Sunday, December 21, 2008

Vienna: A City of Culture II

Vienna's love of music extends to the visual arts. There are so many quality museums that I doubt I will ever visit them all.

On this visit, I started with the Albertina, a grand Viennese palace built in 1744 and named after the collections' founder, Duke Albert, a son in law of Empress Maria Theresa, who received the palace as a gift from the Emperor in 1794 - nice gift! It stayed in the family until 1919, when the newly formed Republic of Austria "expropriated" the palace and the art collection. Like much of Vienna, it suffered serious bomb damage during World War II, but it has been meticulously restored.

My reason for visiting at this time was to see the Van Gogh Exhibit, which included fifty of his paintings and a hundred of his watercolors and drawings. I have always been a Van Gogh fan and seeing his actual work was inspiring. It was the last day of the exhibit and a national holiday, and the place was jammed! Just another example of how Viennese love art. The crowds made it difficult to view the art, but it was worth it.

While at the Albertina, I noticed a permanent exhibit entitled Monet to Picasso. Well, I was in heaven! There were over 500 paintings by Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Signac, Chagall, Rothko, Munch, and others. Plus this section had recently been reopened after renovations - and there were no crowds. I guess this exhibit was old hat to the Viennese.

I also visited another art museum, but that one requires its own article.

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