply too young to appreciate what I was seeing.

      I am sure the gallery has a very sophisticated alarm system – I would say I got within 6 inches of the paint with a couple of them. There was a set of very modern artworks which were made from huge layers of paint which actually spilled off the canvas in great curves that called for you to reach out and touch – I resisted.

      In the Louvre I actually touched one – but shhhhh don’t tell anyone.

      I am sure we were all monitored on camera – there were a lot of doorways that I am sure would be automatically closed and I suspect there were also other measures in place to prevent any removal or malicious attack.

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        1. That is the picture I went to the Louvre to see – nothing prepares you for how small it is in its bullet proof air conditioned box – it is also roped off – you cannot get within six feet of it , let alone savor the brushwork. It is at the end of a huge hall and you are drawn in towards it – and there are always throngs of people there to see it of course. If you are not careful and you follow the throngs exiting you miss the magnificent Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese which takes up the entire wall it is 6.77 meters high and 9.94 meters wide compared to the Mona Lisa which is 0.7 meters high by 0.5 meters wide !

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          1. I am so glad we turned away from the crowds and had the wow moment ……….. because the Mona Lisa failed on that count. It was a tick off the bucket list but such a shame you could not really SEE it.

            I cannot understand the mentality of those that willfully desecrate great art as a form of protest – they are never going to do anything more than receive condemnation and loose any support or sympathy they might have had up until that moment.

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          2. I feel the same way. You want to get “up close” to a piece of Art in person to appreciate the technique and application of the creation. You can’t do that in front of a velvet rope.

            I guess Art is an easy target for anger. Ruin something beautiful with something ugly.

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