Last Day in Vienna

Day 75, Friday, November 8, 2019

We had a leisurely morning and I did a bit of packing in preparation for checking out tomorrow.  Early afternoon we catch the train and then a FlixBus to Bratislava, Slovakia to pickup our last rental car.

This photo taken from the bus window is a bit blurry.  We noticed that one of the windmills had a fire the last time we were here.  Today the big arms have been removed. It must be difficult repairing these, they are so high off the ground. When we get to the airport we are worried because the Budget Car Rental booth is closed!  Turns out the attendants are out in the parking lot so after a short wait we pick up our car and head back to Vienna.  I noticed this big mural last trip and managed to get a photo this time.  It is dark by the time we get back to Vienna and we spend the rest of the evening cleaning our apartment and packing for our drive to Budapest tomorrow.

The Leopold Museum, Vienna

Day 74, Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Leopold Museum has the largest collection of Egon Schiele’s work in Vienna as well as several of Gustav Klimt’s works.

Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter. His work is noted for its intensity and its raw sexuality.  Schiele completed many self portraits, including naked self portraits.  I  am intrigued by Shiele’s drawings and was looking forward to seeing his work.  Unfortunately exhibited works on paper are facsimiles, because the actual drawings and watercolours would be damaged by continual exhibit.  They are very good facsimiles, but not the real thing.  It would be nice to look closely at some of his original drawings and watercolour paintings.  I guess I will have to hope to one day visit a special Schiele exhibit, similar to the Dürer one I saw yesterday, in order to see his original work.
 ‘Chrysanthmemen’ was a painting I hadn’t seen before.
Two of Schiele’s naked self-portraits. the first is an oil and the second gouache and black chalk on paper, so it is a facsimile.  These are both larger than I had thought.  The oil painting is 1.5 m x1.5 m and the gouache 63 x 44 cm.
I have decided that I like Schiele’s figurative watercolours and drawings more than his figurative oils.  
The commentary for ‘Small Tree in Autumn’ says that the trunk and branch on the right look like human legs, while the branches of the treetop resemble arms.  I never saw that before and now it is all I can see!  I even see a head just below the arms.  
These two long narrow oils are not what I think of as typical Schiele paintings but I like both of them.

‘Mother and Child’ is a well known painting.  I do love how expressive Schiele’s hands are. Schiele’s 1912 ‘Self Portrait with Chinese Lanterns’ was painted as a companion piece for the ‘Portrait of Wally Neuzil’ who was his muse and partner from 1911 to 1915.  Both these paintings have a gentleness and sensitivity not found in all his work.  I like these very much. Quite different from this self portrait completed the same year.  Schiele was born in 1890 and died in 1918.  He was only 28 years old when he died, yet he created over 3,000 works on paper and around 300 paintings!  I wonder what he would have accomplished if he had lived longer.  He died during the Spanish Flu Epidemic, just three days after his six month pregnant wife Edith. ‘Reclining Woman’ was bigger than I expected.  Originally the woman’s genitals were exposed but Schiele added the white cloth covering in order to be able to show the work at an exhibition in Vienna in 1918. There are several landscapes, and most of them are quite large. ‘The Small Town IV’… and ‘House With Shingled Roof’ were two that I particularly liked.  Although Schiele only painted for such a short time, his work laid the foundations for the Viennese Expressionist movement as well as inspiring other future movements, such as Abstract Impressionism.

There is a small collection of Gustav Klimt’s work. Klimt (1862-1918), was Schiele’s mentor, so it is nice to see their work exhibited together.  This ‘Head Study of a Girl from Hanā’ is thought to have been completed while Klimt was still a student.

‘The Blind Man’ was first exhibited in 1898. ‘Death and Life’ won the Gold Medal at the 1911 International Art Exhibition in Rome.  This painting and ‘The Kiss’, that I saw at the Belvedere,  are two of Klimt’s most well known paintings. I feel very fortunate to have seen both of them in person, as well as all the other amazing works of art I have seen on this trip. As we are leaving the Leopold I notice this painting, which makes both of us laugh!  It is by Albert Birkle and is titled ‘Man with Fur Cap’, or ‘My Brother the Animal’! Near the metro station Bob notices this crane which has just been erected.  Neither of us have seen one with so many arms before.When I saw this building our first day in Vienna I thought it was the Hundertwasser House but it wasn’t.  Turns out that it was designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser!  It is the Spittelau Incinerator which is used to handle Vienna’s garbage.  The environmentally friendly plant produces enough energy to heat more than 60,000 households in Vienna in a year.I have one more life drawing session tonight at Kaffeebar Quentin.  I have attended many life drawing sessions in bars or pubs and the model is always at least partially clothed, so I was quite surprised when our model is completely nude.  We are in the back of the bar, but the model is still in full view of all the other patrons as well as anyone who happens to look in the windows.  Wish I had a scanner, as it would improve the quality of these photos, but I don’t think I can haul one around on holidays!  These are all 5 minute poses. Two ten minute and one twenty minute drawing… and we finished the evening with a twenty-five minute pose.  The people at this session were very friendly and I had met some of them at the other two sessions this week.  I will miss Vienna, they have so many life drawing opportunities.  There is a session almost every day of the week, and lots of them have interesting themes.  

