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Photographer's Note

The Secession members commissioned the hardly 30-year-old architect Joseph Maria Olbrich, who was at the time a member of Otto Wagner's atelier, to design the building, which was to become a key work of Viennese Art Nouveau.
The ground plan and cross-section of the Secession reveals very simple geometrical forms. The building itself covers an area of about 1000m2 and has a centralised floor plan. Olbrich exploited the square as a basic motif in a number of cruciform combinations in the entrance area and exhibition wing. This scheme for the floor plan determines the entire [plastic] shape of the building.

The laurel leaf is the dominant symbol in the completed building. It can be found on the pilasters of the front/anterior wing and the entrance niche/recess, as well as in the various garlands along the side elevations and it hovers over the building in the form of the 3000 gilt leaves and 700 berries of the dome. The entrance area is decorated by the masks of the three Gorgons, which symbolise architecture, sculpture and painting.

The Secession building, which is now recognised as one the high points of any visit to Vienna, was heaped with derision at the turn of the century. The building was described as Opiniona "Temple for Bullfrogs", "A Temple of the Anarchic Art Movement", a "mausoleum", a "Pharoah's Tomb", "The Grave of the Mahdi" and a "crematorium", the dome was know as "a head of cabbage".

This is my favorite attraction in Vienna.

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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