Talking Heads. Portrait(s) of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Portrait(s) of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
The collections of the KHM contain portraits of people who lived thousands of years apart. Many of these artworks not only attract our gaze but seem to return it: they are not merely inanimate objects, they appear to face us. The exhibition “Talking Heads” offers visitors the opportunity to study, confront and get to know some of them. The exhibition focuses on such questions as why do four-thousand-year-old heads from Ancient Egypt retain the power to move us, what did Roman emperors expect from their portraits and those who encountered them, or what were the strategies employed by artists since the Renaissance to document their new-found social standing.
The exhibition, arranged in ten sections, showcases a selection from the KHM’s exceptionally rich and varied collection of portraits. Seminal paintings by Dürer, Parmigianino, Titian, Velázquez, Rembrandt or Rubens rub shoulders with rarely-seen artworks from the museum’s depository. Outstanding ancient Egyptian, Greek or Roman, Renaissance or baroque sculptures are placed in novel and surprising contexts. Coins and medals, passed from hand to hand over the millennia, established the fundamental rules of portraiture on which the exhibition focuses.
Within the series of exhibitions called INTERMEZZO, parallel to the Museum’s blockbuster exhibitions and presented in one single room, the Kunsthistorisches Museum shows artworks from the various collections of the museum selected with a specific topic, question or idea in mind. The Museum’s aim is to offer a new way of seeing art presented in a concentrated format in an intimate setting, one that offers pure “visual enjoyment”.