Art-History Viennese style

Vienna Travel Blog

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Rain, rain rain…….another day of rain! So, making the best of things, I went to another fantastic Vienna museum, the Kunst Historisches Museum (Art History Museum).

The monumental structure, built at the order of Emperor Franz Joseph I as part of his expansion of the city in 1858, was intended to both unite and appropriately represent the artistic treasures that had been collected by the Habsburgs over the centuries.

It is divided into several different sections; Egyptian and Near East, Greek and Roman Antiquities, and Picture Gallery.

The monumental structure, built at the behest of Emperor Franz Joseph I as part of his expansion of the city in 1858, was intended to both unite and appropriately represent the artistic treasures that had been collected by the Habsburgs over the centuries.

The Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum is among the world’s most important collections of Egyptian antiquities. The more than 12,000 objects date from a period of almost four thousand years, from the Egyptian Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods (ca. 3500 BC) to the early Christian era. Geographically their origins range from Egypt, Nubia, the eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia to the Arabian Peninsula.

The collection is structured in four large areas: funerary cult, cultural history, sculpture and relief and the development of writing. Among the highlights are the richly decorated Offering Chapel of Ka-ni-nisut from the Old Kingdom, numerous sarcophagi and coffins, animal mummies, examples of the Book of the Dead, grave stelae, divine figures, objects of daily life such as clothing and cosmetic articles, masterpieces of sculpture such as the Reserve Head from Giza, facial stelae from southern Arabia as well as a depiction of a lion from the Ishtar Gate in Babylon.

The objects in the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities span a period of more than three millennia and range from Bronze Age ceramics of Cyprus dating from the 3rd millennium BC to early Medieval finds. Some 2500 objects are on permanent display. Three main areas in particular make this collection one of the best of its kind: the unique and spectacular antique cameos, including the famous Gemma Augustea, the treasure troves dating from the period of the great migrations and the early Middle Ages, such as the golden treasure of NagyszentmiklĂłs, and the collection of vases with such masterpieces as the Brygos Cup.

Man froAmong the other highlights of the collection are the larger-than life Votive Statue of a m Cyprus, the Amazonian Sarcophagus, the bronze tablet with the famous Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus, the Theseus Mosaic from Salzburg and, not least, the Youth from the Magdalensberg, to name only a few.

The Picture Gallery of the Kunsthistorisches Museum developed from the art collections of the House of Habsburg. Today it is one of the largest and most important of its kind in the world.

The foundations of the collection were laid and its main emphases set in the
17th century: 16th-century Venetian painting (Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto), 17th-century Flemish painting (Peter Paul Rubens, Sir Anthony Van Dyck), Early Netherlandish painting (Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Hieronymus Bosch) and German Renaissance painting (Albrecht DĂĽrer, Lucas Cranach).

Among the other highlights in the Picture Gallery are its holdings of pictures by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which are unique worldwide, as well as masterpieces by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Raphael, Caravaggio, Velázquez and Italian Baroque painters.

There were many that wowed me especially those of Giuseppe Archibald (seasons and elements series), Albecht Dürer dark and yet a bit whimsical, and Michelangelo’s “David with the head of Goliath”.

The museum was much more than I had expected. As an extra, there were several artists, each copying one of the master’s works. It gave quite an insight. I was fortunate to be able to take pictures. I have many to share with you.

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photo by: EmyG