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Kunsthistorisches Museum, Maria-Theresa Square, Vienna, Austria Photo
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Maria-Theresa Square, Vienna
SOURCE: Andrew Bossi, Wikipedia Commons photo.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, one the most important European museum buildings, is a monumental structure, built in the style of the Italian Renaissance, at the behest of Emperor Franz Joseph I between 1871 and 1891 as part of his expansion of the city, intended to unite and better present the artistic treasures that had been collected by the Habsburgs over the centuries.

The collections of the Kunsthistorische Museum are among the most important and spectacular in the world. The 16th century Kunst- und Wunderkammer (art and treasure chambers) of Archduke Ferdinand and of Emperor Rudolph II, together with the baroque collections of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm form the nucleus of the Museums magnificent collections, in which the taste and artistic preferences of these and other connoisseurs of the Imperial Familiy are still discernible today, thus conveying a sense of the Imperial glory of the art-loving Habsburg dynasty.

The artifacts range from Ancient Egyptian and Greek and Roman antiquities to Medieval Art, Renaissance and Baroque. In all, the museum is divided into eight different collections, some of which are housed in the Hofburg and in Schoenbrunn Palace.

The eight collections are: Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection; Greek and Roman Antiquities; Picture Gallery; Sculpture and Decorative Arts; Coin Cabinet; Theater Library; the Treasury, with an important group of Medieval objects; and the Archive.


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