Vienna and the Influence of the Orient with Gilles Gubelmann

Vienna and the Influence of the Orient with Gilles Gubelmann


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Vienna is one of the cities called "the gate to the Orient": this conversation will examine just why that is so. After a short historical and political introduction, we will explore the impact of the Ottomans, (who besieged Vienna twice) and the impact of the Orient (the East) on Viennese art, music, architecture, and literature throughout the centuries.

Mathias Enard once said that "If Vienna is the gate to Orient, to which Orient does it lead?" This is the subtle theme of his refined and cultured novel "Compass" and through our conversation, we will be able to approach these various "Orients" and their relationship with Vienna. We’ll begin exploring historical events, such as the third crusade and the two ottoman sieges of Vienna. Both of these events brought the Viennese in direct contact with the Orient and we begin to see the impact of these encounters on daily life (the café tradition), on Viennese fashion, music, art, architecture, and literature. Orientalism is born!

After 1736, we’ll learn how the Sephardic Jews became the first recognized non-catholic community in Vienna. We’ll discuss the most famous Austrian orientalist, Hammer-Purgstall, who published a "History of the Ottoman Empire", a "History of Ottoman Literature" and translated "Hafis`Diwan" which inspired Goethe for his "West-Eastern Diwan".

The remaining half of our conversation will concentrate mainly on the nineteenth century, where we will observe an increasing interest for expeditions to the Orient. Viennese archeologists, artists, businessmen, or just travelers, began to explore the East in a much deeper way, extending their travels to the whole Middle East. We’ll analyze their notes, sketches, paintings, and first photographies that nourish the imagination of those who remained in the capital. During the second part of the nineteenth century, we’ll discuss how Vienna (and Europe) had a growing taste for Orientalism, an interpretation or projection of an ideal or fantasy Orient in painting and architecture.

Many visual examples will allow us to follow this oriental journey through the lens of Vienna. We’ll finish up with a discussion of the final association with the Orient before the annexation of Bosnia in 1909 and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Led by an expert on Viennese art, participants will emerge with a greater understanding of the many aspects of Vienna as a gate to the Orient.

Swiss artist Gilles Gubelmann studied piano and dance at the Geneva Conservatory. He then worked for many years as an expert for arts and antiques in an important Swiss Auction House (Koller Auctions) where he was director of the Department of Antique Furniture and Decorative Arts. He realised a dream and moved to Venice where he started working as a painter and as an opera set and costume designer all over Europe, and also deepening his knowledge of art history and architecture. Settled now in Vienna, Gilles continues his artistic activities, works as a lecturer at the University of Music and Performing Arts and highly enjoys uncovering the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Vienna to curious travellers.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

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Delightful exploration of the influence of the Orient on Vienna
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Excellent

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
100%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
L
L.
Delightful exploration of the influence of the Orient on Vienna
A
A.
Excellent