The gallery of paintings of the Academy of the Fine arts of Vienna is essentially visited for its famous altar triptych of the "Last Judgement" by Hieronymus (Jerome) Bosch.
This work of 1504 belonged to the archduke Leopold of Austria and became part of the collection of the count Lamberg, founder of this museum.
The wings of the triptych open to reveal, from left to right, "Original Sin", "The Last Judgement" and "Hell".
Bosch’s pictures have always fascinated viewers; Philip II, king of Spain, collected his works. If in his time Bosch was regarded as the inventor of monsters and chimeras, today his paintings still hold as an intriguing attraction reflecting mysterious practices of the Middle Ages. I was surprised during my last visit at the Prado museum of Madrid to notice that guides stopped their groups in front of the other famous triptych of J. Bosch " The Garden of the Delights " to explain at length its symbolism, while in previous years they would spend more time on Velazquez and other painters of the Spanish school.
Jerome Bosch seems a rising star in the world of the fans of the esotericism, the mysteries and the sects. Should we see here a collateral effect of the "Da Vinci Code" esoteric passion?
Really, there is nothing esoteric in the gallery of the paintings of the Academy of Vienna. This museum is - still - very quiet and has few visitors. It is a pity because it contains a number of other masterpieces.
In front of the Bosch triptych is a magnificent painting of Dieric Bouts "The Coronation of the Virgin".
The museum also has beautiful sections of paintings of the German school with Cranach, the Italians, the Flemish baroque with Rubens and a collection of Dutch painters with a magnificent Pieter de Hooch "Family picture in a courtyard in Delft" and a portrait by Rembrandt.
The amateurs of Venice will find eight views "veduti" by Guardi.
Fondest memory: Open 10 to 18 h. Closed on Monday.
Entry 7 €,
Reduced price 4 €
Address: Akademie der bildenden Künste 1, Schillerplatz 3
Directions: U, Tram, Bus: Karlsplatz
The Heeresgeschichtliches or Army Museum draws the military history of Austria from the 16th in to the 20th century. The visit starts on the 1st floor with the wars against the Turks who besieged Vienna in 1529 and in 1683. Prince Eugene of Savoy was the victorious defender of Austria.
The Turks left in Vienna 500 bags of coffee what made of the Viennese the first Europeans to sip a cup of coffee.
Then follow the wars against the French, against the Prussians, the Napoleonic wars. Sparkling uniforms and displays of weapons fill the showcases.
We now arrive at the double monarchy Austria-Hungary illustrated by the monogram K&K (Kaiser und König) from the emperor Franz Joseph and to the room dedicated to the assassination plot of Sarajevo in June 1914.
In this room is exposed the car with a hole in the body at the level of the right back seat, and the uniform of the Archduke, the jacket of which kept traces of blood. Franz-Ferdinand died from a bleeding caused by the second bullet which touched the neck. His wife was killed immediately by the first bullet.
We so enter the tragedy of the First World War abundantly illustrated by weapons, equipments and documents.
The dismemberment of the empire and the end of Habsburg followed the end of the war.
A republic is born, but in 1938 it is the Anschluss with Germany and the Second World War illustrated with arms, equipment, uniforms and documents.
The museum also contains a section, dedicated to the Austrian navy. An enormous model of a battleship is shown. Outside are some tanks of WW2.
Heeresgeschichtliches Museum at Arsenal
The museum is located in the building "Objekt N°1" of the Arsenal at approximately 1 km of the Belvedere.
I’ve placed this tip under “General” rather than “to do” because it relates to a travelling and temporary display which we were privileged to see in Vienna. Should it head your way, don’t miss it.
As a surprise bonus, when we reached Vienna we found that we’d been beaten there by the fabled “Terracotta Army” of the great Emperor Qin Shi Huang of ancient China. The first Emperor of China and the most powerful man in the world as they knew it, Emperor Qin was not one to trifle with. First he united China then, irritated by ongoing border incursions by tribal groups from inland, Emperor Qin had the first Great Wall built (when referring to him, don’t even think about the cost of his projects in money or lives).
Eventually, the Emperor’s thoughts turned to ensuring his immortality. Apart from sending search parties abroad for the “elixir of life”, according to the histories of the time, Qin had an enormous and lavish mausoleum built for himself (using 700,000 labourers) in an artificial hill (4km across!) outside the city of Tian. What was totally unknown for two thousand years, was that the Emperor also had a huge underground terracotta army of over 8,000 warriors and 600 horses waiting to defend him in the afterlife. Found by chance in 1974 and since carefully excavated, it is one of the jewels of the ancient world.
The original mausoleum hill is yet to be opened – isn’t it fascinating to wonder if it will be opened during our lifetime and think what marvels it may contain!
