Gustav Klimt at the Belvedere: Disappointment!

As you might have noticed, I love Art Nouveau, but above all, I love Gustav Klimt. It was impossible for me not to visit Vienna without going on a pilgrimage to honour the master! Among all the museums in Vienna that host various pieces of his work, we went for the Belvedere, since it has the largest collection of Klimt’s paintings.

The Belvedere is indeed an incredibly beautiful schloss (actually, there’s more than one!) well worth a visit even if you could not care less about the expositions inside. And actually, this is how it was. I went there for Klimt, I left happy to have seen the palace.

There are no words to express my sad disappointment. First of all, let’s make it clear what “largest collection” means. If you think of Klimt your mind might immediately picture “The Kiss,” which has become so “commercial” that you can buy mugs, ties, ombrellas and bandanas with its print on them!

Klimt, Der Kuss
Klimt, Der Kuss
Klimt, Water Serpents I
Klimt, Water Serpents I

Or, if you don’t know “The Kiss,” you might at least think of women and gold. I’m almost 100% sure you don’t think of trees. Gustav Klimt, the artist who painted trees…wtf! No! So when they lure you in the Belvedere saying that you will get to see his largest collection, beware that it’s more than half paintings of landscapes/trees which nobody really knows and nobody really care to see (the room was empty) and some of the glorious pieces that made him immortal (overly crowded room), and among them, of course, “The Kiss.” Disappointment again? Oh yes. The light design was so so soooo bad that it didn’t feel like a was really standing in front of a painting, rather, it felt more like staring with expectations at badly illuminated cheap prints to magically turn into real paintings. At least they had “Water Serpents I” !!!!

So, to sum up: go there for the Belvedere and if it’s winter, for the mulled wine they sell in the Christmas markets scattered around the gardens. As for Klimt…mmm…you’re better off looking at his paintings from your high school art book.

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