Vienna Art History Museum
Kunsthistoriches Museum
Maria-Theresa Square, Vienna, Vienna, 01 - First District - Innere Stadt AustriaPrint this page   •   Share this page

This is one of a pair of identical buildings facing each other across a formal courtyard. In some cities, this building alone would be enough to constitute a castle, or a palace. But in imperial Vienna, this amazing piece of architecture is just another museum. The word "imperial" is important here because the structure was erected at the behest of Emperor Franz Joseph I. It was part of his plan for the overall expansion of Vienna. It was also built across the street from the Hofburg Palace, just the place to be seen by visiting nobility. Visiting dignitaries would no doubt be amazed by the statues that festoon the building's facade. In addition to the usual allegorical representations, there are statues of famous artists. On the front of the building they represent the Renaissance. On the left, modern art. In the back, classical art. And the art of the middle ages faces the Museumsquartier. The friezes lining the interior of the dome depict the Hapsburg family.

Quick Facts
    1858 - Emperor Franz Joseph I orders the museum built.
    1866 - Design competition is held.
    1871 - Groundbreaking.
    1891 - The building opens.
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