Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien – Legacy of the Ages
Museum of Art and History (Vienna) occupies a prominent place on Maria Theresienza Square and is an important part of the architectural ensemble of Maria Theresien-Platz. The museum was opened in 1891 and was created by Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1858. Now the institution is at the disposal of the Austrian Ministry of Culture.
The Habsburg collection was used as the ‘foundation’ for this museum in Vienna: since the 15th century, the Imperial House of Austria has held unique objects of art. Many works of art were taken from the Ambras Castle – a selection of rarities belonging to Ferdinand II.
A prominent place among the exhibits of the famous Vienna museum was taken by the most striking objects from the Kunstkammer and the picture gallery, which were opened at Prague Castle by Rudolf II. Most of the works by Dürer and Bruegel the elder, now available for viewing, were collected by Rudolph II.
Historians believe that the “father” of the art museum in Vienna was Archduke Leopold-Wilhelm. During his ten years as governor of the Southern Netherlands, the Archduke bought many paintings. These canvases made it possible to furnish the most crowded gallery in Europe at this time.
Now the Museum of Art in Vienna has an extensive collection of art exhibits, archeological sites, antiquities, paintings and numismatic rarities.
Important information! You can get a map at the entrance to orient yourself in a spacious building with many halls.
The jewel in the crown of Vienna’s Museum of Art is the Picture Gallery, which presents paintings from the 15th to 17th centuries. Here you can see many famous masterpieces by such authors as Dürer, Rubens, Titian, Rembrandt, Holbein, Raphael, Cranach, Caravaggio.
An interesting fact! The gallery has the largest known collection of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It concentrates works from the artist’s “golden period”, including the world-famous cycle “The Seasons”.
All the exhibits of the gallery are divided along these main lines:
- Flemish paintings attract, first of all, the canvases of Peter Rubens with his lushly bodacious beauties. There are also famous works by Jacob Jordaens and van Dyck.
- The Dutch section is represented by a few, but very striking masterpieces of pictorial art. These are the allegorical works of Jan W. Delft, paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn and H. Terborch.
- The most extensive is the selection of canvases by German artists. The Renaissance period is represented by masterpieces of many masters of the brush, including Albrecht Dürer, Cranach the Elder, H. Holbein. Here you can see the image of Durer “The Adoration of the Trinity of All Saints”.
- Impresses with the collection of paintings by Italian authors, among which there are terrific canvases “Madonna in the Green” by Raphael, “Lucrezia” by Veronese.
- The Spanish section of the Gallery of Art in Vienna delights with portraits of the dynasty of kings by Velázquez.
- Paintings from England and France are rather poorly represented.
Collection of Ancient Egypt and the Middle East
A large number of visitors are attracted by the hall in which the exhibits of Ancient Egypt are displayed. The interior of the hall is decorated to match the collection presented in it: large columns look like rolls of papyrus, the walls are decorated with decorations and showcases in the Egyptian style.
Need to know! The Egyptian collection at the Museum of Art contains 17,000 pieces, with geographic origins ranging from Egypt, the eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia to the Arabian Peninsula.
The collection has four main areas: funerary cult, sculpture, cultural history, relief and the development of writing. Among the most interesting exhibits are the Ka-Ni-Nisut cult chamber once standing next to the pyramids of Giza, animal mummies, samples of the Book of the Dead, valuable papyrus, and masterpiece sculptures: the lion from the Ishtar Gate in Babylon, the reserve head from Giza and others.
Advice from experienced tourists! If you come to the museum by 10:00 (for opening time) and go straight to the halls of Ancient Egypt, you can look at all the exhibits in silence and calmness before the arrival of the main mass of visitors.
Ancient Art Collection
The collection of ancient art, which includes more than 2,500 pieces, spans a period of more than 3,000 years. The unique exhibits on offer offer offer visitors a fascinating insight into the lives of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
One of the most colorful exhibits from the Great Migration era is a selection of Ptolemy’s Onyx stones. No less interesting are the jewelry creations of those times, especially the cameos, including the famous Gemma Augustea. Also noteworthy are the many sculptural portraits, such as the historic statue of a man from Cyprus. Another interesting selection are ancient Greek vases with masterpieces such as the Brigos Cup. Other exhibits include an Amazonian sarcophagus and a historic bronze tablet with the inscription in Latin “Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus”.
