|Location||Maria Theresien Platz Vienna, Austria|
|Director||Sabine Haag (since 2009)|
|Architect||Karl Hasenauer, Gottfried Semper|
The Kunsthistorisches Museum (lit. "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 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 Ringstraße 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 60 metres (200 ft) high. 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.
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:
- Jan van Eyck: Portrait of Cardinal Niccolò Albergati (c. 1431)
- Antonello da Messina: San Cassiano Altarpiece (1475–1476)
- Albrecht Dürer:
- Lorenzo Lotto: Madonna and Child with Saint Catherine and Saint James (c.1527)
- Tintoretto: Susanna and the Elders (1555–56)
- 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 (February - March) (1565)
- The Return of the Herd (October - November) (1565)
- The Hunters in the Snow (December - January) (1565)
- The Peasant and the Nest Robber (Bauer und Vogeldieb), 1568
- The Peasant Wedding (1568/69)
- The Peasant Dance (1568/69)
- Giuseppe Arcimboldo:
- The Four Seasons
- Summer (1563)
- The Four Seasons
- Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio:
- Peter Paul Rubens:
- 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.
- Adrien Manglard: Seestück; Seehafen
- Thomas Gainsborough: Landscape in Suffolk (1748; currently not on display)
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
- Ephesus Museum
- Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments
- Collection of Arms and Armour
- 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:
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.
- "Bundesmuseen: Die meisten Besucher in KHM, Belvedere und Albertina" [Federal museums: Most visitors go to the KHM, Belvedere and Albertina]. Der Standard (in German). Vienna. Austria Press Agency. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
- The Office Of The High Chamberlain (31 December 1906). Guide to the Treasury of the Imperial House of Austria. Vienna: A. Holzhausen. p. 12.
- Czerny, Ernst (2012). "Gustav Klimt and Egyptian Art. Paintings in the staircase of the Kunsthistorisches Museum" (PDF). Egypt and Austria VII. Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. ISBN 978-8073312473.
- "Police find stolen £36m figurine". BBC News. 22 January 2006. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
- "The Best of Bruegel – Only in Vienna". Kunsthistorisches Museum. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
Media related to Kunsthistorisches Museum at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website (in English)
- Photoartkalmar.com: Spherical panorama of entrance
- Flickr.com: Hofburg's Armory photo gallery