Vienna Pride 2021

at Kunsthistorisches Museum, Weltmuseum Wien & Theatermuseum

From 1 to 16 June, 2019 EuroPride takes place in Vienna. On this occasion, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Weltmuseum Wien and the Theatermuseum have assembled a diverse and queer event programme. Join us in seeing Old Masters in a new light and discover ambiguity, exceptions to the norm and eroticism where you wouldn’t typically expect them.

On Monday, 3 June
we celebrate

Pride Day at the Kunsthisto­ri­sches Museum

1.30 p.m. Drag Queen trifft Alte Meister – Queer Sein in Renaissance und Barock
Drag Queen Guided Tour (German)

3 p.m. A Drag Queen's View – Queer People in Renaissance und Baroque
Drag Queen Guided Tour (English)

4 p.m. We Could Be Heroes. Über Männlichkeiten
Drag Queen Guided Tour (German)

4.30 p.m. Drag Queen trifft Alte Meister – Queer Sein in Renaissance und Barock
Drag Queen Guided Tour (English)

On Friday, 7 June
we celebrate

Pride Day at the Weltmuseum

1 p.m. Till Death Do Us Part
Guided Tour in English

6 p.m. Desire, Lust and Fertility
Guided Tour in English

7–10 p.m. FemFriday #9
Concert and Artist Talk

Digital content

Drag Queen Guided Tour with Tiefe Kümmernis

The drag queen Tiefe Kümmernis has been guiding a tour at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in 2019 as part of the FACES project. Her alter ego, Benjamin, is an art historian and worked with us for our education department. In this video, Tiefe Kümmernis invites you to queer explorations in the Gemäldegalerie.

Our events from

Europride at Kunst­histo­risches Museum...

The Kunsthistorisches Museum presents objects from five millennia – but what do they have to do with the Pride parade? One might assume that LGBTI* people have only existed for a short while and that’s why there are no related objects in historical collections. This assumption is false, however – diverse types of gender identity and sexual preferences have always existed, but without the current terminology and discourse.

*) LGBTI* = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex.
The asterisk (*) denotes that this enumeration is not definite.


Intersex people are born with sex characteristics that do not match typical definitions of male or female bodies. This kind of natural variance has always existed. Mythology bears witness to that: The most famous intersex character of antiquity is called Hermaphroditus.

His legend was a popular subject in renaissance and baroque art, however, artists were uncertain whether to, and how to, depict intersex bodies.

The term “androgynous” (from ancient greek andrógynos: “manwoman”) has often been used interchangeably with intersex. However, nowadays it is mostly found in the context of beauty ideals. In European art around 1600, bodies with androgynous looks were particularly in style. Take this painting by Bartholomäus Spranger as an example: Bacchus and Ceres, who are traditionally considered to be male and female respectively, look rather similar in this case.

Homosexuality and Bisexuality

A well-known example of LGBTI* history is same-sex love between men in ancient Greece and Rome. We know of multiple rulers who both had wives and male partners who meant a great deal to them. Among them are Hadrian, Trajan and Alexander the Great. From today’s perspective, one could speak of bisexuality or homosexuality. Similar things can be assumed of women in antiquity. But they were hardly even allowed to participate in public life and that’s why the records of their sexual interests and love lives are much more scarce. Sappho is a famous exception to this rule. She lived on the isle of Lesbos (which inspired the word “lesbian”) and created poetry which described the inner and outer beauty of her female companions.

Even mighty warriors sometimes loved members of their own sex. Achilles, the legendary hero, had a partner named Patroclus. When Patroclus was killed by Hector in the Trojan War, Achilles was quick to slay Hector in revenge. On this ancient vase painting, Hector’s father is demanding the return of his son’s dead body (lying beneath the bed) from Achilles (lying on top of the bed).

There is a great deal of artists whose sexual inclinations have been speculated about even during their life time. Caravaggio, who might have been bisexual, is a notorious example of that.

You can find out more about Caravaggio HERE.

Even at the Hapsburg court in Vienna there are records of same-sex love. Isabella of Bourbon-Parma was 19 years old when she was married to the subsequent emperor Joseph II. She exchanged letters with her sister-in-law, Marie Christine, who was roughly the same age. One can gather from these letters that the two women were joined in more than just mutual admiration (“Adieu, I kiss you and worship you to a degree which I cannot express”, among many other examples).


