The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna openend to the public in 1891. Gustav Klimt, his younger brother Ernst, and Franz Matsch executed forty paintings to decorate the spaces between the columns and above the arcades along the walls of the KHM’s main staircase. Personifications – either male and female, or female only – symbolize different stylistic periods, regions or centers of art. All paintings were executed in oil on canvas in the Artists’ studio; in 1891, six months before the formal opening of the museum, they were glued to the walls of the main staircase. Placed opposite one another in the intercolumnar areas flanking the spandrels, are the French king Louis XIV and Habsburg empress Maria Theresia based on their most characteristic portraits. Lorenzo Bernini’s marble bust and Georg Raphael Donner’s bronze served as models. In the spandrels a “gallant couple” appear to greet each other. The violin in the hand of the male figure may be a reference to the efflorescence of Viennese music during the age of Mozart. For further Information on the building see: Cäcilia Bischoff, The Kunsthistorisches Museum. History, Architecture, Decoration, Vienna 2010


  • Title: Baroque and Rococo”
  • Creator: Franz Matsch
  • Date Created: 1891
  • Type: Interior decoration

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