In Love with Laura – A Mystery in Marble exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna opens June 20th

In Love with Laura – A Mystery in Marble – an exhibition centering around one Renaissance bust at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum

Another new exhibition at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum opens on 20th June, 2023.

The exhibition is called In Love with Laura — A Mystery in Marble, and interestingly focuses on one work — Croatian/Italian sculptor Francesco Laurana’s Female Bust.

A bust that is in the permanent collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and one that is quite mysterious when it comes to the identity of the woman who was the subject of the bust.

Simply known asFemale Bust, Ideal Portrait of Laura (?)‘, it is also noteworthy as the bust is one of only a handful of Renaissance marble busts that still feature their original coloring.

Why an In Love with Laura – A Mystery in Marble exhibition?

According to scholars at the Kunsthistorisches, the woman portrayed in the bust looks very similar to a depiction of Laura, the legendary love of the scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca.

The In Love with Laura — A Mystery in Marble exhibition will showcase that thesis, and attempt to prove Female Bust is indeed a portrait of Laura.

A woman who caused Petrarca (commonly known as Petrarch) to forget his vocation to become a priest after meeting her at church on Good Friday, in the year 1327.

Unfortunately for Petrarch, his advances were rebuffed as Laura was already married, but this did not stop him from pining after her for years, or from writing more than 300 poems about her during the next few decades.

Alongside the mysterious bust, the latest Kunsthistorisches Museum exhibition will also showcase Giorgione’s Laura painting, as well as loans from the Biblioteca Laurenziana in Florence and the Frick Collection in New York.

Tickets for In Love with Laura – A Mystery in Marble

Admittance to the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s In Love with Laura exhibition is included in the price of a general admission ticket to the museum.

Tickets can be purchased via the museum’s website, or in person at the museum itself.

You will find Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum at:

Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Wien


About Michelle Topham

I'm a journalist, and the founder of Oh My Vienna. I have been living in Vienna since 2016 as an immigrant, because 'expat' is just a fancy word that means exactly that.