Search for ...

Selected masterpieces

The Goldsmith’s Art

The celebration of mass required purpose-made altar utensils. Chalices and patens were ritually the most important because they came into contact...
Kommunionkelch mit Patene und Saugröhrchen, sogenannter "Wiltener Kelch"
The inscription on the concealed edge of the base of the chalice indicates that the half-length figures growing from the pinnacles of the battlements...
Kommunionkelch mit Patene und Saugröhrchen, sog. Kelch aus St. Peter
The figure of Christ being scourged is based on Laocoön, which was dug up in Rome in 1506, while the two ruffians can be traced back to the...
Geißelung Christi
Künstler: Moderno (Galeazzo Mondella?)
Goblets with lid formed a leitmotiv of German goldsmiths work executed during the late Gothic and the Renaissance period. Sketch books, paintings and...
Deckelpokal, sog. Maximilianspokal
This lidded goblet impresses not only by the quality and variety of the materials used but also because of the elegance of its complex shape. The...
Sogenannter Michaelsbecher
The saliera is Cellini's only surviving, fully authenticated work in gold. It was commissioned by François I during the artist's stay in Paris in...
Sogenannte Saliera
Künstler: Benvenuto Cellini
The Onyx Jug was a present from King Karl IX of France to Archduke Ferdinand II in the year 1570. It appears perfectly described in its unfinished...
Onyx-Kanne
Künstler: Richard Toutain d. J.
Caskets containing writing utensils had already been mentioned in mediaeval inventories. In the Renaissance writing sets were abundantly decorated...
Schreibzeug
Künstler: Wenzel Jamnitzer
Cupids triumphal procession completely fills the bowl of this quartrefoil basin. In his horse-drawn triumphal chariot, Cupid carries Jupiter as the...
Prunkbecken mit Darstellung des Triumpfzuges von Amor; Becken der sogenannten Trionfi-Garnitur
Künstler: Christoph Jamnitzer
The state jug and state bowl make a set that was taken to coronation ceremonies in Frankfurt purely as a showpiece, even though it was unsuitable for...
Prunkkanne der sogenannten Trionfi-Garnitur
Künstler: Christoph Jamnitzer
This richly enamelled covered vessel set with pearls and precious stones is a Russian friendship cup. These cups were used for taking a welcome drink...
Verbrüderungsschale, sog. Bratina
In a post-scriptum dated January 16th, 1781, the Treasury inventory of 1773 indicates the reception of a boudoir set belonging to Her late Majesty,...
Frühstückservice der Kaiserin Maria Theresia
Künstler: Anton Matthias Joseph Domanek
The gluttonous brother-in-law of Maria Theresa, Duke Karl Alexander of Lorraine, owned wonderful tableware. Only four candelabras, two sauce-boats...
Surtout des Herzogs Karl Alexander von Lothringen
Künstler: Pieter Jozef Fonson
 
 

Cut Stones

A group of masterpieces carved in hardstone (semiprecious stone) are the claim to fame of the mediaeval section of the Collection of Sculpture and...
Henkelkrug aus Bergkristall
As in the case of many works imitating an antique style, the significance of this representation is unclear. Separate antique motifs were obviously...
Poseidon als Herr der Isthmischen Spiele (?)
This domestic altar produced for Grand Duke Ferdinando de' Medici is one of the most exquisite treasures ever to have owed its existence to princely...
Hausaltärchen mit Christus und der Samariterin am Jakobsbrunnen
Künstler: Cristofano Gaffuri
Prasem is a precious stone of the quartz family that was adored even in antiquity. The perfect proportions, the elegance of the stone carving, and...
Deckelschale
Künstler: Gasparo Miseroni
This ornate bowl called on the skills of both the stone cutter and the goldsmith. The result was an image of menacing fantasy: a dragon with glowing...
Muschelschale, sog. Drachenschale
Künstler: Gasparo Miseroni
In their quest for a design that could give the cristalleri (rock crystal cutters) a chance to show off their pictorial talents, the Saracchi...
Großer Tafelaufsatz in Gestalt eines Reihers (Raiger)
Künstler: Saracchi - Werkstatt
This unique piece appears to have been cast as a whole, but in fact it was made in two sections. Originally the jug did not need a mount. It is a...
Krug aus Jaspis
Künstler: Ottavio Miseroni
The figurative relief composed of hardstones (commesso) in the manner of a cameo is considered an invention of Ottavio Miseroni. He was probably...
Ceres
Künstler: Ottavio Miseroni
As if by a miracle of nature the shape of the madonna emerges from the cloudy coloured agate. The heavenly apparition on the one hand gives the...
Madonna mit Kind in den Wolken
Künstler: Alessandro Masnago
The two Florentine artisans Cosimo and Giovanni Castrucci were summoned to Prague by Rudolph II. They seem to have carried on the Castrucci workshop...
Ansicht des Hradschin in Prag
Künstler: Giovanni Castrucci
This "pyramid" is Dionysio Miseroni's supreme masterpiece. The massive base block rises on a hexagonal foot - an approximate hexafoil. A row of...
Bergkristall-Pyramide
Künstler: Dionysio Miseroni
 

