April 4th, 2004

Back from Vienna

I can happily report that the city of Vienna has several museums well-stocked with well-known masterpieces of Western painting. We hit 3 major art museums, and there were several more we didn't get to.

The oddest museum experience I had was the Gallery at the Academy of Fine Art. This is the art school that Hitler twice applied to, and was twice rejected by, after which he pursued his career as a murderous thug.

The day we went looking for it, we only had a map with German names, and none of us were fluent in German. We were trying to find The Academy of Fine Art, but of course it's not called that. In German it's: Akademie der Bildenden Künste. Well, I knew Akademie was a match, and I knew Künste was a form of the word for Art, but that Bildenden posed a challenge. At first glance you would think it was an Academy for the Building Arts or some such thing. But, no. Fine Arts it was.

(Well, at least that's how the school name gets translated. A more literal translation would be the "Shaping Arts," which would be confusing for English speakers such as myself!)

The building was very much a school building, with active bulletin boards for current activities. But it was Saturday, and the building seemed empty. We climbed some echoing staircases and entered "the gallery," which seemed almost empty too. It was sort of spooky to have all these masterworks on the wall and no one crowding me.

Rhyme of the day:

We found the place, and walked its halls,
Staring in wonder at the walls.