The Kunstkammer is recognized as unique in its kind – its collection is the most extensive and interesting of all similar museums in the world.
Since 2013, the Kunstkammer has been open to the public – 20 newly created galleries have been added to the original Habsburg collection, bringing the exhibition space up to 2,700 m².
The Kunstkammer Vienna has 2,200 objects on display: jewelry, stone vases, important sculptures, bronze statues, valuable clocks, rare ivory and chimerical items, fascinating scientific playthings and much more.
Interesting to know! Among the enormous number of jewels there is a famous creation of jewelry art – the salt cellar “Saliera” by Benvenuto Cellini, made of pure gold and partially covered with enamel. During restoration work, it was stolen by a museum employee and then miraculously recovered in a wooded area of Vienna.
Its 600,000 objects place the Numismatics Room among the five largest numismatic collections in the world.
In the first room one can become acquainted with the history of medals and other insignia, from their beginnings in Italy to the 20th century. Austrian and European orders are also on display here.
In the second room the history of coins and paper money is displayed, from the pre-monetary forms of payment and the examples introduced in the 7th century to the money of the 20th century.
In the third hall specialized exhibitions with a variety of rarities are regularly organized.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum is located in Vienna at Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010.
There are different ways to get here:
- By subway – line U3, go to the station Volkstheater;
- by bus № 2A, 57A to the Burgring stop;
- streetcar D to the Burgring stop.
The museum works according to this schedule:
- Monday – day off;
- Thursday – from 10:00 to 21:00;
- the rest of the week – from 10:00 to 18:00.
Important: In June, July and August, as well as in the period from 10/15/19/1920, Monday is a working day!
Museum admission is 30 minutes before closing time.
Any schedule changes due to holidays or other reasons are displayed on the official website at www.khm.at/en/posetiteljam/.
All prices listed below are for adults, as admission is free for children and teenagers under 19 years old.
- A simple ticket is 16 €.
- Discounted admission with the Vienna Card – 15 €.
- Audioguide – 5 €, with annual ticket – 2.5 €.
- Sightseeing tour 4 €.
- Annual ticket 44 €, for visitors aged 19 to 25 €. The ticket enables you to visit the following museums in Vienna: the Theater Museum, the Imperial Carriage Museum, the Museum of Art History and the Habsburg Treasure House. Visits can be planned independently, different sights on different days.
- The combined ticket “Habsburg Treasure” is 22 €. With it in Vienna you can visit the Museum of Art History, the Kunstkammer, the Habsburg Treasure House and the New Castle. Tickets are valid all year round, but only for one visit per attraction. The day of the visit can be chosen independently, and it can even be a different day for each museum.
- Admission to the KUNSTSCHATZI cocktail bar is 16 €. Since 2016, the domed hall is regularly transformed into a cocktail bar with music, drinks, guided tours. Information about party dates is available on the museum’s official website and Facebook page.
Prices and schedules on the page are for February 2019.
A few more helpful tips
- The Museum of Art History is huge! Those who visit Vienna often should buy an annual ticket for multiple visits. If this is not possible, you should take the whole day to explore the history of art.
- Immediately after the opening of the museum, there are long lines in the checkroom (free of charge). It is most convenient to come to the opening and take a locker (locker), where you can leave your clothes and bags. But since in the lobby, where it’s very cold, there are also lines for audio guides, it makes sense to take an audio guide first, and only then leave your outerwear in the already busy locker.
- Audioguide in Russian is very poorly written, covered only the main points. Therefore, it is better to take an audio guide in English or German, or to prepare in advance for a visit to the museum: learn the history of the museum, the history of paintings.
Museum of Art History in Vienna boasts a very atmospheric cafe where you can drink coffee and have a good meal. At the entrance to the cafe you have to wait for the manager, who sits visitors at free tables.
Author: Irina Kovaleva
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Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Every day except Mondays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Thursdays until 9 p.m. During the summer months the museum is open daily.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum is Vienna’s most visited attraction and the repository of the world’s works of art. The museum is one of the five most important and largest museum complexes in the world.
It was opened in 1891 and housed the imperial collections of paintings and sculptures of the Habsburg family.
The museum building has 91 rooms, housing collections of Middle Eastern and ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, as well as a huge picture gallery with works of great European artists from the Renaissance to the present day.
