From the early nineteenth century up to the Nazi era, Vienna was a city where extraordinary advances in medicine, psychology and political and social theory took place. Helnwein’s art draws inspiration from this city. His portraits of children, vulnerable and damaged, can be read as a commentary on psychoanalysis, where internalised traumas are brought to the surface. Pioneeered in Vienna, Freudian psychoanalysis was too easily used to suppress acknowledgement of child abuse. In his conflation of Nazi propaganda with Catholic iconography, Helnwein critiques the denial of history that enveloped his native country in the 1950’s. His paintings of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse evoke consumer capitalism, the theoretical underpinnings of which were developed in Vienna by Ludwig von Mises and Freidrich Heyek, and transferred, as with so much of the intellectual and artistic life of Vienna, to the United States in the 1930’s. The ruins of post-war Vienna formed the backdrop for Carol Reed’s The Third Man, a film which, perhaps not coincidentally, also deals with the damage caused to children by the moral corruption of adults.