Kunsthistorisches Museum

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Kunsthistorisches Museum
Maria-Theresien-Platz Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien 2010.jpg
Established 1872-1891
Location Vienna, Austria
Visitors 559,150 (2010)[1]
Website http://www.khm.at
Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel.
Summer, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1563
Sculptures at staircase.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum (English: "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 was opened around 1891 at the same time as the Naturhistorisches Museum, by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. The two museums have identical exteriors and face each other across Maria-Theresien-Platz. Both buildings were built between 1872 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.


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.

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 Cabinet
  • 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:

  • Museum of Ethnology in the Neue Burg (affiliated in 2001);
  • Lipizzaner-Museum in the Stallburg

Recent events

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.[2]

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.

In culture

The Kunsthistorisches Museum appears in considerable detail in the final mission of the video game Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, developed by Illusion Softworks.[citation needed]

The museum is the setting for director Jem Cohen's 2012 feature film Museum Hours, which premiered at the 2012 Locarno International Film Festival and screened within such festivals as Toronto International Film Festival and Maryland Film Festival. It is distributed by The Cinema Guild.


See also


  1. The Art Newspaper. World museum attendance figures for 2010. Access 22 Oct 2011.
  2. "Entertainment | Police find stolen £36m figurine". BBC News. 2006-01-22. Retrieved 2013-09-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Media related to Kunsthistorisches Museum at Wikimedia Commons

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