Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Vienna, day 3: Artist's Life

This morning, we had a leisurely breakfast and strolled back down to the Hofburg neighborhood to visit the imposing Kunsthistorichesmuseum (Art History Museum). This museum is rated as one of the ten great art collections in the world, and, having seen it, I can see why. If you can name an Old Master, with the expection of DaVinci, odds are there's at least one, and often more than one, in the collection. It seemed like there were a dozen each of Titian and Tintoretto, multiples of Vermeer and Van Eyck, three Rembrandts, a collection of Carravggios, and the ten Bruegels for which the museum is noted, including "Peasant Wedding," and "Hunters in the Snow." The collection tends to be heavily Renaissance and post-Rennaissance, although I was pleased to see a couple of unfamilar Monets and a Renoir. Amazing as it was, this did not end up being my favorite art collection, which honor goes to the Belvedere, described below. Being the state collection of a famously Catholic monarchy, the Museum's collection runs heavily to religious subjects, and one can only see so many "Holy Families" (with or without John the Baptist) and Depositions of Christ without them palling, no matter how wonderful they are. Nevertheless, one of my favorite paintings of the collection was from the religious side, a very charming "Mary Magdalene." She is shown with a rather miffed expression, cheek leaning on one hand, contemplating an apparently empty gold metal jar. I imagined that this was her expression after having been chided by Judas about the ointment, and even Jesus having taken her part has not entirely relieved the sting--.

After having fished the Museum, we went back to the Graben for a light lunch at Wiener Wurstel, one of the best regarded Wurst stands. I tried a "Kasekrainer", supposely a bratwurst containing cheese, but didn't find it very cheesy--perhaps my order wasn't filled right. Georgie had a regular bratwurst, which was good and a bit more spicy than we commonly find over here. A sausage comes on a paper plate, cut into slices, with a small plastic fork, and about half a standard jar of mustard for dipping. A slice of bread is on the side. The exception to the slicing rule is the Frankfurter, which comes whole and people pick up and eat with their fingers like a banana. Every place that sells food sells alcoholic beverages as well, and wurst stands are no exception. I even saw miniature bottles of liquor in a Spar supermarket impulse rack near the cash registers along with the candy bars.

For all that the drinking age is sixteen, I didn't notice many young people drinking alcohol. Even though our hotel was on the edge of the "Bermuda Triangle", a well known club district, we didn't notice any particular rowdy behavior, even fairly late at night. Student styles seem much the same as here, with variations. There seem to be a higher incidence of young men with Mohawk or variation hairstyles there than here, and I don't know what the significance of that is. We saw the occasional tattoo parlor, but fewer visible tattoos and fewer visible piercings than over here.

Demographically, Vienna is a very white city. In the week were were there, I saw exactly three black people that appeared to be residents, and three more that appeared to be American tourists. There are significantly more Asians, both working and studying. There were some brown-skinned black-haired people present who could have been Hungarian, Turkish, Greek, North African, or any Mediterranean
people. Women dress very stylishly. Men tend to look much like they do over here, with a higher incidents of suits and sport coats. Although we found a dedicated hat store, I was most of the time the only man in sight wearing a hat. The lingerie stores emphasise stockings and pantyhose, and more women seem to be wearing them, which I confess is a look I prefer--. I think the bare legged look is getting a bit old, especially in winter. Since we had another palace tour and concert scheduled for that evening, we took the afternoon easy with window shopping.
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