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Wien’s Kunsthistorisches Museum in Thomas Bernhard’s words

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If you’ve never been to the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna, beside the incredible collection that it holds, we now give you another reason that might spark your interest and convince you to plan a visit!

Not everyone might knows that the museum is at the core of one of the most interesting novels of the twentieth century.

Thomas Bernhard with Ancient Masters

ln the Kunsthistorisches Thomas Bernhard, one of the most renowned Austrian writers, in 1985 he decided to set his “Ancient Masters”.

Its main carachter, Reger, a musicologist, he spends most of his days in the Sala Bordone, observing the comings and goings of tourists and contemplating the masterpieces of the “ancient masters”, whose defects he obsessively searches for, convinced that perfection does not exist and committed to wanting to dispel it at all costs.

In particular, he focuses his attention on a work by Tintoretto, Man with a White Beard, which later became the cover of the first edition of the book, published in Italy in 1992 by Adelphi.

Antichi Maestri, first edition, 1992, Adelphi

Still today, almost forty years after the novel’s release, Tintoretto’s Man with a white beard , it is exhibited in the same room mentioned by Bernhard and, by visiting the museum you can live the first pages of the book, where the author writes:

(…) Since in the morning his reserved place is in the so-called Sala Bordone in front of Tintoretto’s Man with the White Beard… I had to station myself in the so-called Sala Sebastiano; reluctantly I was therefore forced, in order to observe Reger in front of Tintoretto’s Man with the White Beard, to put up with Titian, and I had to look at him standing up, but this was not an inconvenience because, especially when I observe someone, I like standing more standing or sitting (…)

Kunsthistorisches, Wien

In conclusion, to admire Tintoretto and live in Bernhard’s novel, all you have to do is visit the Kunsthistorisches!

If in addition to this article, you are also interested in all our insights on the others must see exhibitions in 2024 in Rome, Venice, Naples, Turin and Milan, we recommend our insights:

Venice: must see exhibitions in 2024

Exhibitions in Naples: which ones to see in 2024

Turin: exhibtions 2024

Exhibtions in Milano 2024: the five you must see

Rome: the main exhibitions 2024

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