Klimt and the Belvederes of Vienna

January 11, 2012 § 5 Comments

Looking at the Upper Belvedere through the haze. Vienna, Dec 14, 2011.

If you’re visiting Vienna, there is simply no reason for not stopping by the Belvedere Palace. This was the highlight of my stay at Vienna, and I definitely fell in love with this corner of the city. I knew not much about this place besides knowing that it houses a good collection of Gustav Klimt’s work, and “The Kiss” is on display there, so that’s good enough of a reason for me to spend half a day there.

The ticket office was next to the gate on a separate building from the palace itself. There were two men behind the counters, since no visitors were there, I walked straight up to get my ticket. Then they started talking. I ended up standing there for 3 minutes. But what could I do? Could I turn into the rude impatient Chinese tourist who interrupts peoples’ happy lengthy conversation? Anyway, that was the rudest thing I’ve encountered in my entire December trip.

Main staircase at the Upper Belvedere. Vienna, Dec 14, 2011.

Inside the Upper Belvedere Palace. Vienna. Dec 14, 2011.

Unlike some gigantic grand palaces, the Belvedere wasn’t a huge place, but just the right size for a cozy residence in my opinion. It’s a pretty palace, and well maintained. I especially loved the white staircase with those striking black lamps. There were lots of details all over the wall, ceiling and stair, but yet since everything was in white, it felt very calm and peaceful. I started my tour at the palace museum section, visited lots of colorful room before heading to the painting section.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt at Upper Belvedere. Vienna. Dec 14, 2011.

Then I saw her, The Kiss by Klimt. The painting itself was bigger than I expected. I could spend hours looking at this couple kneeling on the flowers while passionately kissing each other. I walked up and looked at those little flowers and golden patterns up close. I just loved that this painting has a 2D effect, yet it was full of color, texture and quirky pattern which send out different kinds of emotions. I loved it. Apart from The Kiss, I saw some more Klimt’s painting which I haven’t seen before. I don’t know what it was, but those paintings really caught all my attention.

A statue in the garden between the two Belvederes. I can't quite understand the fascination of making imaginative or divine creatures with parts from different animals. Vienna, Dec 14, 2011.

I was really looking forward to see the Lower Belvedere after seeing some images online. This part of the palace opens late once a week. I began to concern, if it’d be a bad idea to see this place after sunset? I thought they might not be well equipped with good lightings, since they mostly opened during day time. Turned out, most of my worry was unnecessary, I could still see everything just fine…Except one room. There was one salon with marble columns was very very very dark inside. I could hardly see much of the sculptures in the room. So, my suggestion would be: go there during the day time! But if you can’t, it is still a nice experience to tour a palace when it’s already dark outside.

Inside the Lower Belvedere Palace. Vienna. Dec 14, 2011.

To get to the Orangery, one must go through the newly built passage through the Lower Belvedere. This passage is so modern that it was like a sign telling me what’s coming up is totally different. The Orangery is a smaller exhibition area with modern art. On the day we went there, there were some bloody pieces, i mean literally bloody imagery or sculptures. It was a huge contrast with the loving and elegant painting I just saw previously, nonetheless, it was quite refreshing and thoughts provoking.

Looking at the Lower Belvedere through the haze. I think it's actually very pretty and romantic like this. Vienna. Dec 14, 2011.

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