Kunsthistorisches Museum

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Vienna. Museum of painting, sculpture, and decorative arts (the name means ‘Art History Museum’) based on the accumulation of treasures by members of the imperial Habsburg dynasty from the 16th century onwards. The imperial collections were first opened to the public in 1781 in the Belvedere Palace, which became informally known as the Belvedere Gallery. The present museum, a huge structure in neo-Renaissance style, was built in 1872–82. It is one of a series of very grand buildings arranged around the Ringstrasse, the great circular boulevard created on the line of the city's ancient ramparts, which were demolished in 1858–64. The architects of the museum were Gottfried Semper and Karl von Hasenaur, and the extremely lavish decoration includes murals by Makart and Klimt on the main staircase. The collection of Old Master paintings in the Kunsthistorisches Museum is one of the most celebrated in the world, particularly rich in works by the great 16th-century Venetians (Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese), and by Bruegel, Dürer, van Dyck, Rubens, and Velázquez. There are also major holdings in other areas, including antiquities, sculpture, and coins.

Subjects: Art.

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