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Velázquez at the Vienna Art History Museum

The Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History) in Vienna is one of the most important in the world. Located on the Ringstrasse of the Austrian capital, the magnificent building that contains this cultural institution and the one directly opposite, the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum), were built by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph in the late 19th century to house the imperial collections.

Museum of Vienna Art History

Vienna Art History Museum / KHM Museumsverband

At Vienna Art History Museum (from now on KHM for the reader) objects spanning five millennia are exhibited: from the time of ancient Egypt to the end of the 18th century highlighting, above all, Baroque and Renaissance works of art. But what many people do not know is that the KHM from Viena It has one of the most important collections of portraits of one of the best known Spanish painters of all time: Diego Velázquez. But … why the KHM Vienna has, to be exact, 14 works by this universal artistl?

Stairs of the Museum of Art History in Vienna

Stairs of the Museum of Art History in Vienna / © Sebastian Wurziwal

From Philip IV to Vienna

King Felipe IV of Spain, also called the Great, had very little expertise in State affairs but, on the contrary, he was a patron of the arts and festivals at the Court, promoting culture and standing out in literary and artistic creation. and theatrical. Not surprisingly, the German historian Pfande described him as a Hercules for pleasure but a powerless one for the government. It should be noted that its vast pictorial collection constitutes the central nucleus of the current Prado Museum in Madrid. His great friendship with Velázquez – they met when the painter was 16 and the monarch was 21 years old – was perhaps one of the greatest achievements of Felipe IV, who named the Sevillian artist painter to the Spanish Court.

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