Wednesday, 22 September 2010


19/9/10, Belvedere, Vienna

Another of Vienna's spectacular museums. This one comes in two parts, each one a massive neo-classical pavilion, facing one another at either end of a long, sloping formal garden of gravelled walks and parterres and water features, built on a low hill overlooking the city by Prince Eugene (or Prinz Eugen).

Here they have Klimt's The Kiss, an image whose familiarity can't disguise its perfection, nor the impact all that gold has when you see it in the flesh. They have a lot of ther Klimts too: a portrait of a lady with a spectacular peacock-eye motif cloth on her chair, early impressionist landscapes, and unfinished paintings that are oddly swirly and tentative.

They have lots of Schiele too, the later ones rather gentler than some of the more turtured earlier ones. Among the later pictures there's a nude portrait of a man and a woman and a child squatting, the woman with her legs apart, and a portrait of Schiele's wife.

The gallery puts both Klimt and Schiele into the context of late 19th century Symbolism and of some of the earlier academic work against which the Symbolists and Secessionists and Impressionist and the rest of them were reacting. So there's David's Napoleon (Why here? Victor's spoils?) as well as some proper French impressionists, including Pisarro landscapes, Manet portraits and Monet's garden.

And there's a Kolo Moser picture of an avenue of trees leading to a house, all blue outlines, which could be Cezanne.

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