Kunsthistorisches Museum

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thumb by Pieter Brueghel.]] thumb, 1563]] thumb by Velázquez.]]

The Kunsthistorisches Museum (English: "Museum of Art History", also often referred to as the "Museum of Fine Arts") is an art museum in Vienna, Austria. Housed in its festive palatial building on Ringstraße, it is crowned with an octagonal dome. The term Kunsthistorisches Museum applies to both the institution and the main building.

It was opened around 1891 at the same time as the Naturhistorisches Museum, by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. The two museums have identical exteriors and face each other across Maria-Theresien-Platz. Both buildings were built between 1872 and 1891 according to plans drawn up by Gottfried Semper and Karl Freiherr von Hasenauer.

The two Ringstraße museums were commissioned by the Emperor in order to find a suitable shelter for the Habsburgs' formidable art collection and to make it accessible to the general public. The façade was built of sandstone. The building is rectangular in shape, and topped with a dome that is 60 meters high. The inside of the building is lavishly decorated with marble, stucco ornamentations, gold-leaf, and paintings.


Picture Gallery

Template:Category see also The museum's primary collections are those of the Habsburgs, particularly from the portrait and armour collections of Ferdinand of Tirol, the collections of Emperor Rudolph II (the largest part of which is, however, scattered), and the collection of paintings of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm.

Notable works in the picture gallery include:

  • Jan van Eyck: Portrait of Cardinal Niccolò Albergati (c. 1431)
  • Albrecht Dürer: Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
  • Tintoretto: Susanna and the Elders (1555–56)
  • Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Summer (1563)
  • Antonello da Messina: San Cassiano Altarpiece (1475–1476)
  • Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio:
    • Madonna of the Rosary (1606/07)
    • The Crowning with Thorns
    • David with the Head of Goliath
  • Peter Paul Rubens:
    • Ildefonso Altar (1630–32)
    • The Fur (1638)
  • Raphael: Madonna of the Meadow (1506)
  • Rembrandt: Self Portrait (1652)
  • Johannes Vermeer: The Art of Painting (1665/66)
  • Diego Velázquez: Several portraits of the Spanish royal family, a branch of the Habsburg, sent to Vienna.
  • Pieter Brueghel the Elder:
    • The Fight Between Carnival and Lent (1559)
    • Children's Games (1560)
    • The Tower of Babel (1563)
    • The Procession to Calvary (1564)
    • The Gloomy Day (Feb.-Ma.) (1565)
    • The Return of the Herd (Oct.-Nov.) (1565)
    • The Hunters in the Snow (Dec.-Jan.) (1565)
    • The Peasant and the Nest Robber (Bauer und Vogeldieb), 1568
    • The Peasant Wedding (1568/69)
    • The Peasant Dance (1568/69)

The collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum:

  • Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection
  • Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities
  • Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Arts
  • Coin Cabinet
  • Library


  • Ephesus Museum
  • Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments
  • Collection of Arms and Armour
  • Archive
  • Secular and Ecclesiastical Treasury (in the Schweizerhof)


  • Museum of Carriages and Department of Court Uniforms (in Schönbrunn Palace)
  • Collections of Ambras Castle (in Innsbruck)
  • the Austrian Theatre Museum in Palais Lobkowitz

Also affiliated are the:

  • Museum of Ethnology in the Neue Burg (affiliated in 2001);
  • Lipizzaner-Museum in the Stallburg

Recent events

One of the museum's most important objects, the Cellini Salt Cellar sculpture by Benvenuto Cellini, was stolen on May 11, 2003 and recovered on January 21, 2006, in a box buried in a forest near the town of Zwettl, Austria. It had been the biggest art theft in Austrian history.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum appears in considerable detail in the final mission of the video game Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, developed by Illusion Softworks.Template:Citation needed

The museum is the setting for director Jem Cohen's 2012 feature film Museum Hours, which premiered at the 2012 Locarno International Film Festival and screened within such festivals as Toronto International Film Festival and Maryland Film Festival. It is distributed by The Cinema Guild.


See also

  • Treasure of Nagyszentmiklós



External links