Burgring 5, 1010 Vienna
General and Historic Information
For a long time, the imperial art collections were scattered around the buildings of the Imperial Palace Vienna and the Belvedere Palace. Maria Theresa (1717-1780) eventually moved the art collection, previously located in the Stallburg wing (Imperial Stables), to the Upper Belvedere Palace. Its painting gallery was opened to the public under Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790).
In the middle of the 19th century, there were aspirations to dedicate an entire building to the large art collection. After an unsuccessful call for tender as to the architectural design of Heldenplatz Square, Gottfried Semper agreed to take on the mandate in 1869. This resulted in an involuntary and inharmonious cooperation between the latter and Carl Freiherr of Hasenauer. Initially, a two-winged construction spanning Ring Road was planned, spanning out to the two twin museums (of art and natural history) and the former imperial stables. Excavation works for the museums started out in 1871.
Kunsthistorisches Museum was inaugurated in 1891. Its facades are ornamented with a plethora of statues (allegorical statues, famous artists and historical figures) and one of Pallas Athena standing on the cupola.
In the Second World War, the building got severely damaged by bombing. It was reconstructed and its collections made available to the public again. Its basic structure has not been modified in its basic structure: only once, during the 1990s, the building’s HVAC was retrofitted and some museum rooms, offices and shops were refurbished.
The Museum houses numerous collections (paintings, Egyptian and Near Eastern collection, antiquities, art chamber, mint cabinet, museum library) in the different parts of the building. As some of the collections are very large, the following have been relocated to other buildings, such as: the Ephesos Museum (Neue Burg), Treasury (Swiss Court), Collection of Musical Instruments (Neue Burg), Museum of Carriages and Department of Court Uniforms (Schönbrunn Castle).
Burghauptmannschaft Österreich – Departments in charge:
Building Management Dep. 403 – Museums
HVAC Dep. 306 – HVAC
Administration Dep. 201 – Administration
Telephone Dep. 103 – Telecommunications