You don’t see a St Sebastian for ages and then, suddenly, two come along at once.
This was painted by Andrea Mantegna in around 1458. It hangs in the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
The Kunsthistorisches has rapidly become my favourite museum…EVAH! I loved it, totally. And not just because of the St Sebastian, though that was a very pleasant surprise.
There is a lot of very beautiful art hanging in it’s many halls including three beautiful Carravaggios, a fair few Brueghels and some melt in the mouth-ish Titians.
It would have been so easy for me to get enthralled in the religious paintings of the Renaissance, marvelling at the symbolism but I really wanted to visit the antiquities of which the museum has in abundance.
I, therefore, spent a delightful hour wandering around the Roman, Greek and Egyptian antiquities, in a constant state of amazement. They have an incredible collection on display; far too much to go into here (I can hear Mirinda’s sigh of relief even as I type) so let me just show a couple of bits.
This wonderful statue (or remains of a statue) depicts a wounded Amazon and dates from around the mid 2nd century. Apart from the fact that I’m fairly certain I’ve not seen a statue of an Amazon before, I think it’s utterly beautiful.
And, secondly, here’s a section of the ceiling in Hall X. It’s quite big but, of course, a long way up as well. I just thought it was exquisite and, of course, being on the ceiling wouldn’t get seen by everyone.
It is called Archaeology and was painted by Franz Xaver Simm specifically for this gallery. All the ceilings and walls of the museum are painted or decorated in ways that enhance the collection held in the room. This, Archaeology, is perfect.
I’m going to stop now as I think Mirinda may be getting a little bit cross…
Once more outside, we hopped aboard a tram (swapping onto a second one at Schottentor) and headed out into the suburbs in the north east. I think we found the edge of the Vienna Woods in a place called Grinzing, where the tram terminated.
It’s a very pretty spot where, I can easily imagine, the Viennese go to for a short break from the city centre. In fact, a bus load of day trippers, complete with backpacks, went trundling passed us as we walked up the road.
We found a lovely little chapel which Mirinda thought was delightful…possibly because it wasn’t in the Baroque style. It was, actually, very simple and peaceful. Exactly what a chapel should be.
We then stopped for lunch in an amazing place where dogs were welcomed and families were having Christmas lunch. We slipped in amongst them and had Weiner schnitzel (my first this trip) and strange Austrian potato salad.
I’ve been remiss in my reporting of the potato salad situation here, in Austria. While I’m sure it’s not strange to Austrians, it is very different to the potato salad we’re used to. The mayonnaise is replaced by some sort of gloopy, yellow stuff which, clearly has oil in it. And then there’s potato. Lots of potato. This makes it sound less than appetizing. However, it is delicious.
The tram back into town was uneventful and comfortable where we jumped on another almost immediately for Freud’s consulting rooms. Actually, waiting for trams has been brilliant. Never longer than six minutes.
Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis, worked out of an apartment in Berggasse, Vienna. There’s not a lot of his stuff still there (his couch, for instance, is in London) but it’s still a marvellous place to visit.
It’s a small museum with an excellent audio guide that explains each room as you wander around and then gives you glimpses into his life and times with commentaries on various objects in the rooms. Fascinating.
Freud was very interested in archaeology and his consulting and waiting rooms were full of antiquities on display from digs all over the ancient world.
There’s a lovely little bit of home movie narrated by Anna Freud, his daughter, who was instrumental in setting up a lot of the museum. I hadn’t realised that she, too, was a psychoanalyst, just like her dad.
It was then back to the hotel after another exhausting day. We need to slow down a bit or we’re in danger of forgetting things we’ve seen.