All the Histories of Art The Kunsthistorisches Museum

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Titian and Workshop, Mars, Venus and Amor, 1560

Titian and Workshop, Mars, Venus and Amor, 1560. Oil on canvas, 97 x 109 cm. © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

All the Histories of Art: The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

October 7, 2008–January 18, 2009
In 1891 the Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830–1916) inaugurated the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The building was born of the need to create a space to hold the imperial collections that the House of Habsburg had accumulated since the days of Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) and that would continue to grow until the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. These collections, a reflection of the tastes of the Habsburg emperors, their family relations, and four centuries of European diplomacy and politics, boast masterpieces of European painting and sculpture as well as scientific and decorative objects, tapestries, coins, armor, and works from antiquity that delighted those monarchs.

All the Histories of Art: The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna is divided into six sections corresponding to the quintessential genres of academic art. An extensive selection of masterpieces featuring portraits; nudes; still lifes; popular customs; architecture and landscapes; and history, religion, and mythology offer an innovative overview of the collections housed in this important museum. The selection of portraits—one of the best-represented genres in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna collections—contains pieces from a variety of disciplines, including coins and objects, which range chronologically from ancient Egypt and classical antiquity to neoclassicism, with works by artists such as Holbein, Tintoretto, Titian, Velázquez, and Van Dyck. A selection of nudes includes works by Palma il Vecchio, Spranger, Titian, and Veronese. Still lifes are represented by both paintings and objects from the Kunstkammer, the seed of the collections of some of these emperors. Popular customs are depicted in the works of Magnasco, Strozzi, and David Teniers the Younger. In the gallery dedicated to rural, sea, and city landscapes, visitors can see how this genre has evolved from the early 16th century to the second half of the 18th century through the work of prominent artists such as Patinier, Bril, Gainsborough, and Belloto. The final section contains countless historical, mythological, and religious motifs depicted in paintings by Cranach, Dürer, Gentileschi, Rubens, and Titian, as well as sculptures sharing the same general theme. This encompassing exhibition offers a truly unique opportunity to explore All the Histories of Art: The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.


This exhibition is sponsored by Iberdrola. Organized by Carmen Giménez, Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, and Francisco Calvo Serraller, Professor Chair of Art History at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


 

 

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