Kunsthistorisches Museum, since the opening of the museum building, common name for the museum of fine arts in Vienna, which contains the collections of art and cultural items of the Habsburg family. The main building (built from 1872-1891 to plans by G. Semper and C. von Hasenauer) houses the: 1) Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection from the 1st half of the 19th century; 2) Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, with the Ephesus Museum (the latter is accommodated in the Neue Hofburg imperial palace); 3) Picture Gallery; paintings from the 15th century onwards, formerly owned by the Habsburgs, the core of the gallery is the collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm; 4) Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Art; forms the centre of the imperial collections, brought together in 1891; the Este collection and the Tapestry Collection have been part of it since 1918; 5) Collection of Secular and Ecclesiastical Treasures Treasury (attached to the Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Art, but kept in the Hofburg imperial palace); 6) Coin Cabinet, collection of antique, medieval and modern coins and medals, with the collection of historical coining dies attached to it, but housed in the Austrian mint (collection started around 1500).
In the Neue Hofburg there are the 7) Collection of Arms and Armoury, which, after the Armeria Real in Madrid is the largest collection of this sort in the world; it comprises collections of the emperors Friedrich III to Franz Joseph I, which were brought together in 1888 and accommodated in the main building, at their present location since 1935; 8) Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments (Renaissance and Baroque instruments from the collection at Ambras palace and the Este collection); 9) large comprehensive library, comprising books from historical collections, in particular from the Coin Cabinet and the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, brought together in 1882; since 1883 responsible for editing the "Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlung des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses" (Yearbook of the Art Collection of the August Imperial Family), which was originally published by the office of the Lord High Treasurer.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum also comprises the 10) Coach and Carriage Museum (collection of historical state and utility carriages) (Wagenburg Coach Collectionin Schönbrunn and the 11) collections at Ambras Castle (Tirol) consisting of a collection of historically reconstructed antiquities, a collection of sculpture and decorative art, an armoury and the portrait gallery showing important Austrian historical personages, composed in 1975 of paintings deposited at Schönbrunn palace and pictures not displayed for a long time. Since 1995 the K. M. has housed temporary exhibits the Palais Harrach and also utilized the Wiener Künstlerhaus for exhibitions.
When the legal form of the Federal Museums was changed to independent scientific institutions subject to public law as of January 1, 1999, the K. M. obtained the capacity to acquire and hold rights and duties. The collections originate from private collections of archdukes (Ferdinand II von Tirol, Ambras; Leopold Wilhelm, Brussels) and emperors (Rudolf II, Prague) as well as of princes of Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck. The Treasury is the oldest of these (13th century), followed by the Coin Cabinet and the Collection of Antiquities (established by Karl VI), the Picture Gallery and the Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Art (started by Ferdinand I and his son Maximilian II). After looting by the Swedes, the remaining items of the collection of Rudolf II in Prague came to Vienna. The collection of Archduke Ferdinand II in Ambras was bought by Rudolf II, but came to Vienna only after the end of the occupation of Tirol by Bavarians in 1805.
Literature: H. Fillitz and G. Kugler, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien. Führer durch die Sammlungen, 1988; H. Haupt, Die Geschichte des Hauses am Ring, 1991; B. Kriller and G. Kugler, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Architektur und Ausstattung, 1991.
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