Explore Vienna’s MuseumsQuartierFebruary 26, 2015 11:51 am
Vienna’s art history, culture and reputation is certainly not one to scoff at. With a wide range of museums and art galleries dedicated to classic and contemporary, national and international art you’ll be glad to know that the front runners are all within a stone’s throw of each other.
The MuseumsQuartier is rightly named so thanks to it being the nucleus of some of the most important museums in the city – arguably in the country. From longstanding Imperial collections to more modern 20th century works, there’s something for everyone.
Kunsthalle Wien is one of the major players in contemporary art discourse and showcases some pretty off-the-wall pieces and collections. It’s one of the most forward thinking museums in the city and challenges even the most contemporary of movements. It’s a must-visit for anyone with a penchant for 20th and 21st century art, and especially for those who haven’t seen anything like it before! Made up of two museums, you’ll find one Kunsthalle Wien in MuseumsQuartier and its sister museum in Karlsplatz – so if you like the first one, you’re free to enter the second one with your Vienna PASS too.
In terms of Austrian art, Leopold Museum is the place to visit. Home to one of the largest and most important collections of early 20th century Austrian art, it’s also home to the world’s largest Egon Schiele collection. Founded by Rudolph Leopold (who first got his inspiration to collect art while visiting the Museum of Art History) the museum’s fascinating and unique collection is now worth over half a billion euros. There are three main exhibits to explore, from the artist Egon Schiele between 1910 – 1915, to works by Austrian Gustav Klimt, and finally the permanent exhibition ‘Vienna 1900’ which looks at the “total work of art” (or Gesamtkunstwerk) to have come out of the last century.
The Museum of Modern Art (aka mumok) is arguably Vienna’s finest modern and contemporary art gallery and has some iconic pieces in its collection. Established in the early 1960s it has grown into one of the most important and reputed museums in Vienna and displays masterpieces from the Classical Modernism movement, to Constructivism and Surrealism. Visitors can enjoy the works of Warhol to Picasso, Yoko Ono and Klee so it’s a great place to visit if you like your Pop Art. But considered one of the best Vienna museums, we’d say it’s one not to be missed.
Museum of Natural History
Who doesn’t love to learn about dinosaurs? There’s something so fascinating about these extinct animals that draws visitors in – no matter which city you visit! The Museum of Natural History in Vienna is no different and is considered one of the top Vienna museums as well. Not only does it contain the world’s largest collection of meteorites but it also has the iconic and mysterious Venus of Willendorf on display which dates back to some say around 25,000BC. Also on show are the precious gems and stones including the diamond bouquet of flowers Empress Maria Theresa made for her husband back in the days of the Empire.
Museum of Art History
The Museum of Art History is an architectural clone of its neighbour, the Museum of Natural History, which sits across the courtyard of Maria-Theresien-Platz just behind the MuseumsQuartier. It was here that inspired Rudolph Leopold to start collecting, so it’s obviously an impressive place to visit! Its highlights include the chamber of curios, the Kunstkammer, which was a collection started by the Habsburg family in the late 1800s when they built the museum to house the imperial collections of Schönbrunn Palace. The Kunstkammer is one of the most important of its kind in the world and displays some of the rarest and most unique objects from carvings to curiosities. Among the other collections and chambers are the Coin Collection with over 700,000 objects and Cellini’s Saliera.