Travel as Inspiration... whatever your "Muse" may be...

Posted by Rich Mancini on 8/16/2013
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: Europe, River Cruise, Museums, Art Travel

Art TravelInspiration can be a funny thing. It seems to come to us in as many different ways as there are people to be inspired in the first place. Sometimes, it’s experiencing a great work of art – like, say, gazing transfixed at Rembrandt’s The Night Watch in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – that does it. Or maybe it’s standing in roughly the same spot as van Gogh did when he first envisioned Starry Night, or where Monet might have stood while capturing the subtle differences of light, color and shadow for one of more than 30 strikingly different impressions of the same structure... the cathedral at Rouen.

For an artist, how can an experience like that not inspire you to grab your brushes and paints, seek out an appropriate landscape – or riverscape – and start creating your own masterpiece? Like Tauck guest Toni Fine has done on several of our river cruises, filling the pages of her notebooks with vivid watercolors accompanied by handwritten remarks, creating vibrantly illustrated logs of her journeys. Or John Casey, who routinely packed his watercolors and recorded his travels on his 10 Tauck trips to Europe... resulting in works that are anything but routine.

If music is your muse, you’ll find inspiration in cities like Vienna, Prague, Bonn, Budapest, Bratislava, Salzburg and Bucharest – the stomping grounds of more musical geniuses than you can shake a baton at... from Mozart and Beethoven to Bartók and Brahms. You might visit their homes and concert halls where their reputations were made... or listen to their music in a salon where they themselves once played. And what better inspiration could you possibly find to coax out those musical wellsprings lurking within you... until you’re humming or whistling in spite of yourself?

Sometimes, art may simply inspire you to discover more art... along with new directions in which to follow and appreciate it. This is exactly what happened to me several years ago while on Tauck’s The Blue Danube river cruise. With a few hours on my own in the heart of Vienna, I wandered into the Kunsthistoriches (Museum of Fine Arts). Hardly bothering to consult an exhibit map, I just wound my way from one incredible room to another, feasting on a treasure-trove of European art from all eras. Being neither an art scholar nor a true aficionado, I still found much to keep me interested and engaged, and was treated to many masterworks I had never laid eyes on before.

But that experience, in turn, led to my unexpected discovery of another Vienna institution I hadn’t even known existed – the Austrian Theatre Museum, part of the Kunsthistoriches and housed in the Baroque-era Lobkowitz Palace, not far from the Hofburg – where I (a sometime actor, director and confirmed “theatre junkie”) spent the rest of the afternoon immersed in a vast collection of photos, drawings, costumes, scenic models, stage props and other artifacts chronicling Vienna’s and Austria’s rich theatrical and operatic history. I had the place practically to myself for hours, and barely scratched the surface. It was pure heaven for a stage-hound like me. And, of course... more than a bit inspirational.

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