Kunsthistorisches Museum

Vienna, Austria

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is an art museum in Vienna. Housed in its festive palatial building on Ringstraße, it is crowned with an octagonal dome. It is the largest art museum in the country.

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 similar exteriors and face each other across Maria-Theresien-Platz. Both buildings were built between 1871 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.

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 and the collection of paintings of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, of which his Italian paintings were first documented in the Theatrum Pictorium.

Notable works in the picture gallery include masterpieces from Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, Tintoretto, Rembrandt, Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rupens.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Burgring 5, Vienna, Austria
See all sites in Vienna

Details

Founded: 1891
Category: Museums in Austria

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

S.C. K. (16 months ago)
In my opinion a must-see for tourists and locals. The museum itself is a piece of art, one of the most beautiful and impressive buildings in Vienna (from the in-and outside). Take a look and have a coffee&cake in the "Kaffeehaus" inside the museum. You won't regret a visit!
Robin Singaroyan (16 months ago)
What's unique about this museum is the building. During the time of the built no expense was spared permitting the architects to employ the best, get the best material and make this building a gem for the centuries to follow! Building something like this would be impossible now as no government would be permitted to spend so lavishly! The artifacts are equally good and diverse. You could spend an afternoon just admiring the ceilings! Even the cafe in the building is a work of art.. Been here twice and will likely be back!
AB S (17 months ago)
THE MUSEUM! You really have to see it! The Louvres in comparison is half way... They have such an incredible amount of marvels, treasure and masterpieces! It's just incredible they are not more famous! All the masterpieces seen in books or TV since always are there.
Natalia K (18 months ago)
It has always been an amazing experience. Every time I enter those halls I find something new to see, even if considering that I was there many times before. It takes many hours to examine those fantastic art objects.
Aakshi Wadhwa (18 months ago)
No doubt exceptionally beautiful and very well curated. But you need at least 5 hours to see everything properly. And the cafe inside is superb. Amazing food . I am a vegetarian so generally everywhere else less options always and average food. Though not much veg options, but the vital wrap I had was really yum.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.