Vienna maybe couldn’t challenge Paris for the art capital of Europe, but I think it would fight a fair fight, pulling up its socks and putting on the boxing gloves! Vienna might not have had Picasso or Man Ray or Henri Matisse but it has seen its share of artist’s faces at this time. Some of the world’s greatest painters took up studio in Vienna, studios which are now open to the public, turned galleries. So make an art pilgrimage to Austria’s fine and elegant capital. It cannot disappoint.
The first destination on any art-lover’s list for Vienna should be the MuseumsQuartier. It is an entire neighbourhood dedicated to cultural museums, events and gatherings. Here you will find some of the biggest and most worthwhile galleries in the city like the Leopold Museum (which has one of the largest collections of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt collections in the world), Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK) and the Kunsthalle Wien. Hiding in the nooks between the museums are a number of design and art shops dedicated to displaying and selling local Austrian art and handmade goods.
Open: daily 10:00-18:00
Admission: €9 / reduced €6,50
The Vienna Secession is stop number two. It was first founded in 1897 by a group of artists that were tired of the constraints of the Association of Austrian Artists. They formed their own group with Gustav Klimt acting as the first president. Today the building is not only recognized as an outstanding piece of Austrian architecture, but it houses some of the city’s best temporary exhibitions. In keeping with the founding motives, the Secession continues to bring contemporary and ground-breaking art to the public eye. It is located at Friedrichstraße 12. Open: Tue to Sun 10:00-18:00
Guided tours at 15:00 on Saturday & 11:00 on Sunday
What art tour of Vienna wouldn’t take you to the place where some of the city’s greatest artists were trained? The Academy of Fine Arts is a grandiose pillared building. It was first founded in 1692 and has seen many world-famous artists pass through its doors. Starting as a private academy it officially became a recognized university in 1998. Some of the academy’s most famous students include Joanna Gleich, Egon Schiele, Rudolf von Alt and Otto Wagner. Their painting gallery is worth a visit (Schillerplatz 3) and don’t be shy, roam the halls and see if you can get a peek into one of the studios where students are working!
From here head to one of the city’s greatest museums, the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum). The building itself is one of Europe’s most celebrated pieces of 19th century architecture. It was commissioned by the Emperor as a place to store the collections of Habsburgs. It is not hard to miss as it dominates the Maria Theresien-Platz. The collection is diverse, from Egyptian artefacts to Greek and Roman antiques to sculpture and decorative arts and portraits. There is a lot to see and discover but some of the most important pieces in the permanent collection that shouldn’t be missed are: Dürer’s Adoration of the Trinity, Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath, Velázquez’s portraits of the Spanish royal family and Summer by Guiseppe Arcimboldo.
Open: Tues to Sun 19:990-18:00
Admission: Adults €12 / Reduced €9
If you have some more time check out: Contemporary Art Tower (Stubenring 5), Liechtenstein Museum (Fürstengasse 1), Ernst Fuchs Museum (Hüttelbergstraße 26) and WestLicht (Westbahnstraße 40).
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