Monday, July 28, 2014

My Favorite Sculptures at Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral), Vienna


DSCN0348 _ Stephansdom, Wien, 4 October

The most important religious building in Vienna, Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral), with multi-colored tile roof, was one of Vienna's most recognizable landmarks and symbols. 

DSCN0300 _ Stephansdom, Wien, 4 
October

The most interesting work inside this massive structure was a sculptural portrait of Anton Pilgram (also Anton Pilchramb), a late medieval Austrian architect and sculptor. This sculpture, possibly a self-portrait, depicting the sculptor leaning out of a window-like frame, and above his slender body, a massive ornate altar, supported by elongated fan vault. The figure was very austere, yet the whole structure was grand and dramatic. The intense contrast was very intriguing and eloquent.

DSCN0322 _ Stephansdom, Wien, 4 
October
Portrait of Anton Pilgram, possible self-portrait

My second favorite was outside the building, at the base of its massive walls - a relief of Christ in Gethsemane, a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion.

The stone relief thrust Jesus in the center of the tableau, kneeling above tumbling boulders, creating a world consisted of bare-boned elements. Jesus and his disciples were modeled in a medieval naïve style, endearing; the background scenes of approaching soldiers, the final climbing to Mount of Olives and the city itself, were depicted in an almost decorative way, unobtrusive, almost negligible.  When I visited the Dom, Jesus was cast in the shadow, except for his upturned face - subtly dramatic.

DSCN0370 _ Stephansdom, Wien, 4 October
Christ in Gethsemane, after restoration


My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 87: To be continued
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 85: My Favorite Artworks at Augustinerkirche, Vienna

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Favorite Artworks at Augustinerkirche, Vienna

The Augustinerkirche (Augustinian Church) was built in the 14th century as the parish church of the imperial court of with the Gothic interior added in the 18th century.

The most impressive artwork was a tome sculpture designed by the renown Italian sculptor Antonio Canova, for Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria - in his typical neoclassical style - pyramidal shaped, with clear and clean delineation, and delicately modeled figures.  The atmosphere it created was somber, sorrowful and soaringly lyrical.

DSCN1769 _ Augustinerkirche

DSCN1752 _ Archduchess Maria Christina Tome by Antonio Canova, Augustinerkirche


Archduchess Maria Christina Tome by Antonio Canova, Augustinerkirche, Wien

My second favorite work there was a strangely painted skeleton, surrounded by beautiful decorative borders. This frank depiction of death and decay gave viewers no catholic comfort, yet it was not devoid of any tranquility, a kind of knowing acceptance, which was the grace we all hope to have when it's our time to take our leave.

DSCN1758 _ Augustinerkirche

My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 86: My Favorite Sculptures at Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral), Vienna
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 84: My Favorite Artworks in Votivkirche, Vienna

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Innocents - Dedicated to the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

The magnitude of the unspeakable tragedy of the downing of the civilian Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by a mission in the war-torn region of eastern Ukraine was hard to fathom and absolutely cannot be accepted in a civil global society.  Everyone with righteous mind mourns the loss of near 300 people, on their way to return to their homes, to see their friends and families, to go to work, or to make holidays.

I was deeply touched by the tragedy and channeled my feeling into a gouache painting, commemorate this utterly senseless tragedy.

The Innocents - Dedicated to the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17
The Innocents - Dedicated to the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17


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Friday, July 18, 2014

BAM/PFA New Building Topping Out Celebration


DSCN0070 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

Yesterday, I attended a block party on Addison Street below Oxford, celebrating the topping out of the new Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive building of University of California, Berkeley, in the ceremony traditionally held when the last beam is put in place.

According to the press release, the new BAM/PFA is "designed by renowned architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, integrates a repurposed building, the former UC Berkeley printing plant, at the corner of Oxford and Center Streets, with a dramatic new structure. Opening in early 2016, the new building will anchor Berkeley's downtown Arts District, engaging diverse audiences in groundbreaking art, film, performance, and education programs." 

DSCN0068 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0071 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0114 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0115 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0076 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

It was a fun event and people was entertained by lively music, provided by Mission Delirium, a fourteen-piece party brass band:

DSCN0075 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0120 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014



There was also a spontaneous dance courtesy of a most talented toddler:



The best part of the celebration was signing the beam - all the people present were invited to sign the beam with permanent markers - a courtesy doesn't often extend to common folks, and yesterday the people were truly inspired and left many interesting "signatures" on the steel beam:

DSCN0109 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0118 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0201 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0142 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0122 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

Finally, the steel beam was ready to go up:

DSCN0178 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014

DSCN0197 _ BAM-PAF Building Topping Celebration, 17 July 2014




Cannot wait to see the new building in 2016!



