The Hellhole

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Alan and I recently visited the High Museum of Art - getting ourselves a little culture besides what's growing in our yogurt.  I wanted to see a visiting exhibit called "Hapsburg Splendor" about the Austrian dynasty.  Many of the items had never been outside Austria before so it was quite a treat.

So many lovely objects!  Some of them were so beautiful and intricately detailed that it was hard to believe they were real, much less made by hand in the 15- and 1600s - it almost seemed like it had to be CGI.  But they were real, and amazing.  Here are some pictures, worth, as you know, a thousand words each, which will save us all a great deal of time.

 This is a little prince's jousting armor.  His brother's jousting armor was set up just out of frame to the right - you can see the tip of his lance.

This is the sight that greeted us when the elevator doors opened into the exhibit.

Sorry about all the reflection from the glass case.  That's a coral-trimmed sword and matching scabbard from the late 1500s.

Drinking goblet carved from rhinoceros horn.

Alan photobombs my carriage photo.

Carriage without Alan.  This isn't even the royal Royal Carriage; this one belonged to the little jousting princes.

The royal sleigh - ostrich plumes on the horse's headdress.

One of the coolest things we saw, as far as I am concerned, was an early 1900s portrait of the queen arriving at some posh occasion (I think someone's coronation but I could be mistaken) with her little princeling.  In a glass case right beside it was the outfit the little prince was wearing in the painting, right down to his tiny ermine-trimmed boots.

The funniest thing that happened was while we were examining this piece.  You can't tell from this photo but the suit of armor was incredibly detailed, with royal symbols such as the eagle, Madonna and child and other things engraved on it, and lots of fancy trim.

So if you read the description you will see that the armor belonged to Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol (1529 - 1595).  While we were admiring it, this elderly lady toddled up and was reading over my shoulder.  Suddenly, she announced loudly, in that querulous yet authoritative old-people tone that carries for miles, "It was his assassination that started World War One!"

Alan and I kept our 'BWAHAHAHA's contained until we'd ducked around the corner into another room.  But then I set us both off again when I remarked, "Well, if it did, that was the lord god king of slow burns!"

We had a wonderful day at the museum - ducked through some sculptures, the old Italian masters (my favorite) and the Mattie Lou O'Kelley exhibit (Alan really likes her), enjoyed a tasty lunch at the bistro there and oh! the Hapsburg exhibit was incredible.  I'm so glad we had that opportunity.

And remember, in case it comes up on Jeopardy!, it was Ferdinand II of Tyrol whose assassination started WWI.


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