Visiting Vienna

March 31, 2008 | By | 2 Replies More

I was visiting a friend of mine in Vienna for the Easter holidays. Here are two things I did which I liked a lot – visiting the Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History). If you ever go to Vienna I recommend that you explore them, too (the Arcimboldo exhibition in the museum lasts until 1 June 2008).


The Karlskirche is supposed to be the most beautiful baroque church in Vienna, but that is not the reason why I liked it so much and feel the need to tell you about it. No, the reason why it excites me is the panorama lift that takes you to vertiginous heights to give you a really great view of the fresco paintings on the ceiling (also over the city, but with all the security wire netting occluding and limiting the view it was not really worth it). Usually, a normal visitor will never have the opportunity to see these paintings at such a close distance, but here the scaffolds that had been used for previous restoration works had been preserved to take visitors upstairs (not sure how long they will stay though, seems like they have been around for a while though).



The lift takes you to a platform, from there you have to take stairs (they look the same as the stairs in the first picture ) to reach the top. Let me just tell you, if you’re not a fan of heights and standing on a scaffold that surely was stable more or less, but well, not as stable as a nice stone staircase, you would also get the butterflies…

“Running and jumping is dangerous! Shouting is uncool!” Yeah, totally uncool. πŸ˜€ The sign also says that only a maximum of 10 persons is allowed. It also said something about “only under supervision,” which everybody seemed to happily ignore. I’ll be honest – I was scared shitless at this height. Crazy tourists who happily in their ignorance walked up and down the stairs to the top! Nobody here who cared about the maximum of 10 person! And where was this supervision guy?? In the end I decided to be a sheep and just go with the others, peer pressure you know, didn’t want to stick out as the hysterical tourist, and I mean, who has ever heard of a scaffold breaking down under an overload of tourists in an Austrian church, right? Anyway, on my way to the top I was rewarded with a really nice view of the ceiling. If the pictures are blurry, it’s because I didn’t use a flasha and because my hands were shaking more than usual due whenever someone walked by and caused the scaffold to shake (I was DYING every time inside, I kid you not. :D). There were two information points where you could listen to your audio guide, but I simply didn’t feel calm enough to take up any information. I only wanted to get to the top and then downstairs to solid ground as soon as possible. I listened to the information when I was downstairs and I regretted that I missed some interesting tidbits, but it was ok.


A short video that I made with my digital camera, the quality is therefore not that great.



She has this mischievious look on her face. I found the expressions on many faces to be quite interesting, you rarely get to see them with all the details.




Under the top. If I’m not mistaken painting the Holy Spirit in the middle of the ceiling is not uncommon in churches.

Ok, I’ll say it (false modesty is so boring), I felt damn proud that I had continued to the top. πŸ˜€

Kunsthistorisches Museum:

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Exhibition Arcimboldo
Exhibition of works of Arcimboldo at the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

The artist was born in Milan where he started his career by working on designs for windows for the city’s cathedral. He worked in his hometown, specialising mainly in religious paintings, before being called to Vienna in 1562 by Maximilian, the eldest son of the Emperor Ferdinand I. For the next twenty-five years he served as court painter to the Emperor Maximilian II and his son, the Emperor Rudolf II, both in Vienna and in Prague, before returning to Milan in 1587.

The exhibition was interesting. I still felt captivated by Arcimboldo’s works and skills although the vegetable and fruit composite heads are so known. He painted the flowers, plants, animals that compose the heads with a scientific accuracy that is praiseworthy in itself, but to put them together in such imaginative ways to create faces is ingenious. Get an audio guide (which is not for free, but nevertheless makes the whole tour through the museum more interesting and enlightening).

The museum also exhibited some photos of Bernard Pras, who created his own version of composite heads. He uses 3-dimensional objects located in space to create faces, which can be comprehended best when captured in a 2-dimensional form such as a photo. Take a look at his website,, I assure you, it’s worth it. (Seems like his website is not working, but you can get a glimpse of his work here, here or here. Look closely at the details in the pictures, you will be surprised. If his website works again, look at the video in which he shows the head of this man from different angles.)

If you want to see more pictures of Vienna you can find them here on my blog (there are lots and lots of photos, I really mean, lots, requiring a fast connection, I’m just saying. πŸ˜€ One reason you should be glad you’re only getting a short condensed version here with the highlights. :D)


Tags: ,

Category: Art, Culture

About the Author ()

I studied Horticulture, so officially I'm an agricultural engineer, but I'm doing something completely different at the moment. I want to get back into this field though. "Projektleiterin" is German and means project leader. My mom sometimes calls me like this for fun, because as a kid I used to start many many knitting projects very enthusiastically and then had trouble finishing them. On my knitting blog you can see proof that I'm now a much better person than I used to be. :D It may sound funny to those who don't knit, but while knitting is certainly a creative and pleasurable activity, it also teaches you perseverance and discipline. I'm also an extreme sucker for compliments on my knitting, so don't hold back! :D I'm never really sure what to tell people when they ask me where I'm from. Usually I say, "I grew up in Germany, but originally I'm from Asia." I think I'm quite conservative at heart, but liberal by choice. Oh, and be a bit forgiving if you read my posts - English is not my native language.

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Art Blog » Visiting Vienna | March 31, 2008
  1. Ben says:

    Thanks for the tour! I once climbed to the top of the leaning tower of Piza in italy. And i saw the Statue of David (almost 20 feet tall). And saw the gargoyles atop Notre Dame cathedral in paris.

Leave a Reply