Discover Vienna's Art Scene
This city is chock-full of museums, galleries, and antique shops. In a single day, you can marvel at Gustav Klimt’s masterpieces, contemplate the wonders of a Grecian urn, get familiar with modern pop art, or stumble upon underground art. There is a cultural experience for everyone in Vienna.
Walking through Vienna is like walking through history. You’ll see it on every corner, in every park, in every building. But the city also is home to more modern and underground art forms, including some powerful street art.
Take a stroll through the city’s streets, and you’ll marvel at murals and graffiti created by some of the best urban artists around.
You’ll find some of the most notable in the Street Art Passage, a tunnel leading up to Vienna’s Museumsquartier. You can view the work here from any angle, and even touch it – a sharp contrast to seeing art in a gallery or museum. French artist Invader has a piece in the passages that vibrates with blue and black tiles against gray walls. The effect can be dizzying.
The concrete walls of the Donaukanal (Danube Canal) are another great place to see street art. Among the generic graffiti, you’ll find some vibrant work. Classical architecture elements, such as bridges and walkways, are covered with splashes of color, creating a juxtaposition between shapes and colors. You can stumble upon other interesting works with a stroll along the stretch between Schwedenplatz and Schottenring.
Those who prefer their art to take a more vintage form will find that Vienna is a treasure trove for antique hunters. There are numerous antique shops and antique markets in Vienna. Whether you fancy Art Deco, Biedermeier, or Louis Quinze, you’re sure to find something special in Vienna’s many open-air antique markets and shops.
Upscale antique shops are clustered around Stallburggasse, Dorotheergasse, and Plankengasse, as well as dotted around the rest of the old city center. On Saturdays, the Vienna Naschmarkt turns into a massive open-air market where the savvy hunter can find high-value antiques, curiosities, and some good old junk.
Even if you’re only in the market to window shop, it’s still fun to browse for unique antiques you won’t find anywhere else in Europe.
Galleries & Museums
Vienna doesn’t ignore the more traditional visual arts, either. These are well-represented in the city’s many galleries and museums. Works from emerging artists and students are presented in cutting-edge gallery spaces, and often presented alongside works from contemporary art icons like Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.
Of course, Vienna is a city with a deep history, and that is well represented at its many museums. The Kunsthisorisches Museum (Maria Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna), which was founded to show off the Habsburg’s lavish art collection, features work by Michelangelo, Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian, Dürer, and Raphael. However, it’s best known for its large collection of paintings by Northern Renaissance master Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
If you’re a fan of Gustav Klimt, you need to plan a visit to the Belvedere (Prinz Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna), which is home to the world’s largest collection of Klimt paintings, including “The Kiss” and “Judith I.” There are also beautiful grounds to explore, so plan to spend quite a bit of time here.
Art is everywhere in Vienna. Whether you prefer your art to be splashed on a building wall, in the form of a precious jewel, or hung up in a gilt frame, you’ll find something to admire and ponder as you walk the streets and explore the galleries, markets, shops, and museums.