Fondest memory: Let’s be clear, the original warriors are very carefully protected and are not about to wander the world at random. So the display we saw was actually a set of nearly 200 life-size replicas(main photo), supported by 1,000 smaller replicas (photo 2) at a scale of 1:10. In the ante-rooms were reconstructions of some of the weapons (who’d have thought that the Chinese had crossbows in about 220BC? - photo3), other lifesize mannequins with clothing of the period(photo 4), and extensive historical information and details of how they were made(photo 5). There also was a theatrette running a film about the terracotta army.
The main display was set out to reproduce the appearance of the original as accurately as possible on a small scale, in a semi-darkened room with seating at the back. There is a German commentary with lightshow but although the lightshow sometimes enhanced the effect, I felt at times it detracted: maybe if I’d been able to understand the commentary it may have been fine! Regardless of any quibbles, this was an absolute knockout display and left no doubt that the Habsburgs, for all the magnificence of their palaces and museums, had been upstaged over 2,000 years earlier by Emperor Qin!
The Vienna display finishes on 26 August 2007 – until then it is open from 1000-2000 and 2100 on Thursdays. You'll find it at:
Kunstlerhaus, Karlsplatz 5, 1010 Wien.
website for the display http://www.terracottaarmee.com
Phone 01 587 96 63 27
If you are wanting to view all or most of the museums that Vienna has to offer, you should consider buying a combination ticket. There are a few available, so you can pick and chose the museums you want to see.
Three different combinations valid for three months:
Gold: € 23.-
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Schatzkammer, Neue Burg, Österreichisches Theatermuseum, Wagenburg, Lipizzaner Museum
Silver: € 21.-
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Schatzkammer, Neue Burg, Österreichisches Theatermuseum
Bronze: € 19.-
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Schatzkammer, Neue Burg
Students should be aware that it is cheaper to buy them seperately at the door for vastly reduce rates. Some are nice enough to let you in for free!
It amuses me to see the uninitiated walking in to a butterfly house. Being a slightly worldy man I had ventured into one before and the first, second and third things you notice are - it's bloody hot in there!
Thus it was as we tourists, attired for the snow covered grass outside, entered the ticket office of the butterfly house. I removed much of my clothing, though not enough to excite any ladies, and strolled in to the exhibit with a smirk on my face as many others just continued in without any disrobing whatsoever. The average time was about five minutes before they became so uncomfortable in there that they decided it might be a good option to discard some overgarments.
Fondest memory: Of course it doesn't bother the butterflies and, if you wait long enough, you might even get one to alight on your jeans as I did.
Vienna's Museum Quartier certainly deserves a general tip because a visit there is so easy and even if you never visit a museum you will have got a feeling for the vibrant arts and cultural life of Vienna. The quarter is situated behind the Ringsrasse around buildings which were the former stables of the hapsburg horses. If you cut through Mariateresenplatz with the giant Kunsthistoriche Museum on one side and the Natural History Museum on the other you only have to cross the road to come to Museumplatz. You enter under an arch and to your left and right is Electric Avenue a really funky, modern shopping and cafe area. Coming through the arch the Leopold museum is on your left, MUMOK ( the modern art museum) is on your right and Kunsthalle Wien is straight ahead of you. The open space in front is always buzzing with activity - music, impromptu performances, etc. When I was there they had winter festivities and a narrow ice-rink for some off-the wall ice-based games. These buildings are essentially galleries, not museums and an hour or so spent in any one of them certainly does not involve any poring over detailed or boring exhibits. Combined tickets areavailabe for Leopold and MUMOK.
The website is www.mqw.at. Check it for details of prices, opening hours, temporary exhibitions etc.
Vienna seems to be a hot-bed for creativity and I wanted to search out the sites relating to some of the most famous people in the world who either were born in Vienna or who had spend creative years in this city.
Naturally, I wasn't successful this time. However, I did master the public transportation system!
Some of my Favorite people associated with Vienna:
Haydn (1732-1809) lived at Haydngasse 19.
Marie Antoinette, (1755-1793) Queen of France, born in Vienna to
Maria Theresa (1717-1780), Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Mozart (1756-1791) Buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave in St. Marx’s,
Beethoven(1770-1827)—lived his last 35 years in Vienna,
Schubert (1797-1828) born in Vienna,
Strauss (1825-1899) Son of
Johann Strauss (1804-1849) Praterstrasse 54, where he composed his waltz, 'The Blue Danube' is now home of the Strauss Museum,
Brahms (1833-1897)—lived his last 11 years in Vienna,
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)—his apartment: Berggasse 19 has become a museum cemetery....And a new favorite,
Michael--"globetrott" was born here and lived on Quelstrasse, check with "globetrott" for the exact number. :-) Also take a look at his Vienna page for more detail.
