By Oscar Wilde (auth.)
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Sisi” (SEE-see)—was Franz Josef’s mysterious, beautiful, and narcissistic wife. This museum traces her fabulous but tragic life. Sisi’s Death The exhibit starts with Sisi’s sad end, showing her death mask, photos of her funeral procession (by the Hercules statues facing Michaelerplatz), and an engraving of a grieving Franz Josef. It was at her death that the obscure, private empress’ legend began to grow. • Continue into the corridor. The Sisi Myth Newspaper clippings of the day make it clear that the empress was not a major public figure in her lifetime.
Then enter the darkest room. See Sisi (1837-1898) Death of Sisi’s Son A mannequin wears a replica of Sisi’s black dress. In 1889, Sisi’s and Franz Josef’s son, Prince Rudolf—whose life had veered into sex, drugs, and liberal politics—apparently killed his lover and himself in a suicide pact. Sisi was shattered and retreated further from public life. • Stroll through several more rooms. Escape Sisi consoled herself with poetry (the museum has quotes on the walls) that expresses a longing to escape into an ideal world.
There’s the red carpet, covered with oriental rugs. There were always lots of fresh flowers. She not only slept here, but also lived here—the bed was rolled in and out daily—until her death in 1898. The desk is where she sat and wrote her letters and poems. Sisi’s Dressing/Exercise Room Servants worked three hours a day on Sisi’s famous hair, while she passed the time reading. She’d exercise on the wooden structure and on the rings suspended from the doorway to the left. Afterward, she’d get a massage on the red-covered bed.