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Museum of Art History Vienna
art museum in Vienna, Austria
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Museum of Art History Vienna
art museum in Vienna, Austria
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Maria-Theresien-Platz
Vienna
Austria

cschuster's picture

Sr. Contributor

The Museum of Art History Vienna was originally conceived as an opulent storage room for Austria's royal Habsburgs line.

The collection is more than just one of the world's finest displays of Flemish and High Renaissance paintings -- pinky up! -- housing everything from a coin collection in its own wing that spans 3000 years of human history, to curiosities like a lifelike sculpture of the composer Haydn replete with human hair. Don't stare too long in its eyes, it looks back after a while (and remembers the direction your blood flows!).

The museum design was decided through a contest with guest judges. After ten years of back and forth over a handful of designs, hung jurists outright outsourced the project to Gottfried Semper, the best damned museum designer of mid-19th century Europe. And, keep in mind, not among the contest entrants. Such a decision certainly precipitated a wave of self-soothing mutton chop petting and disingenuous monocle dropping across the continent. And at least one fellow in a cravat falling to their knees, gripping a parchment, and screaming, "Semper!"

The 2002 video game Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven uses the layout of the museum for a high-stakes gun battle. While a good game, we're sure, it can't beat the secret level of Donkey Kong where your character climbs the stories of the Guggenheim.

In 2003, the museum became the site of the most costly art theft in recent European history. Before you go picturing the Ocean's 11 gang firing off quips in a laugh-a-minute thrill ride, let us introduce you to Robert Mang, a middle aged, lonely security alarm specialist. Mang entered the building after hours by climbing scaffolding on the museum's exterior. On the way out, he helped himself to Cellini's Saliera. The Saliera, a gold and gem salt cellar valued at $60 million, was missing for over 1000 days before being found in a lead box buried in a park 50 miles north of Vienna. It was later discovered that Mang tripped an alarm during the theft that the guard on duty straight up ignored. #employeeofthemonth

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Kunsthistorisches Museum

The Kunsthistorisches Museum (lit. "Museum of Art History", also often referred to as the "Museum of Fine Arts") is an art museum in Vienna, Austria. Housed in its festive palatial building on Ringstraße, it is crowned with an octagonal dome. The term Kunsthistorisches Museum applies to both the institution and the main building. It is the largest art museum in the country.

It was opened around 1891 at the same time as the Natural History Museum, Vienna, by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. The two museums have similar exteriors and face each other across Maria-Theresien-Platz. Both buildings were built between 1871 and 1891 according to plans drawn up by Gottfried Semper and Karl Freiherr von Hasenauer.

The two Ringstraße museums were commissioned by the emperor in order to find a suitable shelter for the Habsburgs' formidable art collection and to make it accessible to the general public. The façade was built of sandstone. The building is rectangular in shape, and topped with a dome that is 60 meters high. The inside of the building is lavishly decorated with marble, stucco ornamentations, gold-leaf, and paintings.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Kunsthistorisches Museum.