Arts & Culture | Epitome of Ending | Late Romantic | Classical

If any city could be cited as epitomizing the sense of decline and despair in the late nineteenth century it would be Vienna. Heartland of the oldest existing European empire, its shift from the liberalism of the 1840s towards the political conservatism of the 1890s onwards was typical, as was the inability of its emperor and ruling aristocracy to deal with the growing desire for popular change. The public appeal to past values was exemplified in the series of buildings designed in historical style on the Ringstrasse, such as the classical parliament recalling Greek democracy and the Gothic town hall rep­resenting medieval guilds. The lack of real political power led many Viennese to the arts as an expression of their anger or despair.

The most radical anti-establishment, anti-historicist movement was the Sezession (‘Secession’). Begun in 1897, it attracted leading artists such as Gustav Klimt, Kolo Moser and Otto Wagner, and produced radical art and architecture. An example of this was the Beethoven Frieze for the Secession building, itself inspired by Wagner’s description of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Introduction | Late Romantic | Classical
Arts & Culture | ‘The Five’ | Late Romantic | Classical


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