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A taste of Michelangelo in the heart of Vienna

Why go to Rome when the art of the Sistine Chapel can come to you in Vienna? Check out the new exhibition of Michelangelo's timeless frescos at the Votivkirche.

A taste of Michelangelo in the heart of Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Starting 1st September, and going until 2nd December, the full-scale art exhibition gets you up close and personal with detailed reproductions of frescoes created by one of the 16th century's most amazing artists, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni.

The Votivkirche, a fabulous Gothic confection built in 1856 to celebrate the failure of a Hungarian assassin to murder Emperor Franz Joseph, is the more than appropriate setting for the art, with its soaring ceiling and beautiful stained glass windows.

Despite the exterior scaffolding, the church is worth a visit at any time, but if you visit in the next three months, you'll need to pay an entrance fee, as part of the Sixtinische Kapelle in Wien exhibition.

There's little to be said about the art itself, as many of us are familiar with the world-famous Sistine Chapel.  However, this might be one of the few chances to get a close look at the details, which even the tourists in the chapel itself rarely get to see properly.

Check out our Gallery of Art for a sneak preview.  You'll find the Votivkirche tucked behind the Sigmund Freud Park, with Schottentor being the closest U-Bahn station.

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ART

London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy

As the art world plans to celebrate the centenary of Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele's death, some of his nudes have been dubbed too racy to show in their full glory, not least in the London underground.

London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy
Photo: Christian Lendl/Vienna Tourist Board/AFP
Austrian museums will next year host a series of exhibitions and events to mark the centenary of his passing but time has apparently not dimmed some of the prudish attitudes prevalent in his lifetime regarding his rawest works, Vienna Tourist Board director Norbert Kettner told AFP.
   
Two of his works — “Seated Male Nude (Self-Portrait),” from 1910, and his 1914 work “Girl With Orange Stockings,” appear with their genitals covered over after Transport for London found the uncensored originals beyond the pale.
 
Advertising hoardings in Germany have similarly covered the offending parts, even though the works were deliberately selected as “we wanted to raise a discussion and the theme of nudity seemed pertinent,” Kettner told AFP.
 
“The campaign was ready but when we came up with the first visuals we had several reactions of 'that won't do; regulations won't allow us to show genitalia,'” he explained after the London Tube and a German airport both complained.
 
“We had the green light for a very large format and, the day before they went up, agreement was withdrawn as an ethics committee felt (full nude versions) wouldn't be acceptable for an airport public” or patrons of London's underground trains.
 
The Viennese tourist office quickly revamped the pictures, covering up the offending organs and adding on the blotted out section the slogan, “SORRY, 100 years old but still too daring today.”
 
They have also added the hashtag #ToArtItsFreedom in London – a play on the “To every age its art. To every art its freedom” inscribed on the entrance of the Vienna Secession building housing the union of Austrian artists movement.
 
Kettner revealed that a Viennese display did not share the artistic-sexual qualms of the British or the Germans and had approved a “non-censored” version.
 
The prolific Schiele, born in 1890 and who died of Spanish flu aged 28, was not always popular in his homeland where some, notably in conservative circles, took a dim view of his vision of tortured eroticism.
 
Nonetheless, a retrospective of his work will see a number of exhibitions highlight his talents as well as those of his first mentor and Secession co-founder Gustav Klimt.