Today was the day I fell in love with Hundertwasser and Picasso
Vienna Travel Blog› entry 37 of 51 › view all entries
June 17th, 2009 – by: jenn79
I had started off my day a little later than expected.. I woke up at 6am, but went back to sleep a couple of times and realized only at 10am that I had totally overslept. The plan was to get up at 8, have the high acclaimed 17 Euro breakfast downstairs and then leave at 9am in order to get to the Belvedere super early to avoid the crowds.
Dashed over to the U-bahn around 10:40am and made the connection in Praterstern which connects the U2 to the U1. It seems there are quite a few of these connecting areas that are just chock full of awesome shops, I'm talking about full on restaurants and grocery stores - the kind you find in Penn Station in NY, but these are subway stations! Fantastic! I was able to stop off at a grocery store and get something to drink and then stop by a bakery next store and get very delicious filled-crossaints - whoo! I took a second checking out the many offerings.. they like to fill crossaints with stuff and they also had all sorts of pretzel offerings too! =)
If you're going to visit the Belvedere, it's undergoing a bit of construction and I have to say that only the Upper Belvedere is worth seeing.
It's truly an amazing thing to see Klimt's "The Kiss" in person - it's life-sized and what you don't see in most of the replicas is the blank darkness on the right of the painting. This emptiness actually gives the painting a bit more dimension and relevance as it (if at all possible) emphasizes the couple more. Also, there was the painting of Judith and accompanying story - she was a heroine from the Bible that Klimt painted with such arrogance and sensuality - a really gorgeous painting.
I had a nice time here, and the audio guide is absolutely imperative. 4 Euro will give you hours and hours of well-done stories next to some of the more important pieces in the museum.
I left the Belvedere via lower Belvedere and found myself on a terribly busy street that was nowhere near a freaking U-bahn. Oh, and I forgot to mention that following the directions on the website, it took almost 20 minutes to walk from the UBahn to the freaking Belvedere.
Searched in vain for a taxi and didn't see a single one, but somehow, by some stroke of luck, one stopped right in front of me to let some passengers out so I grabbed him and asked to go to the Kunthaus Wein which I couldn't pronounce for the life of me. I managed to communicate with him a little and he agreed to stop for a minute at the famous Hundertwasserhaus before heading over to the museum. YAY! =) I didn't want to waste too much time finding the Hundertwasserhaus because you can't go inside, etc. I wanted to concentrate on the museum and it was a total bonus to be able to stop by this public housing project on the way there.
Just to give a little background on Hundertwasser - he's an artist/architect from Vienna who is best known in architecture for his undulating, uneven floors and the presence of "resident trees".
I have to give a little shout-out here to the staff at Kunsthaus Wein.
There was a Picasso "mythology" exhibit (all sketches) on the third and fourth floors of the Kunsthauswein so there were 4 floors of goodies to see! Once again, the audio guide is absolutely essential unless you already know the histories and tales of these two artists. Which you can't possibly know everything, as they're portrayed so differently in the US as they are in Europe.
Hundertwasser was what I can only describe as a total environmentalist. He thought humans destroyed the earth, believed in incorporating plants into everyday architecture, and envisioned a city much like the opening scenes of Lord of the Rings where the Hobbits lived in these hovels practically indistinguishable from the rolling hills and valleys they were in. No surprise that Hundertwasser spent much of his life in New Zealand - where LOTR was filmed. He has some outrageous quotes all over the walls. Some are wonderful "Real illiteracy is the inability to be creative" while others are inappropriately dogmatic "the straight line is godless!"
It's always great seeing an artists' progression, and not just his "most famous" works. As you can see by the postcards that depict precisely that category of Hundertwasser's work, you kind of wonder how much acid he might have taken in his life to achieve this style.
My favorite part of the exhibition were his wood carved prints - maybe I just like shiny metallic things, hehe! And his stamps! What I would give to have his stamps, but they're highly sought after. He made quite a few for the UN (unbelievable!), a country in Africa (I think Angola), and Cape Verde.
I love little glimpses into an artists' life, and luckily there were quite a few candid ones that I thought were so, so neat. There is one of him in a shabby little room sleeping on a tiny twin-sized bed with iron frame. The walls are peeling, there are pieces of cloth everywhere, a single bulb hangs from the ceiling with a makeshift shade over it, and on the window, he has painted huge raindrops.
Ah, and then I go upstairs to the Picasso exhibit. I didn't expect much, the brochure truly doesn't do the exhibit justice.
What I love most about this exhibit is discovering that Picasso redid his sketches (and probably paintings) over and over and over again in different styles. I was absolutely shocked at some of his "normal" sketches that proved to have such depth and proportion and a natural sense of how light plays.
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