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.
It was opened around 1891 at the same time as the Natural History Museum, Vienna, 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 Baron Karl 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 buildings are rectangular in shape, and topped with a dome that is 60 meters high. The façade was built of sandstone. The inside of the museums is lavishly decorated with marble, stucco ornamentations, gold-leaf and paintings. The staircase of the Kunsthistorisches Museum is equipped with 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:
The collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum:
Also affiliated are the:
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 was featured in an episode of Museum Secrets on the History Channel. It had been the biggest 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 from October 2018 through January 2019 was shown the world’s largest-ever exhibition of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder called Bruegel – Once in a Lifetime”.
Gustav Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d'art. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, he painted landscapes. Among the artists of the Vienna Secession, Klimt was the most influenced by Japanese art and its methods.
Pieter Bruegelthe Elder was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker from Brabant, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes ; he was a pioneer in making both types of subject the focus in large paintings.
The Harvesters is an oil painting on wood completed by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1565. It depicts the harvest time, in the months of July and August or late summer. Nicolaes Jonghelinck, a merchant banker and art collector from Antwerp, commissioned this painting.
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, younger brother of Emperor Ferdinand III, was an Austrian soldier, administrator and patron of the arts.
Maria-Theresien-Platz is a large public square in Vienna, Austria, that joins the Ringstraße with the Museumsquartier, a museum of modern arts located in the former Imperial Stables. Facing each other from the sides of the square are two near identical buildings, the Naturhistorisches Museum and the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The buildings are near identical, except for the statuary on their façades. The Naturhistorisches' façade has statues depicting personifications of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The Kunsthistorisches façade features famous European artists, such as the Dutch Bruegel, among others.
Museo di Capodimonte is an art museum located in the Palace of Capodimonte, a grand Bourbon palazzo in Naples, Italy. The museum is the prime repository of Neapolitan painting and decorative art, with several important works from other Italian schools of painting, and some important ancient Roman sculptures. It is one of the largest museums in Italy.
The Peasant Wedding is a 1567 genre painting by the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painter and printmaker Pieter Bruegel the Elder, one of his many depicting peasant life. It is now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Pieter Bruegel the Elder enjoyed painting peasants and different aspects of their lives in so many of his paintings that he has been called Peasant-Bruegel, but he was an intellectual, and many of his paintings have a symbolic meaning as well as a moral aspect.
The year 1565 in art involved some significant events and new works.
The Hunters in the Snow, also known as The Return of the Hunters, is a 1565 oil-on-wood painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Northern Renaissance work is one of a series of works, five of which still survive, that depict different times of the year. The painting is in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. This scene is set in the depths of winter during December/January.
The Gloomy Day is an oil on wood painting by Pieter Bruegel in 1565. The painting is one in a series of six works, five of which are still extant, that depict different times of the year. The painting is currently in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, located in Vienna, Austria.
The Return of the Herd is an oil on wood painting by Pieter Bruegel in 1565. The painting is one in a series of six works that depict different seasons. The painting is currently in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, located in Vienna, Austria. The autumnal colors of the landscape and the bare trees connect this particular painting to October/November.
Violante is an oil painting attributed to Titian, dated to around 1515 and now held at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
The Beggars or The Cripples is an oil-on-panel by the Netherlandish Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted in 1568. It is now in the Louvre in Paris.
The Peasant Dance is an oil-on-panel by the Netherlandish Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted in c.1569. It was looted by Napoleon Bonaparte and brought to Paris in 1808, being returned in 1815. Today it is held by and exhibited at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
The Peasant and the Nest Robber is an oil-on-panel painting by the Netherlandish Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted in 1568. It is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
The Suicide of Saul is an oil-on-panel by the Netherlandish Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted in 1562. It is in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
The Wedding Dance is a 1566 oil-on-panel painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Owned by the museum of the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit, Michigan, the work was discovered by its director in England in 1930, and brought to Detroit. It is believed to be one of a set of three Bruegel works from around the same time, The Wedding Dance, The Peasant Wedding (1567) and The Peasant Dance (1569).
Theatrum Pictorium, or Theatre of Painting, is a short-hand name of a book published in the 1660s by David Teniers the Younger for his employer, the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria. It was a catalog of 243 Italian paintings in the Archduke's collection of over 1300 paintings, with engravings of the paintings taken from small models that Teniers had personally prepared. A second edition with page numbers was published in 1673.
Several oil-on-oak-panel versions of The Massacre of the Innocents were painted by 16th-century Netherlandish painters Pieter Bruegel the Elder and his son Pieter Brueghel the Younger. The work translates the Biblical account of the Massacre of the Innocents into a winter scene in the Netherlands in the prelude to the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule, also known as the Eighty Years' War.
Nicolaes Jonghelinck (1517-1570) was a merchant banker and art collector in Antwerp. He is best known for his collection of paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Frans Floris. His brother was the sculptor Jacques Jonghelinck.