Vibrant Vienna’s museums
Vienna has more than 100 museums to explore
The Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna
One of Vienna’s most visited tourist attractions is the ensemble of buildings and performance spaces that make up the Museum Quarter. The 335-metre-long facade of the 18th-Century Imperial Stables screens the area off from the street, secluding a neighbourhood of the arts in the middle of a capital city.
The central area of the Baroque building, the former winter riding arena, has been restored and transformed into two halls for the exhibition of contemporary art. Beyond that, in a park-like area with outdoor seating and coffee shops, two museums anchor the complex left and right. At one end, there’s the white cube by Viennese architects Ortner and Ortner that houses the Leopold Collection, with its definitive works by Egon Shiele and Klimt. At the other, there’s the imposing black basalt structure known as Mumok (The Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna), by the same architects. The largest museum for modern and contemporary art in Central Europe, its highlights include Pop Art pieces by Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono.
The Museum Quarter is about 15 minutes away from the Messe Centre by underground. Details of opening hours and current exhibitions are on the websites: http://www.kunsthallewien.at; http://www.leopoldmuseum.org; http://www.mumok.at
Three museums – the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Apartments and the Silver Collection – can be visited with one ticket in the Hapsburg Palace in Vienna’s inner city. The Hapsburg, built in the 13th Century, was the winter home of the Hapsburg dynasty rulers; today it is the administrative centre of Vienna and the official home and workplace of the President of Austria. With 18 groups of buildings and 2,600 rooms, space is not a problem. The apartments of the Empress Elisabeth, affectionately nicknamed Sisi, contain many of the objects belonging to this poignant figure, from the time of her arrival in court in 1854 as the 16-year-old bride of Emperor Franz Josef I to her assassination, aged 60. For hours and ticket prices: https://www.hofburg-wien.at
The Jewish Museum in Vienna occupies two buildings; the main museum is in the Palais Eskeles on Dorotheergasse and another, telling the story of Jewish life in Vienna in the Middle Ages, on Judenplatz. In 2018, from May 30 until October 7, the Jewish Museum on Dorotheergasse presents a special exhibition, ‘The Place to Be’, an exploration of Vienna salons between 1780 and 1930. Most of these ‘networking events’ were hosted by Jewish women whose gatherings were a highlight of the social, economic and political scene of the day. Details: http://www.jmw.at
3 TO READ
TRAVELLING THROUGH THE AGES
Published in 2010, The Hare with Amber Eyes quickly became a bestseller, reprinted repeatedly in its first six weeks and translated into 22 languages. The book traces the journey of a collection of tiny carved Japanese figures – netsuke – and the history of five generations of the staggeringly wealthy Jewish family, the Ephrussi, to whom they belonged. The narrative shifts from Paris to Vienna to England to Tokyo and back to London, but the descriptions of Vienna and the fate of the Ephrussi family at the time of the 1938 Anschluss alone make the book well worth reading – or rereading – if Vienna is in your travel plans.
The vast 19th-Century ‘palace’ that was their Viennese home still stands on Schottengasse opposite the University. The modern wing, replacing one destroyed in the war, was OPEC headquarters.
The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, is available in hardback, paperback, Kindle and audio versions
A LITERARY ACHIEVEMENT
The Radetzky March is a three-generational novel that narrates the rise and fall of the Trotta family, set against the history of Austria from the Battle of Solferino in 1859 to the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1918. Considered one of the top literary achievements of the German language, the novel by Joseph Roth was first published in English in 1933 and in 1995 republished in a new English translation by Michael Hofmann.
The Radetzky March is published in hardback and in a Kindle version
FROM PAGE TO SCREEN
The ‘treatment’ on which the classic motion picture The Third Man was based (with significant variations) is also a haunting novella. A moody masterpiece, the story plays out in the rubble of the “smashed, dreary city of Vienna” just after WWII; Graham Greene’s words bring the vanquished city and the narrator’s pursuit of the war profiteer Harry Lime to life as vividly as the film.
Two versions: a print edition in which The Third Man’= comes coupled with The Fallen Idol, and an enhanced Kindle version of The Third Man integrating film clips, notes from the script and other bonus material into the text