Forget Klimt’s lavish gold paintings, and think rather of Freud, neurosis and hysteria. That is what Vienna at the turn of the century reflected. In fact, as National Gallery director, Dr Nicholas Penny joked at the press opening of Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900 (until 12 Jan 2014), there have seldom been more “distressed, demented, deluded and deceased people” on show together! Vienna was a city transformed by immigrants after the monarchy had declared equal rights for all citizens in 1867 and portraiture was the means of declaring your identity in this society. The city became an incredible hothouse of artists finding a new modernist idiom in what had been a rigid social order defined by class, but they reflected all the anxiety of their displaced subjects. That brief flowering of art resulted in work that has a raw and direct power, but is seldom easy viewing: Egon Schiele’s imagined family; a nude self-portrait by Richard Gerstl, a promising young artist soon to commit suicide; Oskar Kokoschka’s portraits which critics of the time decried as smelling of decay or the atonal composer Arnold Schönberg’s blue self-portrait. The faces that stare back at you are not the polite elite, rather the tortured souls about to face a holocaust.