Travel Tuesday: Vienna, Austria

By: Rachel Brown

In the Summer of 2015 I found myself travelling Europe in an attempt to broaden my narrow visions of the world, aiming to embrace a culture and people dissimilar to my own. The August saw our journey extend to the beautiful and enthralling city of Vienna, a place, not only aesthetically a feat to behold, but also with a tangible vibrancy for life. Art and an appreciation for the arts seeped from the city’s core. Upon arriving, however, we had little expectations of what we would find. Having never really thought of Vienna as much before this point, we were overwhelmed and shocked to find a place of colour, offering more than just a sun holiday which we had so desired.

An exhibition which immediately took my fancy, was one which delved into the area of Expressionism, showcasing the art nouveau talents of both Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. The Leopold Museum created a platform of art which dedicated its space to the disturbed and distressing sketches of Schiele, capturing the raw feeling of angst and pain in his works. Through the winding number of portraits and sketches, the exhibition expressed its curiosity towards the realm of the inner psyché, allowing it to be explored in tandem to Schiele paintings. The red walls of the exhibition opened the space to look more at the man behind the art, an approach that I realised, must be taken when exploring such powerful paintings.

A quote on the wall gave insight to a diary entry made into Schiele’s sketchbook by Wally, “I declare today on the 8th of January, 1913, that I am in love with nobody in the world”. The feel of the exhibition was one of inner torment, angst and stress. It was interesting then, when rounding one corner, I found myself faced with the colourful dynamism of Klimt’s famous works. Of course however, the two as artists go hand in hand, Schiele often thought as a protege of Klimt, and therefore, the juxtaposition of the dark rooms and works of Schiele against Klimt’s “Death and Life” worked perfectly. There is angst within this painting too, if expressed more subtly than that of Schiele’s works.

Furthering this idea of a discord that blossoms into a harmony, Vienna itself is a city of modernity with almost a justified arrogance about itself, this, placed along side the dark turmoil of Schiele and Klimt, creates a perfect balance. The city was beautiful, the people were interesting, the buildings were incredible and the art was something to behold. As far as a summer ‘sun break’ goes, this did not disappoint. 

ST.ART Magazine