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Favorite Artworks in Votivkirche, Vienna

One of the most visible churches in Vienna, amongst many magnificent ones, is Votivkirche, which I visited in 2012 and was duly impressed. 

DSCN9231 _ Votivkirche, Wien, 2 October- 500 DSCN9394 _ Votivkirche, Vienna, 2012

This Neo-Gothic church of twin spires, dating back to late 19th century, boasted a famous Antwerp Passion Altar (Wood Curve) (dating back to around 1460). This altar was the best example of the achievement of medieval wood curving religion art in the low countries.

DSCN9317 _ Antwerp Passion Altar, Museum of Votivkirche, Wien, 2 October- 500
Antwerp Passion Altar

DSCN9316 _ Antwerp Passion Altar, Museum of Votivkirche, Wien, 2012

This Altar has grandeur, dignity and its moving pathos lies in the folksy naïveté and the lightened wrenching dramatic tableau it represents.  I found it hugely effective and moving.

DSCN9371 _ Antwerp Passion Altar, Museum of Votivkirche, Wien, 2012 DSCN9324 _ Antwerp Passion Altar, Museum of Votivkirche, Wien, 2012
DSCN9320 _ Antwerp Passion Altar, Museum of Votivkirche, Wien, 2012 DSCN9318 _ Antwerp Passion Altar, Museum of Votivkirche, Wien, 2012

Another amazing work was even grander assembly - Hochaltar (Main Altar), which consists of tier-ed multiple parts.  Due to restoration work, I was only able to see the upper part from side and behind in the Museum Gallery; however, the trusses of the scaffolding added quite appropriate setting to Christ and angels when view from behind.  The lower part of the Hochaltar was glistering and awe inspiring.

DSCN9232 _ Hochaltar (Main Choir), Votivkirche, Vienna, 2012 DSCN9244 _ Lower part of the Hochaltar (Main Choir), Votivkirche, Vienna, 2012

DSCN9326 _ Upper part of the Hochaltar (Main Choir), Votivkirche, Vienna, 2012 DSCN9322 _ Upper part of the Hochaltar (Main Choir), Votivkirche, Vienna, 2012

DSCN9334 _ Viewing Altar from Museum of Votivkirche, Wien, 2 October- 500

Below is a short video with quick glances of the Antwerp Passion Altar, and the Hoch Altar viewed from Museum Gallery:




My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 85: My Favorite Artworks at Augustinerkirche, Vienna
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 83:  My Favorite Artworks at Secession Building, Vienna

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Favorite Artworks at Secession Building, Vienna

The Secession Building in Vienna is so iconic, that though it doesn't have permanent collections, except for Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt, I feel that I am compelled to include it in the series of .

Secession Building is an exhibition hall built in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich as an architectural manifesto for the Vienna Secession and the Beethoven Frieze is a painting by Gustav Klimt created in 1902 for the 14th Vienna Secessionist exhibition and is now on display in the building permanently.

The frieze has the hallmark of the overt ornamentation the movement, and it also addressed the life's motifs close to Klimt's heart, as it covered the themes of human yearning for happiness and fulfillment of desires in the dark and tempestuous world as can be gleaned through a snapshot of the copy of part of the immense frieze below.

DSCN0593 _ Beethoven Frieze copy, Secession, Wien, 5 October
Beethoven Frieze copy, Secession, Wien

The frieze has the hallmark of the overt ornamentation the movement, and it also addressed the life's motifs close to Klimt's heart, as it covered the themes of human yearning for happiness and fulfillment of desires in the dark and tempestuous world.

Since there are no other permanent art collections to speak of in Secession Building, I'm going to cheap a bit, by citing an element of the utterly lovely building itself.  My favorite relief on the exterior wall of the building is a group of three highly decorative owls, well-balanced and proportioned, stylized in the typical Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) fashion.  Absolutely enchanting.

File:Jugendstil owls - Koloman Moser - Detail facade of Secession Building - Vienna.jpg
Jugendstil owls - Detail of the facade of the Secession Building.
Image credit: Alberto Fernandez Fernandez



My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 84: My Favorite Artworks in Votivkirche, Vienna
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 82: My Favorite Paintings at Leopold Museum, Vienna 

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited


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