I love Chicago!
I love Chicago!
From the boat on Monday, some of the better shots . . . .
Zentral Friedhof. Developed by the Viennese city government in the last third of the 19th century. A land mass half the size of Zurich. And a dead population larger than the current population of Vienna.
The old Jewish section of the cemetery was established in 1863, with more than 70K burials by the time Austria was occupied by the Third Reich. Graves were desecrated on Kristallnacht.
I’ve read various sources that note that the Jewish tradition does not decorate graves the way people in my faith tradition might do. But the Jewish tradition does tend the graves to keep them tidy.
So on Sunday, I took a sobering walk through a cemetery where no one tends the graves. At all.
Viennese Jews were deported during World War II, and most did not return. No one is left to tend these graves from the 1800s.
As you can easily see from the panoramic photo, the Jewish section (to the left) is not as tidy as the Protestant section on the other side of the road.
But here’s a lovely idea: watering cans for a deposit, just like grocery carts at Aldi!
By the way, the Wikipedia entry about Central Cemetery is fascinating read!
The Upper Belvedere in Vienna is the home of centuries of Austrian painting and arts.
I spent an afternoon there on Thursday. And what a lovely afternoon it was.
The Baroque Belvedere palaces, Prince Eugene of Savoy’s summer residence, were designed by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt, one of Central Europe’s greatest Baroque architects. (Prince Eugene was a big military genius who was the second most important person in Austria, after the Emperor.) Flash forward to 1955, and the treaty that returned Austria to an independent state was signed in the Marble Hall; and to 1970, when the SALT talks between the USA and USSR were held in the Marble Hall. I walked in that very hall today.
The museum is justly famous for its collection of Gustav Klimt. The entire collection is thoughtfully displayed and coherent in these grand rooms.
Here are some of my favorites from the day:
Iconic paintings of Empress Sisi and Kaiser Franz Joseph I —
A Rodin bust of Mahler–
A Munch painting —
St. Sebastian —
Young Cupid —
And of course, Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss —
I noticed several of these Messerschmidt busts in the Imperial Furniture Museum on Tuesday. I’m glad to know more about them now!:
Here’s another painting that really grabbed me —
The Great Hall of the Austrian National Library is a Baroque wonder. Built by Emperor Karl VI in the 1700s, it has survived the empire, the Nazis, and the tourists. And it’s stunning.
My visit on Thursday could have lasted hours.
Facing the center of the hall is the extraordinary collection from military hero and aesthete Prince Eugene of Savoy, who built the Belvedere as well.
Most any trip to Chicago includes some time at the Art Institute of Chicago, called by some the greatest museum in the world. I never tire of the Impressionists, of the miniature rooms, of the great masters, of the architecture collection, of the paperweight collection.
This trip included the America After the Fall exhibition, the collection of modernist chairs, and some Napoleon stuff. And my old friends Messrs. Seurat and Monet.
From the 1930’s American exhibition, viewed during a private members-only morning:
Today was a full-day excursion to Wells Cathedral in the sleepy little city of Wells, not far from Bristol. I toured the Cathedral, spent some time shopping (new shoes!), had a small picnic lunch on the walk by the moat, then rehearsed and sang Evensong. Dinner completed the long day, at around 9.30 p.m. tonight.
Wells is a beautiful cathedral, and I took many photos today of the 650+ year-old stone work.