Day 07: Top five favorite historical figures.

As you might notice from the portraits above, I’m quite a fan of the late 19th, early 20th century. All my favorite historical figures lived at this time – the beginning of the modern spirit and the start of psycho-analysis.

  • Sigmund Freud. I discovered Freud when I was about fifteen or sixteen, after visiting his apartment at Berggasse 19 in Vienna with my older sister. The era around the turn of the century had fascinated me for some time by then and I had discovered especially the art of this time. Freud gave my view on this special decades a second, deeper relevance. I started to read his biography, tried to understand a little bit more about psycho-analysis and was deeply intrigued by its modern spirit, or by the fact that our present-day life was so much influenced by him and his work. He of course also is, as most of the big minds in history, also a difficult and critisized person. But I wouldn’t want to think about, what our life now would be without him and his work.
  • Vincent van Gogh. My admiration for Gogh came a little bit earlier on, as you get in contact with him and his work quite easy nowadays. He is more or less everywhere. There are postcards and fridge magnets with his art, books about his life and people with “Starry night”-printed umbrellas on the streets. Van Gogh’s art always was very approachable for me and I love the clarity in his work, even though he brought twirly lines to perfection. And his life also fascinated me very much – the archetypel struggling artist who, in the end, just couldn’t manage life even though he cherished it so much with his drawings and his work.
  • Gustav Klimt. I just notice, that my selection is quite Austria focused – but for my defence, at my favorite era Vienna was an important and thriving center of art and culture. So it’s not really a surprise that many of my favourite historical ficures come from that time. Even though it may be the other way around, which would leave me a little narrow minded, but I don’t think that this would be the case. But now to Klimt – as much as van Gogh I also admire his work a lot. Again he is very clear and also very playful in his art and this seems to be something that really speaks to me. He is one of our greatest minds and we can be very proud to have him.
  • Oscar Wilde. At first I have to say, that I surely know too little about this amazing character. I mostly know things about his life, read his biography and soaked in every film made about him. His life is popular material for movie plots and books because it was so dazzling and tragic. I always related to him very strongly, because he was such a fragile and beautiful human being and he knew how to live his life well. But sadly the time he grew into wasn’t ready for him and chose to destroy this special man.
  • Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria. Maybe my fascination for this man is kind of an strange monarchic impulse embedded deep into my Austrian soul. I really don’t know. But I know that Rudolf, son to Franz Joseph I of Austria and his infamous wife Elisabeth was one of the big modern minds of that century. He was very interested in foreign countries and had liberal views and ideas that didn’t match to those of his conservative father. But he also lived a wild life filled with affairs, alcohol and drugs which finally lead into suicide. Again a misunderstood and very free spirited character that had to leave this earth much to early. And all this holds a deep fascination for me and makes him to one of my favourite historical figures.
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About Mardou
Hi! My name is Manuela Heidenreich but sometimes I'm Mardou around the web. I live in Vienna, work as a multimedia designer and try to be an illustrator in my spare time. This blog is about everything that fascinates me - no more, no less.

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