Whenever you think of Austria, you imagine those old yet stylish buildings that decorate its cities yet there is much more to it than visual grandeur. Today, we are going to look at some of the most important museums of Austria and what marvels they contain. So, before you brave the forest-riddled natural environments of this fine Central-European country, be sure to check out what we are about to present to you (wink)!
1. Kunsthistorisches Museum:
Whenever you hear the pair of words “Austrian museum”, you immediately think of the majestic Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna. Dedicated to fine arts, the establishment is harboured by a palace on the renowned Ringstraße. Topped by a massive octagonal dome soaring at a height of 60 metres, it is the largest art museum of its parent country. Established in 1891 by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary along with the Naturhistorisches Museum (the Natural History Museum of Vienna – also worth a peek), it receives nearly 600,000 visitors each year. Notable works on display include: Jan van Eyck’s “Portrait of Cardinal Niccolò Albergati”, Antonello da Messina’s “San Cassiano Altarpiece”, Johannes Vermeer’s “The Art of Painting”, Thomas Gainsborough’s “Landscape in Suffolk”, Caravaggio’s “David with the Head of Goliath”, Raphael’s “Madonna of the Meadow”, and even Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s “The Fight Between Carnival and Lent”. Other sections of the museum are: the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection, the Library, the Coin Cabinet, the Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, and the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. As you can see, the far-reaching reputation of the establishment has a substantial basis. Oh, and do not forget to check out the cupola from the inside and the massive façade of the building made of sandstone.
2. Kunsthaus Graz:
From Vienna, we leap all the way to the city of Graz and its magnificent art museum, the Kunsthaus Graz. Now, this is one contestant that is not only an excellent cultural establishment, it is also an architectural masterpiece. Its lack of sharp edges and those tube-like extensions on its top all serve its indubitable allure (it is formally known as “blob architecture”). But what makes it stand out even more is that it is surrounded by older buildings with different hues. What’s interesting about this museum, beyond its looks, is that it houses collections from various areas such as design, internet, new media, film and even photography. This makes the whole experience a multisensory one and its BIX (Big Pixels) façade adds to it significantly. Glowing in the night like a New Age beacon, it was built to commemorate the 2003 European Capital of Culture celebration. Definitely a must-see!
3. Kunsthaus Bregenz:
Bregenz enters the competition with its marvellous Kunsthaus Bregenz (also known as KUB). Dedicated to temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, the establishment is housed in a building designed by Swiss master architect Peter Zumthor between the years 1990 and 1997. With a total exhibition space of 1,880 square metres, it is divided into two main sections: “Archive Art Architecture” and “Contemporary Austrian Art.” Located close to the Vorarlberg Museum and Vorarlberger Landestheater (two other fine landmarks to check out), it boasts with a lavish façade made of 712 finely-etched glass panels (each weighing 250 kilograms). It is especially wonderful to look at during night-time for the inner lights shine through the glass membrane and create an otherworldly sight. Famous exhibitions that have taken place there include: Santiago Sierra’s “300 Tons”, Louise Bourgeois’ “Drawings and Sculptures”, Daniel Buren’s “Les Couleurs Traversées”, Rachel Whiteread’s “Walls, Doors, Floors and Stairs”, Peter Zumthor’s “Architectural Models by Peter Zumthor”, and many others. Oh, and let us not forget about the fact that the museum also publishes occasional books and essays related to the exhibitions. If you happen to run across these, we recommend that you study them for they offer more in-depth analyses as to what you might witness within the bounds of the museum.
Did you enjoy our recommendation list? Which of the aforementioned museums have you visited and how many of them are still waiting for your decision? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it. Also, do not forget about checking back from time to time for some interesting updates.