In anticipation of our upcoming week in Italy (A new quarter at the American School means another holiday week for the students. This one is called “ski break.”), we have been on a self-imposed Italian food and wine ban for the last three weeks. The ban has meant I’ve had to be a little more creative with the dinner menu, and on Thursday I sought inspiration at the Naschmarkt.
Emerging from the Kettenbrückengasse station on a Saturday morning one can be easily distracted with the sights and sounds of the Naschmarkt and its flea market, and forget to cast a glance to the surrounds. Not so on a weekday; there’s no flea market distraction, just a few die-hard vendors selling “cashmina” shawls and football jerseys to the tourists braving Central Europe in winter.
Art Nouveau is sprinkled all around the city. “Majolika Haus,” so named because it is covered in ceramic tiles, at the westerly end of the market is of the Secession style, the term given to Austrian artists who broke with the establishment near the turn of the 20th century. Surprise! Gustav Klimt was a founding member. Surprise! He left the movement about a decade later over artistic differences.
Would it not be grand to have a balcony this beautiful?
At the other end of the market is the Secession building, initially constructed as the exhibition space for Secession artists and their work. The architecture of the building is very symbolic, as I’ve learned. The gold dome of laurel leaves symbolizes the hard-fought victory by the Secession artists to gain authority to construct the building. I am particularly drawn to the geometry of the building, but what it symbolizes I do not know.
The trees add a touch of nature to the hard edges of the building.
I do not know why the turtles were used.
The owls symbolize the Pallas of Athene, the goddess of wisdom, victory, and crafts.
And then, darn it. Somehow my camera setting switched to monochrome; I was juggling my shopping bag and probably changed the setting. At first I was bummed, but I’ve now decided I like the photo.
So what was I inspired to prepare for dinner? Along with short ribs from a favorite butcher in the market, I picked up fresh ingredients for a savory and satisfying Pho pot.