The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna openend to the public in 1891. Hans Makart (1840–84) had originally been commissioned to execute the painting for the ceiling as well as fanlight, spandrel, and intercolumnar areas as part of the interior decorations in the main staircase of the new built museum. The contract was signed in February 1881; in the same year an imperial delegation was able to view the artist’s initial sketches. Shortly before his death, Makart had completed the fanlight paintings depicting “classical heroes of painting” and their “favourite materials”. As a symbol of all-embracing triumph the allegorical figure holds a palm branch in her outstretched arms, whilst Fama’s trumpet, which has performed its task of spreading fame (also rumour), now lies unused at her feet. Representative of religious painting are on the left, Raphael’s Sistine Madonna (c. 1512/13; Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister), for profane painting on the right, the artist’s Galatea (Triumph of Galatea, c. 1511/15; Rome, Villa Farnesina).
For further Information on the building see: Cäcilia Bischoff, The Kunsthistorisches Museum. History, Architecture, Decoration, Vienna 2010