Vienna – Day 3 – Part 1

Today we just wanted to take advantage of the sunshine and walk around some of the big sites. We had breakfast at Cafe Mozart and then made our way toward the The Vienna Secession.

Also known as the Union of Austrian Artists, it was formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian artists who had resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists, housed in the Vienna Künstlerhaus. This movement included painters, sculptors, and architects. The first president of the Secession was Gustav Klimt, and Rudolf von Alt was made honorary president. We didn’t go inside as we were mostly content to have a day of walking and we had plans to see the larger Klimpt collection housed at the Belvedere.

As we were waling down the street I noticed a sculpture and remarked to Cynthia “Hey look, a statue of The Mona Lisa. As we got closer I noticed the statue had a beard and mustache.

Still looked like the Mona Lisa but obviously it wasn’t. Then we found the plaque describing the piece. Turns out this was a sculpture by Subodh Gupta who is known as the “idol thief.” This piece was called “Et Tu, Duchamp?” and was, indeed, The Mona Lisa with a beard. Apparently the reference is to Marcel Duchamp’s “L.H.O.O.Q.” piece from 1919 in which Duchamp took a postcard featuring the Mona Lisa and drew a beard and mustache onto it.

Moving on we came across this magnificent building

We just loved the giant owl and all the smaller owls along the roof top. As we were marveling and shoting pictures I noticed a sign that indicated that this was The Main Library of the Vienna University of Technology. Coolest library EVER!

From there we found our way to the baroque St. Charles Church.

In 1713, the Black Plague swept Vienna, and Emperor Charles VI made a vow: if the plague left the city, he would build a church dedicated to his namesake, St. Charles Borromeo. St. Charles was a 16th-century Italian bishop famous for ministering to Milanese plague victims. The emperor’s prayer was answered, and construction on the church began in 1715. The Baroque master Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach did the original work from 1716 to 1722. After his death in 1723, his son took over and saw the project through to completion in 1737.

After St. Charles we walked over to The Belvedere Palace. Another fantastic example of baroque architecture, it is a very large complex with a beautiful garden and a wonderful fountain in the middle.

After we strolled through the garden we took a break at the cafe for some lunch and then went to see the Klimpt collection in the Upper Belvedere. Sadly, no photography allowed. Got to see The Kiss and Judith in person which was pretty impressive.

After that we hiked back to the hotel, stopping (again) at Cafe Mozart for coffee and desert.

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Jay Lee

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