The Kunsthistorisches Museum – a total work of art as the highest enjoyment of art

Kunsthistorisches museum

Since when can the works of art be admired in the Kunsthistorisches Museum? Which Habsburgs were particular art lovers and who is considered the actual founder of the collection? Which paintings are they more likely to miss here?

A world-renowned art museum where you can see the great old masterpieces . It displays the private collections of the Habsburgs . The building itself is an architectural synthesis of the arts and is located on the Vienna Ring Road. Particularly impressive are the entrance hall,the staircase and the Dome. Gustav Klimt immortalized himself at the staircase with a picture cycle about the different art movements.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) is divided into the following departments:

The Picture Gallery
– The KHM boasts the largest Bruegel collection outside Belgium. Floor-to-ceiling works by Rubens stand out, as well as by Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, Titian, Raphael and Velazquez. Paintings by French painters were hardly collected. It should not be forgotten that the Habsburgs were at loggerheads with the French most of the time, apart from the examples of marriage politics (Marie-Antoinette with Louis XVI and Marie-Louise with Napoleon).

The Kunstkammer
, which has been resplendent in its most beautiful new splendor since March 2013, traces its origins to the chambers of art and curiosities of the late Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Baroque periods . 2,200 most diverse objects are shown in 20 rooms . These collections were the precursors of the collection of paintings and underlined the creditworthiness of the ruler. The objects have a value that cannot be measured in numbers nowadays. The masterpiece of the Kunstkammer is the “Saliera” – a golden salt container by Benvenuto Cellini from the 16th century. Nowadays, the only comparable Kunstkammer is the Green Vault in Dresden, where something similar can be seen.

The Egyptian-Oriental Collection houses a real treasure in Vienna with a considerable 17,000 objects. The Habsburgs were passionate collectors and this department bears witness to that.

The Collection of Antiquities
is no less worth seeing for all fans of Greek and Roman art.

Coin fans take note: The coin cabinet on the top floor comprises the most extensive collection in Austria and is one of the five largest coin cabinets in the world, along with London, Paris, Berlin and St. Petersburg.

How did the Habsburg collections come about?

The Austrian line of the Habsburgs gathered their Works of art since the 15th century in Vienna, Prague, Innsbruck and Graz. Ferdinand I (1503-1564) had established a chamber of art and curiosities in the Vienna Hofburg . In 1656, the governor of the Spanish Netherlands, Archduke Leopold Wilhelm , moved his 1,400 paintings by Italian and Dutch masters from Brussels to Vienna . He is considered the actual founder of this unique picture gallery.


Through marriage and inheritance , an incredible treasure had been gathered in the Stallburg over the course of centuries. Emperor Franz I Stephan, husband of Maria Theresa, was the founder of the rich natural history collections, the coin collection and the Tapestries. Vienna has one of the largest collections of tapestries in the world next to Madrid!

In 1781 the Habsburg paintings were brought together in Belvedere Palace and by an imperial decree of Joseph II. was the first gallery in Europe to beopened to the general public with free admission . This was, of course, entirely in the spirit of the Enlightenment.

Emperor Franz Josef I decided on December 20, 1857 to demolish the city wall and build a boulevard in its place . The emperor wanted to counter the development of bourgeois power on the Ring with imposing court buildings . The dome-crowned twin buildings of the two court museums, the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Naturhistorisches Museum, designed by Gottfried Semper and Carl von Hasenauer , were intended to provide an appropriate setting for the treasures of art and nature that had been accumulated over four centuries .

Since October 22, 1891 , the museum is open to the public, initially only on weekends and in the best outfit and only with clean shoes to enter. This has changed in that the museum is open every day except Monday (during the winter season). In summer and during the high season it is open every day.

Time Travel Tip: A museum break for café and cake in the domed hall is a treat. The view of Maria-Theresien-Platz and the twin building of the Natural History Museum. opposite is also included. Attention: Only possible with entrance ticket! The museum store is well attended and offers nice gifts as well as nice souvenirs of the museum.

More info: Kunsthistorisches Museum: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (












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