Ivory

Pope Gregory the Great is considered to be the author of the Roman mass, the use of which Charlemagne made compulsory throughout the Carolingian...
Hl. Gregor mit Schreibern
Künstler: Meister der Wiener Gregorplatte
In the Middle Ages, 'Saracen horns' were widely used as signals during hunting. This one is decorated on the body and mouthpiece with ornamental...
Sogenannter Olifant Graf Albrechts III. von Habsburg
This casket with lid is made up of carved ivory plaques and mounted in silver, with silver feet, lock and handle. The latter are a European addition...
Kästchen
When the Christianized Roman soldier Sebastian refused to continue worshipping the pagan gods, he was sentenced to be pierced by arrows and to suffer...
Martyrium des hl. Sebastian
Künstler: Meister der Sebastiansmartyrien
The unknown ivory carver who made this statuette has been called the Furienmeister (Master of the Furies). However, the term does highlight the chief...
Furie
Künstler: Furienmeister
King David is clad as a Roman military leader, with breast plate, short tunic, cuisses and a draped mantle. On the other hand, his crown, decorated...
König David
Künstler: Leonhard Kern
In his Metamorphoses Ovid tells the story of the nymph Daphnis who escaped the attentions of Apollo by imploring the goddess Diana to change her into...
Apollo und Daphne
Künstler: Jakob Auer
Being an admired masterpiece of virtuoso ivory carving, the covered jug was never intended for ordinary use. Almost the entire surface of the vessel...
Deckelkanne mit Jagd- und Fischereiszenen
Künstler: Balthasar Grießmann
As a counterpart to the equestrian portrait of Emperor Leopold I, the statuette of his 15-year-old son Joseph I is part of an allegorical double...
König Josephs I. als Sieger über den Furor
Künstler: Matthias Steinl

Bronze

Whether this grotesque aeolipile (literally, 'ball of Aeolus') was simply a household item used like bellows for the fire or featured in experiments...
Püsterich
The exotic fascination of this flagon evokes several differing associations. It is a utensil in the form of a daemonic animal, an upright sitting...
Aquamanile in Gestalt eines Greifen
Werkstatt: Roger von Helmarshausen
The bronze tondo, set into a splendidly decorated marble frame resembling a window, depicts the Virgin Mary sitting on the ground in the manner of a...
Madonna mit dem Kinde
Künstler: Donatello
The expression of grief that characterises the mourners on this relief would be hard to surpass. The still unknown artist based this representation...
Grablegung Christi
Zugeschrieben an: Andrea Mantegna
With the help of Pallas Athene, Bellerophon succeeded in taming Pegasus, the winged horse who served Zeus and who had sprung from the body of Medusa...
Bellerophon bändigt Pegasus
Künstler: Bertoldo di Giovanni
The statuette is a free reworking of an antique marble sculpture found in Rome in the late 15th century and placed in the Belvedere Court at the...
Venus felix
Künstler: Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi, gen. Antico
Riccio frequented the learned circles around the University of Padua. This is the reason why his work is so strongly influenced by ideas of...
Trinkender Satyr
Künstler: Andrea Briosco, gen. Riccio
The allegory of spring is one of the four supporting figures representing the seasons which were part of a three meters high silver fountain...
Allegorie des Frühlings
Künstler: Johann Gregor van der Schardt
The young woman depicted in the statuette is an allegory of Astronomy, as the attributes of a prism, armillary sphere, spirit level, ruler, compasses...
Allegorie der Astronomie
Künstler: Giovanni Bologna, gen. Giambologna
Mercury is shown here in flight - in other words, Giambologna was abandoning the laws of statics that governed sculpture to move into a type of image...
Merkur
Künstler: Giovanni Bologna, gen. Giambologna
In this composition it is not a historical topic which is being shown - what Bologna was interested in was simply the formal problem of a...
Zweifigurige Raptusgruppe
Künstler: Giovanni Bologna, gen. Giambologna
The striking figure of the bust rises from a based shaped as an eagle and two naked human supporting figures, presumably Hercules and Minerva. It...
Büste Kaiser Karls V.
Künstler: Leone Leoni
Adriaen de Vries was court sculptor to Rudolf II in Prague from 1601. This bust was commissioned by the Emperor as a counterpart to that of Charles V...
Kaiser Rudolf II.
Künstler: Adriaen de Vries
 
