Rubens: The Power of Transformation

Rubens: The Fur

(Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, until 21 January 2018)

My apologies for the recent silence. It’s been a rather frantic weekend and I’m only just getting to the point where I can think again. I was also off on a business trip last week in Vienna, which was (as ever) an utter joy. I fetched up at the Kunsthistorisches Museum last Tuesday afternoon, planning to have an indulgent hot chocolate in the wonderful café, and then to potter in the Italian galleries; but my visit was supplemented by this very impressive exhibition about Rubens.

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Postcards from Vienna

View of Vienna

This was my first trip to Vienna since, at the age of fifteen, I spent two weeks with an exchange family in a nearby town. The primary reason for going was to see two shows at the Theater an der Wien, which I’ll write about separately: Francesco Cavalli’s Xerse, which was the first opera to set the libretto later made so famous by Handel; and Monteverdi’s Poppea, which re-envisaged the story as a modern morality tale about fragmenting lives played out in the glare of media celebrity. But for me this was also an opportunity to finally visit some of the city’s great museums, and I thought I’d run through a few of the sights I particularly enjoyed. There’s a couple of obvious ones, but one that will perhaps be less familiar.

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