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Kunsthistorisches Museum
Established 1872-1891
Location Vienna, Austria
Visitor figures 619.318 (2007)
"Tower of Babel" by Pieter Brueghel.
Summer, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1563
One of the galleries
Statue of Thutmosis III.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum (English: "Museum of Art History", also often referred to as the "Museum of Fine Arts") in Vienna, housed in its festive palatial building on Ringstraße, crowned with an octagonal dome, is one of the premier museums of fine arts and decorative arts in the world. The term Kunsthistorisches Museum applies to both the institution and the main building. It was visited by 619.318 people in 2007.[1]


It was opened in 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, making it a spectacular work of art in its own right.



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 Rudolf II (the largest part of which is, however, scattered), and the collection of paintings of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm.

Among the most important works in the picture gallery are (see also Category:Paintings of the Kunsthistorisches Museum):

The collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum are the:

  • 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 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 had been the biggest art-theft in Austrian history.[2]

The Kunsthistorisches Museum appears in considerable detail in the final mission of the Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, developed by Illusion Softworks.


External links

Coordinates: 48°12′13″N 16°21′41″E / 48.2037°N 16.3614°E / 48.2037; 16.3614


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