Friday, June 11, 2010

Art History Museum (KHM)

The Kunsthistoriches Museum (Art History Museum) is part of a museum complex in the heart of the first district (old part) of Vienna. This complex also includes a natural history museum, an instrument museum, an armour and weaponry museum, and probably several more besides.

The KHM, which faces a very similar-looking natural history museum across a large green plaza.

This statue, of a Greek hero defeating a centaur, welcomes visitors at the foot of a giant entrance stairway. Apparently the statue is meant to symbolize the triumph of art and culture over barbarianism.

A view of the balcony overlooking the entrance stairway.

The artists in KHM's exhibits can be divided loosely into two categories: "northern" (that is, Dutch and Belgian) , and "southern" (Italian). In particular, the gallery has one of the world's best collections of the 16th century Dutch painter Brueghel. He focused on scenes of everyday life, in contrast to Italian renaissance artists' religious and heroic themes, and often created complex scenes that, again contrasting the Italian style, lacked a single focal character or subject. The first collage shows a selection of Brueghel's paintings.

The second collage shows some of the other paintings in the KHM, mostly from the Italian renaissance.

Up next: We'll be taking a short break as we're away for the weekend but check back next week for The Instrument Museum and going in circles!

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