Jun 25, 2014

The Beefcake Museum of Vienna

I love museums, especially museums with ancient Egyptian antiquities, Greek and Roman sculptures, or a good selection of European paintings from the Renaissance to the present.  The Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna has all three, plus the best ambiance of any museum anywhere: cozy, beautifully appointed galleries (try to visit on a rainy afternoon).

And of course, lots of beefcake.

Enter the main building on Ringstrasse, go upstairs, and turn left to the Egyptian and Oriental Collection, some 12,000 objects, including mummies, stelae, and objects from everyday life.  The Egyptian collection is quite good, the Ancient Near Eastern not great, but they do have a lion from the Ishtar Gate in Babylon.

Follow it to the Antikensammlung, the Greek and Roman antiquities, 9 galleries of statues of naked, muscular men, plus vases, columns, bas reliefs, and ephemera.

Upstairs to the second floor and turn right for 16 beautifully-appointed galleries of Italian, Spanish, and French art, including Mazzolo's Amor (a bare-butt Cupid), and some nice Pietas and religious art.

Follow it around to the Flemish, Dutch, and German collections, with Brueghel's Return of the Hunters, van Heemskerk's Triumph of Bacchus (left), and some Rubens, Van Dycks, and Durers.

The third floor contains the Coin Collection, plus some nice views from the window.

More after the break.

Back downstairs to the first floor, turn left to the Kunstkammer Wien, a "museum within a museum" with 20 galleries of tabletop sculptures, bronzes, clocks, jewelry, and ephemera.  I'm always too tired for this section, but there's some nice miniature beefcake, such as Mercury, by Giovanni Bologna.

Or a naked African Adam, by Conrad Meit.

On the other side of Ringstrasse, you can tour the Neuberg, which features collections of arms, armor, and antique musical instruments. and the Schatzkammer, the King's Treasury, with crowns, scepters, insignias, and all of the riches that the Austro-Hungarian Empire could provide.

Just south is the Ephesos Museum, the results of excavations from the ancient city in Asia Minor, with reliefs, statues, busts, and columns (top photo).

You're not anywhere near finished.  You still have the Mumok Museum of Contemporary Art, the Albertina Museum...

Or you could just go to the Vienna Eagle on  Bl├╝melgasse 1 to cruise in the labyrinth.

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