Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Durer, Vermeer, Rubens, Bruegel, Brueghel, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, oh my!

The Kunsthistorische Museum was closed yesterday, so my second trip to it had to wait until today.  The picture gallery splits the northern painters from the Italians, so for variety today it was northern time.

The entrance is certainly grand and wants you to know that the Habsburg collection rivals anything anywhere. 

Click on an image to see a larger version.

In this gallery as in all the others I've visited, a few painters emerge as far better than the others.  Today's first stand-out was Rubens, whose work is both lovely and more varied than I had realized (which is not saying much, given how weak my knowledge of art is).  Deeper into the galleries, a lot of works by Durer, some by Vermeer, a few Rembrandts, many Van Dycks, and a great deal of both Pieter (the elder) Bruegel's and Jan (the elder) Brueghel's paintings were enough to fill my mind and heart.  I didn't take many pictures--once again, the museum does not allow it--but I did capture this famous Brueghel still life.

I can't explain exactly why, but in person it is simply exquisite.

As is Vermeer's The Art of Painting, an amazing piece of work in its time--and today.

Only two Bosch pieces were on display, but both were memorable, and I'm very glad I got to see them..

One of the great joys of a museum is encountering a piece by someone you do not know and finding yourself in love with it.  I know next to nothing about Hugo van der Goes, but I adore this picture.

Though quite famous and a piece with which I was at least cursorily familiar, in person Pieter (the elder) Bruegel's Tower of Babel blew me away. 

Sorry for the haziness; it's my fault, not Bruegel's. 

An oddity I loved was that the museum had allowed this painter to set up her canvas as she worked on her reproduction of Pieter (the elder) Bruegel's The Peasant Dance

Brain full and the museum closing, it was time for a walk to the English cinema where I saw Oblivion.  I enjoyed it well enough, though it's not a great film. 

Along the way, a store window featured this strange latex fetish bunny.  WTF?

On the walk back to the hotel, in a window display across the street and down a bit from the rabbit, this creature perched.

Store windows are different here.


David Drake said...

Dear Mark,
We've got an painting of the day book. Yesterday's was what they titled Allegory of Painting, that Vermeer.
I believe van der Goes worked his entire life in Italy (and often used an Italian version of his name) though he was of course Dutch.
Until cheap four-color printing, all the great art most people saw was copies made on site by people like that woman. That's the background of The Marble Faun, which Sarah can tell you about. Frederic Church (the Hudson River School artist) had lots of (bad) copies of Italian art in his studio.
You're doing well.

Mark said...

Thanks. Yeah, seeing a copy, even a very good one, is not the same as seeing the real thing.


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