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120 years of The Kunsthistorisches Museum

The Kunsthistorisches Museum presents “Everything has turned out very nicely…” (Kaiser Franz Joseph) an exhibition on view through 8 January 2012, showing 120 years of The Kunsthistorisches Museum.

On October 17, 1892 Emperor Franz Joseph I officially opened the k. k. Kunst-historisches Hofmuseum (Imperial and Royal Court Museum of Fine Arts). The newly-erected building on Vienna’s grandest boulevard, the Ringstrasse, brought together for the first time under a single roof in a sumptuous state-of-the-art museum the various imperial collections previously housed in different palaces.

Planning began as early as 1864, but building work only commenced in 1871 after the designs by architects Karl von Hasenauer and Gottfried Semper had been finalized and approved.

Ten years later, in 1881, the building itself was completed. But it was to take almost as long again to finish the elaborate interior decorations. Some of the foremost painters of the time, among them Gustav Klimt and Hans Makart, were commissioned. The Collection of Arms and Armour was the first to move into its new home; it was opened to the public in 1889, some time before the official inauguration of the museum. It took another two years until all the collections were installed in their new galleries.

After a total of twenty years everything was finally completed, and Emperor Franz Joseph formally opened the long-awaited Imperial Museum of Fine Arts. Everybody who was anybody in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century was invited to the cultural event of the decade, and over 300 VIP guests assembled in the Cupola Hall to welcome the imperial visitor. The Emperor personally thanked each of the artists, industrialists and craftsmen involved. A time-consuming and extremely expensive undertaking had been completed successfully. –

The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is one of the foremost museums in the world, with rich holdings comprising artworks from seven millennia – from Ancient Egypt to the late 18th century. The collections of Renaissance and Baroque art are of particular importance.

Image: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Maria-Theresa Square, Vienna Photo: Andrew Bossi, Wikipedia

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