I really like the great art that was created in Europe in the 17th century, particularly the genre art of the Low Countries. My favorite artist is Johannes VerMeer of Delft, Holland. You may know him for his famous painting of the “girl with the pearl earring.” Because he died at the age of 43, there are only 34 paintings attributed to him. It’s been my goal for a number of years to see all of them. This summer I saw two of his works for the first time. The painting shown at the top of this post is called “Allegory of Art.” It’s believed that the artist shown in the painting is VerMeer. It is owned by the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna where it is exhibited.
For years I’ve wanted to go to Vienna to visit its grand museum and to see that painting. Because Vienna is only about 120 miles from Budapest, my friend A. and I decided to travel there for a museum visit during my recent visit to Hungary. We were not disappointed! We spent an entire afternoon just viewing the paintings of Holland and Belgium. The collection of great art in this museum is so great that we must go again some day to see the many fine Italian and French paintings also exhibited there. There are many other wonderful things to be found and awed by in this great museum.
On our way back to the train station we paused to admire some of the grand buildings of Vienna. The art museum and the Natural History museum facing it are almost twins, constructed in the late 1800s when Vienna was the heart of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
As we returned to the street we were drawn to the Hofburg palace, formerly the home of emperors and of Empress Maria Theresa. We didn’t have time to tour the interior but the exterior is sumptuous.
Earlier this summer I saw an exhibition entitled Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry at the National Gallery of Art in Dublin. There are at least ten VerMeer paintings in the exhibition along with many other works by contemporaries of VerMeer. The exhibit is jointly curated by the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. It will be in Dublin until September 17. It will open in Washington on October 22 and run until January 21, 2018.