Kunsthistorisches Museum  

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 The Winter (1563) is by Giuseppe Arcimboldo is in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
The Winter (1563) is by Giuseppe Arcimboldo is in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

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The Kunsthistorisches Museum is an art museum in Vienna, Austria. Housed in its festive palatial building , it is crowned with an octagonal dome. The term Kunsthistorisches Museum applies to both the institution and the main building. It is the largest art museum in the country and one of the most important museums worldwide.

Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary opened the facility around 1891 at the same time as the Natural History Museum, Vienna which has a similar design and is directly across Maria-Theresien-Platz. The two buildings were constructed between 1871 and 1891 according to plans by Gottfried Semper and Baron Karl von Hasenauer. The emperor commissioned the two museums to create a suitable home for the Habsburgs' formidable art collection and to make it accessible to the general public. The buildings are rectangular in shape, with symmetrical Renaissance Revival façades of sandstone lined with large arched windows on the main levels and topped with an octagonal dome. The interiors of the museums are lavishly decorated with marble, stucco ornamentation, gold-leaf, and murals. The grand stairway features paintings by Gustav Klimt, Ernst Klimt, Franz Matsch, Hans Makart and Mihály Munkácsy.



Picture gallery

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, of which his Italian paintings were first documented in the Theatrum Pictorium.

Notable works in the picture gallery include:

The collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum:

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


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


Also affiliated are the:

Nazi-looted art

In 2010, an Austrian government panel recommended that the Kunsthistorisches Museum should restitute two altar panels by the 16th-century Dutch artist, Maerten van Heemskerck to the heirs of Richard Neumann, a Jewish art collector in Vienna plundered by the Nazis.

In 2015, a dispute over a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Fight Between Carnival and Lent (1559) erupted between Poland and Austria. Poland presented evidence that the painting had been seized by Charlotte von Wächter, the wife of Krakow's Nazi governor Otto von Wächter, during the German occupation of Poland. The Kunsthistorisches Museum, insisted that it had owned the painting since the 17th century, and that the artwork seized by von Wächter in 1939 "was a different painting".

Recent events

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

The museum is the subject of Johannes Holzhausen's documentary film The Great Museum (2014), filmed over two years in the run up to the re-opening of the newly renovated and expanded Kunstkammer rooms in 2013.

From October 2018 through January 2019 the museum hosted the world's largest-ever exhibition of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder called Bruegel – Once in a Lifetime.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Kunsthistorisches Museum" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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