Spanish Riding School and the State Hall National Library, Vienna

Day 73, Wednesday, November 6, 2019

This morning we went to see the Lipizzaner stallions, but not a performance.  We went to the morning training session instead. We got to sit in the 96 euro seats for two hours and watch the horses train and it only cost us 9.5 euros each!   It was great and we both enjoyed it. We found out that to get those 96 euro seats we should have reserved months in advance!  We sat about half way down the side of the arena.No photos are allowed and I was very good and didn’t try to sneak any!  It would have been so nice to have a few photos though.  These two photos were taken from posters advertising the performances.  The stallions are gorgeous!  I did a bit of sketching during the training and that was OK but it was hard to draw and watch what was going on a the same time.  After a bit I decided to just enjoy watching the training session and forget about drawing.

It is unusual to see any of the jumps that are performed in the performances during a training session.  We were very lucky, we saw two different horses perform the capriole!  The first stallion was experienced and he did three caprioles.  This is where the horse jumps straight up into the air, kicks out with the hind legs, and lands more or less on all four legs at the same time. It is a very difficult jump. The second stallion was young and still in training. He managed to get his forelegs up in the jump but the hind legs didn’t quite make it, but he tried three times as well.  We also saw the piaffe, the dance like trotting on the spot and several other of the special dressage movements.

The training session was two hours long.  Four half hour sessions with different horses for each session.  It went by very quickly and Bob said he enjoyed it too, even though he doesn’t love horses near as much as I do! Next stop is the State Hall of the National Library.  It is so amazing!  It is hard to describe such a magnificent place.  The pictures probably do a better job, so here they are.  This is our view when we enter the library.  We both just stop and stare!  This library is nearly 60 metres long and 20 metres high and contains over 200,000 books! One of the first things we see are these ‘secret’ doors the open into rooms with even more books. The cases Bob is standing by held illuminated manuscripts.  I would have loved to be able to climb one of these ladders and pull a book or two off the shelves.
These are from 1400 and 1260!The globes have been in this spot since the mid 1700’s. This statue is in the central oval of the library beneath a painted domed ceiling.

Here is a view looking up at the ceiling…and a wide angled view of the central area.
We sit for a while just absorbing the atmosphere. Looking towards the entrance from where I was sitting… and towards the back of the library. The second level is just as ornately decorated as the first.  I wish we could have gone there as well, but it was not to be. One last photo before we leave.  Here is a short video I made of the inside of the library. When we leave the library we pass the Lipizzaner stables.I zoom in on these two beauties.
We stop at the Minoritenkirche because Bob says it has a mosaic life size replica of The Last Supper.It appears to be painted on tiled panels rather than being a mosaic made with many small tiles.
We didn’t get to see The Last Supper when we were in Italy.  We didn’t know we had to get tickets far in advance, so I guess this is the next best thing.We walk towards the metro through a bit of a park…
where there are lots of people sitting enjoying the sunshine. I was surprised there were so many yellow roses in bloom so late in the year.  Do you notice all the little white signs in the background?  This is a memorial garden and each rose is planted in memory of a person who has passed away. It is a beautiful sunny afternoon.  Warm for November, but we still need our coats. We stop at the Naschmarkt for something to eat.  This roast pig is for sale by the piece, starting at the back end.  Interesting but we decide on something a bit less exotic.I love this huge art nouveau pot supported by four turtles.  Wish I had one like this at home!

We have a bit of time at home before I go to for another life drawing session at a pub called The Roo Bar.  Here are a 5 minute, two 10 minute and a 20 minute drawing. A ten and twenty minute pose. I think I liked these two 5 minute drawings the best.  It was a good night. 

Vienna, Austria to Bratislava, Slovakia

Day 67, Thursday, October 31, 2019

We need to return our rental car today.  We rented it in Bratislava, Slovakia, which is about an hour drive from Vienna.  We got the same type of car, from the same car rental company, for half the price we would have paid if we had rented it in Vienna!

It is so foggy that we can not see the tops of the wind turbines.  There are lots and lots of them along the highway.  When we pass some that are close to the road we can see just how enormous these wind turbines are.
As we get closer to Bratislava the fog lifts, but it is still a very grey day. This is the border crossing into Slovakia.  Because of the European Union there are no border checks or stops, but I do miss getting a stamp in our passports though. We return the car, and catch a FlixBus back to Vienna.  Just as the bus pulls up I realize I have lost a pair of sunglasses somewhere in the airport, but there is no time to go back and look for them.  These buildings under construction near the Bratislava bus terminal have scaffolding all the way up to the top!  I can’t imagine having to work on scaffolding that high off the ground. There is lots of construction in Bratislava, which has a population of 425,000.  We get settled into our apartment and then head out to a life drawing session at 6:30.  When we find the Kaffeebar it is in, we find out that the session was cancelled because it is Halloween.  Oh well, we got to figure out the way there and I will try again next Thursday.  Halloween in Austria is a time when adults get dressed up and party but the children do not go door to door for treats like they do at home.

Day 68, Friday, November 1, 2019

We both enjoyed having a quiet day.  I stayed home all day and Bob went for a walk in the afternoon while I made us a yummy chicken dinner.  Then we had popcorn and watched a movie.  It was a nice relaxing day.

Munich, Germany to Vienna, Austria

Day 66, Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Here are the last of my Munich metro drawings.   I liked this one of the young man with the bandaged nose. Our drive to Vienna was long and uneventful.  We stayed on the freeway and it still took us about 5 1/2 hours.  We had to wait about an hour for our Airbnb host to meet us, but we found a parking space just outside the apartment and our car was warm, so it wasn’t too bad.  It took forever to figure out how to pay for street parking but we finally sorted it out.  We take our rental car back tomorrow so we just need parking for one night.

Our Airbnb apartment looks OK and it is really close to the Underground metro so that is going to be handy.