Sunday, June 28, 2015

Habsburg Splendor

A fashion show, a screening of The Sound of Music, wine tastings, armor demonstrations, lectures, tours and more are part of the celebration of MFAH's summer exhibition, Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections.

On view at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston until Sunday, September 13, Hapsburg Splendor showcases masterpieces and rare objects from the collection of the Habsburg Dynasty (housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna).

Largely composed of works that have never traveled outside of Austria, Habsburg Splendor explores the dramatic rise and fall of the Habsburg empire, from its political ascendance in the late Middle Ages, to the height of its power in the 16th and 17th centuries, to the expansion of the dynasty in the 18th and 19th centuries and, ultimately, to its end at the end of World War I.

The story of the Habsburg Empire is told through more than 90 works of art, including arms and armor, sculpture, Greek and Roman antiquities, court costumes, carriages, decorative art objects and paintings by masters such as Caravaggio, Correggio, Giorgione, Rubens, Tintoretto, Titian and Velázquez.

Earlier today, I made my way over to the Museum District to take a peek at the heralded exhibition. I arrived just minutes before the start of a pop-up concert, performed by a small group of musicians from the Moore's School of Music at the University of Houston.

The melodic sounds filled the gallery hall and proved to be the perfect complement to the Habsburg treasures. Visitors (like me) were lured in and quickly transported to another place and time.

Adding to the afternoon delight was the dramatic presence of the attending knight, who was clad in shining armor from head to toe and waltzed charmingly with and among the assembled audience. Not to miss an opportunity to spend a few minutes with such a gent, I took my turn on the "dance floor." It was, as you might imagine, a real pleasure.

I will be returning to MFAH for a couple of the other special events associated with Habsburg Splendor in the weeks ahead, including on July 16 for Art + Wine: The Habsburgs’ Cellar: The Homeland and East.

This program, presented by Benjamin Roberts, Advanced Sommelier and wine educator, begins with an opportunity to visit the exhibition, followed by a brief curatorial presentation and a lively, interactive presentation and tasting of wines from Austria, Hungary, Germany and more.

The Habsburgs ruled over many European countries, and married into even more royal houses. Most of the nation states and regions in which the Habsburgs were active are renowned for viticulture and viniculture, producing some of the most sought after wines the world over.

Art +Wine will be a great opportunity to enjoy two things I truly love and appreciate!

Thank you, MFAH!

Visit for more information about the exhibition and its special events.

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