Vienna became the center point of the Hapsburg empire, as shown by the Congress of Vienna in 1814. This congress kind of remade the boundaries in Europe after Napolean fell from power. It was designed to create a balance in power throughout the region.
Vienna prospered even more under long reign of Maria Theresa during the late 18th century. You will see a large monument to her near the art museums.
She guided Vienna through the Enlightenment and welcomed Mozart to her courtwhen he was 6.
Fondest memory: Laying back on the grass near the Maria Terese monument drawing my view of the monument...so relaxing.
Favorite thing: Vienna has so many sophisticated places to go, the Burgtheater, the Staatsoper, the Spanische Reitschule, the Kunsthistorische Museum, the Belvedere, the Hofburg, Parlament, and the Theater an der Wien. It is truly a "cultural" city. If you plan on attending some of these make sure to bring the appropriate clothing. You definately want to make sure to dress nice when visiting Vienna. You can bring children and still have some fun in Vienna, but this is one city where the opportunities increase dramatically without the kids.
One of the best things about Vienna is the huge variety of special exhibitions and events. During my June stay I was stunned to hear that The Kunstlerhaus on Karlsplatz was staging an exhibition of the Chinese Terracotta Army. These are not the originals but identical in qualityand detail. The first two rooms contain background information, weapons, artifacts etc, then you arrive at a miniature version of the entire terracotta army. Finally you climb some steps into a darkened auditorium-like space and POW!, prepare to be amazed. As your eyes become accustomed to the dimly lit surroundings they emerge; 200 warriors and their horses, frozen in time and standing to attention. An elevated area with some seats allows you to sit and absorb or you can lean on the railings and be within touching distance. About every 30 minutes there is a light show and commentary which is well worth waiting for. The commentary is only in German but everyone can enjoy the dramatic effect of swathes of different coloured lights shifting and highlighting various figures within the group. This is eerie and exciting and at times almost gives the illusion of movement. Just a small taste of the real thing obviously but nonetheless a valuable glimpse into one of the most important recent archeological discoveries. After the exhibition you can progress to the cinema and watch a short film giving the entire story of the Terracotta Army.
Fondest memory: This exhibition finishes on the 26th of August 2007 and I have included it here under 'general tips' as an example ofthe superb range and quality of events and exhibitions ongoing in Vienna. When you arrive, drop into any of the tourist offices and get details of what's on or simply check on line at any of the Vienna tourism websites. If you are in Vienna while this exhibition is still running, it's at Karlsplatz ( trams, 1, 2, 4 ),and is on from 10-20 hr daily except Thursday when it stays open until 21hr. Admission is EUR 12 and 10 with concessions.
Kunstlerhaus, Karlsplatz 5, 1010 Wien.
Favorite thing: Please note that there is a senior entry rate for entry to the KHM. It is Euros 7 for those over 65, as opposed to Euros 10. It is not posted, so one has to ask. There is usually a seniors' rate for most of the entrances to the museums, so ASK. By the way, KMH is the only museum/gallery where 65 is the age for seniors; in all others it is 60.
Favorite thing: Another grand 19th century building. Unfortunately, on this trip we did not have time to venture inside. But one must imagine that given its setting in the city of arts it must be filled with plenty of treasures.
Favorite thing: Visit Kunsthaus Wien (for a pre-look :-))) go to: http://www.vienna.cc/english/hundertwasserhaus1.htm ), and if you like the art of Hundertwasser you can vist also Fernwaerme. Infact it is a factory which uses garbage to heat water and then they use the hot water for heating one of the biggest Hospitals in Europe, called Allgemeines Krankenhaus (AKH). Then don't miss the Karlskirche at Karlsplatz (at the picture) and the Johan Strauss Monument in Stadtpark. The last one could be seen live through web cam at http://www.wien.at
This brand new group of museums, former stables of the Hofburg Palace, consist mainly on the Leopold Museum Kunsthalle Wien and Museum of Modern Art. There are more museums, but these 3 can be seen with the MQ Duo Ticket for 14 euros. If you can visit only one, visit the Leopold.
The black cube and the white cube make a nice contrast with the original palace buildings.
MuseumsPlatz. U-Bahn: Volkstheater (U2, U3) & MuseumsQuartier (U2). Phone: o820/600 600. www.mqw.at
This museum is located in the 'white cube' inside the Museums Quartier. It houses paintings of Egon Schiele, Klimt, Kokoschka, Kubin... Don't be there too early, as the Museum opens at 11 am on weekdays. Closed on tuesdays. 9 Euros (14 euros if visited with the Modern Art and Mumok).