The splendid building of the Vienna Museum of Art History in Maria Theresien-Platz, at Ring Strasse, was designed by the architects Gottfried Semper and Karl von Hassenauer specifically for the public display of the Habsburg dynasty's art collection. Opened in 1891, the Vienna Museum of Art History today boasts some of the most comprehensive and significant art collections in the world. A special feature of the museum is the unstructured display of the collections, a legacy from the days when the various private collections owned by the Habsburgs were brought together under one roof.
The list of the museum's most significant possessions includes the collection of Egyptian and Oriental art, the collection of Ancient Greek, Etruscan and Roman art, the collection of art objects as well as the magnificent Picture Gallery. The whole collection is essentially a selection of top-quality classical textbook works, which makes it difficult to come up with a list of separate masterpieces. Some of those which should not be missed in this wealth of great art is Jan van Eyck's Portrait of Cardinal Niccolo Albergati, Hugo van der Goes's Fall of Man and Lamentation diptych, Jean Fouquet's Gonella the Court Jester, Albrecht Dürer's Adoration of the Holy Trinity, also Ressurection of Christ - one of the few extant works by the intriguing master of colour Albrecht Altdorfer; Andrea Mantegna's Saint Sebastian, Giorgione's Laura and Three Philosophers, Titian's Ecce Homo, Correggio's Ganymede Abducted, Raphael's Madonna in the Meadow, some of the Mannerist masterpieces: Giuseppe Arcimboldo Summer and Parmigianino's Self-Portrait in a Bent Mirror, Rubens's Ildefonso Altar and Woman in Fur, Velázquez's Infanta Margarita Teresa in Blue, Caravaggio's David with Goliath's Head and Madonna of the Rosary, as well as Rembrandt's self-portraits. Subjectively, one could name The Art of Painting, the great poetic allegory by Johannes Vermeer, and the selection of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's works - The Tower of Babel, Children's Games, The Fight Between Carnival and Lent, The Peasant Dance, The Procession to Calvary, as well as his seasonal paintings: The Hunters in the Snow, The Gloomy Day and The Return of the Herd - as the absolute gems of the collection; these works delight with their sharp details, painterly vibrancy and intangible metaphysical moods.
Keywords: museum, Vienna