Excursion to Vienna

Text: Katie Stanley
Photos: Alex Rosenast, Natalie Schneider, and Katie Stanley

The weekend tour of Vienna was a tour of great art, architecture, music, and history. We began early on Thursday morning and drove through rolling green landscapes dotted with Austrian farms, all the way to the Schönbrunn palace. Schönbrunn was the winter residence of the Habsburg family, who ruled Austria-Hungary until World War I. We were given a Grand Tour and learned much about the famous monarchy.


That same day, our art history professor Dr. Loos led us to a tour of the Gustav Klimt exhibition in the Belvedere, which included the original masterpiece, “The Kiss.” Dr. Loos showed us how Klimt used different materials like gold to “trap” the subjects of his work in embellishment. Among the pieces by Klimt were works by Egon Schiele and other artists that were influenced by Klimt.


The next day, Friday, we were privileged to go on a guided tour of the Vienna State Opera House, followed by the Museum of Fine Arts. While in the latter, Dr. Loos showed the differences between Italian and Dutch paintings, pointing out the works of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer, and Rembrandt.


We were then able to look through the rest of the museum ourselves, particularly the Egyptian and Greek exhibits, and were pleased to notice several types of pieces that we recognized from class back at the center!


Afterward, we were given the whole afternoon for free time. Many chose to visit the Museum of Natural History, then explore the city like the rest. Several of us sought out a traditional Viennese café experience—their coffee is amazing!
Saturday was a busy one. First we visited St. Stephen’s Cathetral in the heart of Vienna. To our great enjoyment, we were even able to go inside, down the nave, and see the wonderfully intricate altar.
To conclude our earlier introduction to Gustav Klimt, we visited the Secession building to see the famous Beethoven Frieze. A trip to the Hundertwasser Museum followed, where we learned about Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a progressive Austrian painter whose mantra was “beware of the straight line.”
As for music in Vienna, we attended the 20th century opera called “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” by Kurt Weill and Bernd Brecht. There were varying opinions on the actual opera, but the experience was surely a great one.
Besides the opera, there were many opportunities for us to experience the musical culture of Vienna. Some students attended a miniature concert featuring music by Mozart and Strauss also featuring dancing, while others were able to see a ballet in the State Opera House.

Our journey came to an end the next day, after visiting the beautiful Melk monastery. It was a fantastic and fun-filled trip; we all learned so much. Vienna is gorgeous and extremely cultured, and I know I’ve heard a couple students planning a second trip!