This week I figured that the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum) in Vienna is open on Fridays till 10pm. I immediately planned to visit it after work on Friday and that is exactly what I did.
The museum stands right across from the Natural History Museum, which I visited not too long ago.
I would say the Natural History Museum is quite fun for anybody to visit, whereas the Art History Museum can be, I presume, a little bit harder to enjoy unless one is a true art lover. I myself absolutely adore illustration, but I believe that it is important to see classical art and there is a lot to admire about it.
The museum building is quite grandiose, as well as its twin standing right across.
The first floor features Egyptian, Roman and Greek antiquities, which I must admit I am not so drawn to and so I kept my head up, I was looking at the ceilings. Every room had a fascinating, painted and finely decorated ceiling; for me the first floor was all about that :) The following picture, for example, is a painting on a ceiling!
One of the highlights that the Kunsthistorisches Museum is really well known for is a golden sculpture by Cellini - the Salt Cellar. An interesting fact is that this piece was stolen from the museum in 2003 and the thief, Robert Mang, has turned himself in as he was recognised by his acquaintances on surveillance photos.
At this time of day (Friday evening), the museum was almost empty, in some rooms I was the only person there. It felt a little mystical - it was dark outside, I walked through many empty rooms where the only sound that I could hear were occasional squeaks of the parquet flooring.
The second floor features classical paintings, some of which are extremely large pieces. It felt absolutely unbelievable to stand in front of a 3 meter tall painting done in 1617 by Peter Paul Rubens. A painting done 400 years ago, hanging right in front of me, in its full glory; I was hypnotized for a few moments.
In the past I have seen art students drawing in museums in London and also here in Vienna; I think it is quite normal to see people in museums with a sketchbook and a pencil, practicing their skills. What I however did not expect to see and have never seen before, is a painter who uses oil paints to be painting in a museum on an easel. I am personally not a huge fan of replicating classical pieces of art unless the artist gives it a significantly different twist. Let's hope he was just practicing :)
Overall I must say I am very content with having spent my Friday afternoon in the Art History Museum of Vienna. It was a relaxing and inspiring trip, which triggered various emotions in me. An evening very well spent I would say :)