Men and women who swapped clothes and the transgression of socially enforced gender norms can be found in art, too. The story of Hercules and Omphale relates how the hero had to serve as a queen’s slave and how they ended up falling in love. They’re said to have swapped clothes – for their own amusement, or maybe even to spice up their love life. However, Hercules got used to his female role, which the narrative equals with subordination and depreciation. Omphale, on the other hand, had no reason for shame after swapping clothes and social roles – instead, she even gained prestige and power. One day, Hercules remembered his duties as a hero and left Omphale. 

The Feminine Point of View

Time and time again, women managed to assert themselves in Europe’s patriarchal structures and become successful artists. Michaelina Woutiers from Flanders is a perfect example of that. Her Bacchanal is of monumental size, which women painters were thought incapable of creating. The painting depicts the revelry’s leader, Bacchus, not as an unsightly drunkard, but as an alluring nude in the painting’s centre. This could be interpreted as a reversal of the male (heterosexual) gaze, which otherwise rules in art history. The painter may have even included a self-portrait in the character on the right-hand edge of the canvas.

Europride at Weltmuseum Wien…

The Weltmuseum Wien is one of the world’s foremost ethnographical museums, with extensive collections of objects, historical photographs and books about non-European cultures. Among the multitude of objects from all over the world, there are many indicators of the fact that queer topics are not only a current phenomenon, but that they have been a part of various cultures for a very long time.


In scholarly Buddhism, the Goddess Tara embodies the “protective acts of compassion”. She offers protection from the dangers which seekers might face on the way to Nirvana: pride, misguidance, wrath, jealousy, fallacious ideas, parsimony, lust and doubt. For many laypeople, she is somewhat of a motherly figure when it comes to finding support for the troubles of this world.

According to the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Tara was incarnated as a princess, who steadfastly worked for the welfare of all sentient beings. When she reached a higher plane of existence, a sneering monk remarked to her that she could now reincarnate in a (putatively) more convenient male body, because a woman’s body was rather hindering in reaching enlightenment. The princess thereupon made a promise to always incarnate as a woman and to attain enlightenment in a female body. In Tibet, she became known as Tara the Saviouress, and offered inspiration for generations of practitioners of both genders. With her awakening, she proved that a female body can achieve enlightenment in the same way as a male body.

Walter Spies

The German painter, musician and collector Walter Spies (1895-1942) was one of the best Bali connoisseurs of his time. He collected the ornamented Lamak motifs and documented them with pencil and ink on paper. Palm leaf Lamak are hung in Balinese temples and are discarded when they have wilted after a few days. As a homosexual man, Spies suffered many attacks from the Dutch colonial government in Indonesia and he was arrested multiple times.

Europride at Theater­museum…

The Theatermuseum attempted with its 2019  exhibition Everybody dances. The Cosmos of Viennese Dance Modernism to inscribe significant female dancers of modernism into the great Viennese narrative. It focused on pioneering dancers, choreographers and teachers such as Isadora Duncan, Grete Wiesenthal, Gertrud Bodenwieser or Rosalia Chladek and many more.

Like no other art form, dance reflects gender attributions and relationships. But it also leaves room and opportunity for the discourse of these patterns or the liberation from them.

Role Models

Many female dancers dealt with given role structures and criticized gender specific role attributions. The nun is seen as embodiment of a nonsexual woman who dedicates her life to God. Hence the play with the nun’s costume is a game with female physicality and sexuality. Here we meet Mura Ziperowitsch, who by wearing a nun similar costume refers to the female corporality.


The numerous works that female dancers of Modernism characterized as grotesque allow to break with expectations of grace and charme in dance and to try out unconventional roles, positions, gestures and jumps. The caricature-like costumes and masques of the grotesque which also intends that clothes are worn by the opposite gender, can be found with many renowned female dancers in the 1920es, like Cilly Wang or Valeria Kratina.


The modern dance is also a story of the women’s emancipation. They free themselves from institutional constraints, found their own studios, become dancers, choreographers and teachers and eventually lead an independent life. The dancers overcome pre-defined structures, figures and poses of the classical ballet as well as corset and pointe shoe, dance barefoot and with flying hair.