Dürer Exhibit at the Albertina Museum, Vienna

Day 72, Tuesday, November 5, 2019

I have been looking forward to visiting this Dürer Exhibit.  I only found out about it in Munich at a drawing Meetup.  This exhibition is the most comprehensive Dürer exhibition  in decades.  It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

It is raining today so it is a good day to spend inside. We purchased our tickets online so no waiting in the lineup!Before we see the Dürer exhibit we visit the other parts of the museum.  There are 20 decorated and restored Habsburg State Rooms with precious wall coverings, chandeliers, fireplaces and stoves, inlaid floors, and exquisite furniture. We pass through these fairly quickly, we have seen quite a few of these kinds of rooms on this trip and I am more interested in the Dürer exhibit.  The floors are beautiful with inlaid wood designs.  We notice that the floors we walk on are actually reproductions placed over the original floors in order to preserve them.  If you look closely you can just make out the seam lines of these rectangular reproduction tiles.

The chandeliers in this room were very beautiful. The most interesting thing in these rooms was the art exhibit on the walls.  We have a print of this Hieronymus Bosch drawing at home.  Unfortunately the drawings and prints are facsimiles.  Very good ones, but facsimiles non-the-less.  This is necessary as works on paper are fragile and can not be displayed for long periods of time. 

There are so many works that I am familiar with and some, like the Munch woodcut that are new to me.  These are: Munch’s The Kiss IV, two Schiele watercolours, Rembrandt’s Elephant, and Rubens’ drawing of his son Nicolas.
Now on to the main event!

It has been decades since so many works by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) have been seen in one place.  There are more than 200 examples of Dürer’s drawings, printed graphics, and paintings on display at the Albertina.

This ‘Self Portrait at the Age of Thirteen’ from 1484 is the first work that I see when we enter the exhibition rooms. I took so many photos but have chosen just a few of my favourite ones for today’s post. Here is ‘Three Studies of Dürer’s Left Hand’ 1493/94.  I like drawing hands and feet and there is much to learn from Dürer. This page of studies was so interesting.   Here is another drawing I have seen so often in books.
‘The Woman’s Bath’ is a pen and ink drawing… and this ‘Illustration for the Apocalypse’ is a woodcut.  Dürer was a master of all mediums. Dürer’s watercolours are exquisite.  This painting is simply titled ‘Iris’. A watercolour study of a ‘Blue Rolle’r from 1500.We enter another room and there on the far wall are three famous works.  Dürer’s ‘Young Hare’ is only exhibited once every five years for a period of no more than three months.  It is just luck that it is on exhibit while we are here.  This is another print that we have at home.  Bob wishes it was the original!! ‘The Great Piece of Turf’ was painted on the largest piece of paper available at the time to portray the plants life sized. ‘The Wing of a Blue Roller’ is quite amazing.  This work is watercolour and body colour on parchment with fine gold lines on the breast plumage to enhance the iridescence of the feathers.  There is no one telling visitors to keep a certain distance from the works, so my nose gets up very close! I liked the study of a bull’s nose too… and this ‘Columbine”… and this page of studies.   OK. I love pretty much everything I see here!  This head of an angel and head of twelve year old Jesus are studies for a larger painting … as is this hand study.  It is fascinating to see the studies and then the finished painting. ‘The Praying Hands’ is a well known Dürer image. I really didn’t know much about Dürer’s oil paintings.  I particularly loved this one.  The Madonna’s face is so beautiful.
Dürer drawing and woodcut of a rhino were made without his ever having seen a rhinoceros!  He drew from a written description of the animal and his imagination. I have always loved this ‘Portrait of a 93 Year Old Man’.  I didn’t know it was done with a brush!   As we are leaving the museum I see this Modigliani painting ‘Prostitute’.  I have always liked Modigliani’s work but haven’t really see very many in person.   One last photo at the Albertina.  Seems I want to sprout wings this trip! We spent four hours here today and I could easily have spent much more time here but this will have to do.  I bought the catalogue for the exhibit.  It is huge, and weighs 6.6 pounds!  Good thing we are near the end of our trip!

I have a Life Drawing Meetup session at 7:00 pm and want to have a bit of a rest before that.  I just realized that I posted tonight’s life drawing photos in yesterday’s blog by mistake!  After being on holidays for so long it is easy to mix up the days.

Alte Museum, Munich

Day 56, Sunday, October 20, 2019

We walk through lots of leaves on our way to the Alte Museum.
No idea what kind of tree has these huge seed pods.  Maybe someone can tell me?
We go past a street of shops with rather expensive merchandise, but I really wonder about these colour combinations! The Alte Museum admission is only 1euro on Sundays!  What a bargain.  This is one half of the double staircase that leads to the exhibition rooms.   We walk through the first door and I see these beautiful pastel paintings by Maurice Quentin La Tour, Jean-Étienne, Joseph Vivien and Rosalba Carriera!  I need to find some books about these artists and study their paintings.  Unfortunately there were lots of reflections in the glass covering these works.  You can even see me in two of them! One of the 46 rooms we visited today had lots of paintings of Venice, completed in the early 1700’s.  I marvelled that Venice looked just the same then as it did when we visited a couple years ago.  The only difference was the number of small boats in the canals and the clothing of the people in the paintings!  There were another 13 rooms that were closed due to the installation of new exhibits. This room was full of paintings by Rembrandt and Franz Hals…including this small self-portrait that Rembrandt painted in 1629 when he was only 23.  This is a special exhibit for 2019,  the 350th anniversary of the year of Rembrandt’s death.  The painting is only 15.5cm x12.7 cm.
I lost count of the number of rooms filled with work by Peter Paul Rubens…  which Included a room with the huge painting of The Great Last Judgement. and another with The Fall of the Damned, which is also very large.   Rubens was a very productive artist! Here is a close up of some of the damned souls.Looking through the doorway, you can see the many more rooms we have yet to explore.  There are ten large galleries in a row along the length of the museum, with many smaller galleries off of these.  I liked how I could stand in front of the study for this Rubens painting and then look into the adjoining gallery and see the finished painting.  There was a gallery full of studies, which I particularly liked.  It is possible to see the way Rubens thought about and worked out his compositions.
There were some Dürer, but no drawings…I do love his drawings.This is a painting done by Leonardo da Vinci when he was only 23.  I don’t remember seeing it before (in books). And then there is Hieronymus Bosch with his very strange creatures, in this fragment of the Last Judgement.  His works always has lots of details to examine closely. We saw paintings by so many other artists I am familiar with: Holbein, Raffael, Botticelli, Titian, Van Dyk, and Velázquez, as well as many new artists that I liked as well.

After a lunch break outside in the sunshine we visit the remaining galleries which contain works from the Neue Pinakothek, which is currently under renovation.  Here we see many of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, including Van Gogh’s the Weaver,

and works by Cézanne, Gauguin, and several more Van Gogh’s. A large painting by Ferdinand Hodler, TheTired of Life, really drew my attention.  I will have to research this artist. There was a Klimt.  I am looking forward to visiting the Klimt Museum when we return to Vienna.

I decide to go back and do a bit of drawing and Bob goes off to check out the Egyptian Museum nearby. On the way home we passed this group of people dancing outside.  They looked like they were having a lot of fun.
Here are my metro drawing from today… and yesterdays drawings in the gardens we visited, which I forgot to post.