Exhibition reveals sad side to Sissi’s life

FOR many Chinese, Princess Sissi is a household name thanks to a series of 1950s movies starring Romy Schneider. In 1985, the movie, “Sissi,” swept China as it revealed the princess as a free spirit who possessed an ardent love for life.

But an exhibition, titled “Sissi and Hungary — The Magnificent Life of Hungarian Aristocracy in the 17-19th Century,” currently underway at Shanghai Museum is revealing an unhappy side of Sissi.

Organized by the Hungarian National Museum, the exhibition features more than 150 original items that show the life of aristocratic families over the last 400 years.

“It is the first time the treasures, carefully selected from our museum’s collection, meet art lovers in China,” said Varga Benedek, director-general at the museum.

The exhibition is divided into five parts, including a brief introduction of the Habsburg monarchy and Hungary, the clothing, the lives, the weapons and the religion of the Hungarian royal family and nobility, showing the magnificent life of Hungarian aristocracy in the 17-19th century.

In the first part, a special focus is put on Empress Elizabeth (1837-98), nicknamed Sissi, and her legendary life.

In reality, Empress Elizabeth was not happy in her marriage, and her only son Rudolf was cared for by her mother-in-law. But her son committed suicide when he grew up due to depression. Since then, the empress only wore black clothes and traveled widely to ease her pains. She was murdered in 1898 by an anarchist at the age of 52.

Some of her canvas, lithograph print, picture and garments, shoes, belts and saddle that she wore and used are exhibited in Shanghai.


Date: Though September 3, 9am-4pm
Venue: Shanghai Museum

Address: 201 People’s Ave