In the Museum of Art History there is a cafe, where you can eat and relax, and a souvenir shop.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien exhibition
The collection of the Vienna Museum of Art History has tens of thousands of items, divided geographically and by historical periods.
The most extensive displays are in the halls of Near Eastern and Ancient Egyptian art. This collection is among the world’s most important collections of Egyptian artifacts and numbers 17,000 pieces. Most of the exhibits date from 3500 BC to the beginning of the Christian era.
The collection is divided into four large parts:
- cult objects (religious and funerary),
- cultural history,
Among the main exhibits in the halls are the preserved ancient Egyptian chapel from the Old Kingdom, sarcophagi and mummies, including animals, copies of the Book of the Dead, steles and wall fragments with hieroglyphics, figurines of the gods, and everyday objects (clothing, sculptures, etc.).
The halls of ancient themes contain artifacts not only of Ancient Egypt, but also of the Ancient East – Babylon, Arabia and Mesopotamia.
The next vast collection is devoted to the art of Ancient Greece and Rome. The time frame of its exhibits is also wide – from 3000 BC to the Middle Ages.
There are over 2,500 works of art in this section of the museum. They include antique decorations, cameos, vases and amphorae, busts and statues of generals and famous people, as well as household and religious objects of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Major exhibits include an Amazon warrior’s sarcophagus, a full-length statue of a man found in Cyprus, bronze tablets of writing and other valuables.
The entire second floor of the Kunsthistorisches Museum is occupied by the picture gallery, the basis of which is the Habsburg collection of paintings, enriched over the years by priceless canvases.
The main paintings are from the 16th-17th centuries: Venetian paintings by Titian and Veronese, early Netherlandish paintings by Jan van Eyck, Roger van der Weyden and others, Flemish and German paintings by P.P. Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach and others.
The pearl of the gallery is a rich collection of paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, of which there are few surviving paintings in the world.
In the halls of the art gallery one can also see the world-famous works by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Raphael, Giorgione and other brilliant representatives of epochs and styles.
In the Vienna Museum of Art History there is one of the world’s largest collections of household objects, decorated in the manner of his era. This section is called the “Kunstkammer” and includes luxury items from different periods of history and countries. These include gold jewelry, statues and kitchenware, as well as bowls, clocks and other objects. The most famous exhibit is Benvenuto Cellini’s salt cellar made of gold and precious wood.
On the top floor of the building are collections of numismatics – various coins dating from a wide time frame – from antiquity to the present day, and classified according to the producing countries. The most valuable coins here are those of the ancient states, but there are also rare coins of the New Age, which are unique relics of the Vienna Museum of the History of Art.
All halls and rooms of the museum are decorated in the luxurious Baroque style, with arcades, columns and stucco, which adds elegance to the temple of art. Entrance to the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien is through a grand marble staircase, which immerses visitors in an atmosphere of historical reality and inspires them to explore the world of art.
Ticket prices to the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna 2022
The price of a ticket to the Museum of Art History Vienna depends on the age of the visitor and is calculated for a full day’s stay.
- Children up to 19 years of age enjoy free admission to the museum,
- For students up to 25 years old, seniors after 65 years old – 15 €,
- for adults – 18 €.
There are also annual passes to the Museum of Art History. Their price is 49 €. Such tickets are valid throughout the year and include multiple entries and access to the exhibition.
It is possible to rent a separate audio guide, which is available in several languages, including Russian. Rental price:
- audio guide – 6 €,
- Two at a time (for families, friends, etc.) – 8 €,
- for families (2 adults + 3 children) 9 €.
Prices are subject to change. To find out right now and buy your ticket online, skip the lines at the ticket office and go to the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
Getting to the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
The Kunsthistorisches Museum is located on one of the main streets of the Austrian capital, so it is easy to get to it.
One of the most convenient and quickest ways is the metro: the museum is located near the two stations on two different lines – Line U2 (station Museums Quartier), Line U3 (station Volkstheater). From each of them is a 10-minute walk.
From the ground transport is most convenient: bus line 57A stops almost at the museum, you have to walk 5 minutes. The bus stop is called Burgring. The streetcar stop of the same name a little further away is a streetcar stop. To get to the Vienna Museum of Art History, you must take streetcars number 1, 2, 71 and D. Then it takes no more than 5-7 minutes on foot.
You can also reach the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien by car: there are parking lots nearby. Or you can use mobile cab apps: Uber, Kiwi and others.