The House of Liechtenstein is my favorite. Wanting importance but not being royal, they did the next best thing: they bought their way into favor of the Holy Roman Empire.
Once the little principality of Liechtenstein was established and they were given lands in Moravia (CZ), Silesia (Poland) and throughout Lower Austria, they set about building palaces. The House is linked to 13 palaces and residences; we have visited 7.
Naturally some decorating followed. To celebrate 300 years of the Liechtenstein Principality, several pieces were assembled for an exhibit at the Albertina, a museum I do not ordinarily feel the love for, mainly because their entrance fee is quite high with respect to its ROI. A peek at some of the Liechtenstein holdings, considered among the world’s most important private collections and second only to that of the British royal family, though, turned out to be a most excellent return on my investment.
The collection survived the end of the empire and WWI unscathed. In the final weeks of WWII the collection was moved from Vienna to Liechtenstein; though in the post-war years a number of pieces were sold.
Cleopatra, by Hans Markart. His works began the final phase of Viennese painting in the 19thcentury.
This is Portrait of a Man. It too is a masterpiece; but I personally would have not painted in the little tag. I find it distracting.
I almost squee-ed aloud to see a Breugel! So much is going on, as usual, but keen observers will note Mary and Joseph on their way to register in Bethlehem in the lower center of the painting.
An early example of still life painting in Antwerp, notable for its realistic fruit with worm holes and the fragile insects.
And then, Archimboldo too! There are but 8 of these paintings in the two series, Elements and Seasons. With this one, Earth, I have now seen 6!
Rubens was up next, with Clara Serena Rubens, one of the most marvelous child paintings in European history.
More Rubens. Both the finished work and the preparatory sketch of Mars and Rhea Silvia.I could not decide which one I liked most.
In the category of “rare masterpiece,” a painstaking execution by Berckheyde of the market square in Haarlem. The eye-catcher is the woman entering the square from the left.
Now sculpture does not really inspire me, but this extraordinary work, depicting Maria Annunciata at the exact moment the Archangel Gabriel delivers the message that she is to be the mother of God’s son inspired considerable contemplation.
In the genre of exceptional brilliance and luminosity, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller’s Restored to New Life. Seeing works in the genre of brilliance and luminosity found us curious: would we perhaps see any Gauermann?
Another brilliant Waldmüller, View of the Dachstein with Lake Hallstatt.
Waldmüller was also a portrait painter. Captain Kirk was beamed into the 19thcentury. 🤣
To our delight, Gauermann times Three!
Great collection, House of Liechtenstein!