 

Wooden and Stone Sculpture

The Madonna comes from Ceský Krumlov (Krumau) in southern Bohemia, but stylistically it is a product of Prague court art. This type of Virgin figure...
Krumauer Madonna
Riemenschneider's religious beliefs and his own notion of the high quality of his works as autonomous works of art were already visible in his early...
Maria mit dem Kinde
Künstler: Tilman Riemenschneider
This relief marks an apogee in the work of Rossellino. He succeeds in a masterly manner in depicting a close and heartfelt connection between mother...
Madonna mit dem Kinde
Künstler: Antonio Rossellino
The representation of children belongs among the most charming motifs revived by Renaissance art under the influence of Hellenism. Although himself...
Lachender Knabe; Büste
Künstler: Desiderio da Settignano
The notable feature of this relief and a similar one in the Ca' d'Oro in Venice is that in each case the double portrait of a young couple appears to...
Junges Paar
Künstler: Tullio Lombardo
The Dalmatian artist Francesco Laurana was one of the great itinerant artists of the Early Italian Renaissance. He probably created this bust during...
Weibliche Büste, Idealporträt der Laura (?)
Künstler: Francesco Laurana
Usually composed as a three-figure group, the image contrasts thematically youth and beauty with age, embodied in the figures of the youth and the...
Vanitas
Künstler: Michel Erhart
Dürer once made the laudatory remark that he had never seen another wood carver the equal of Conrat Meit. Meit worked for Archduchess Margaret,...
Adam
Künstler: Conrat Meit
Little is known about the monogramist I P, one of the principle masters of the Danube school. Based on his oeuvre, it seems likely that he initially...
Verspottung des Hiob
Künstler: I. P. Meister
The bust originates from the Palazzo Zorzi next to the Ponte dei Greci in Venice. Francesco Sansovino in his Venetia Città nobilissima et singolare,...
Angela Loredan Zorzi
Künstler: Alessandro Vittoria
In front of her prie-dieu bench the  saint collapses into the arms of two  angels, of whom the one on the left  is driving an arrow (now broken off) ...
Ekstase der Hl. Theresa von Ávila
Künstler: Tommaso Amantini
This work belongs to a series of six portrait busts of the various Habsburg monarchs living around 1695 and their male offspring. The series was...
Kaiser Leopold I.
Künstler: Paul Strudel
Marie Antoinette is depicted in the year of her marriage at the age of 15. As wife of the French dauphin the later queen carried the traditional...
Erzherzogin Marie Antoinette, Dauphine von Frankreich
Künstler: Jean Baptiste Lemoyne II
 
 

Automatons and Clocks

The mechanical doll plays the cittern, turns its head and seems to mince along with tiny steps while in fact running on wheels. Movement conveys the...
Automat, sog. Cisterspielerin
Automatons like this musical clock in the form of a ship were used as festive table decorations intended to amuse and entertain the diners. The...
Automat in Gestalt eines Schiffes
Künstler: Hans Schlottheim
This outstanding example of Augsburg gold work around 1600 combines the function of a clock with that of a table automaton, here in the shape of a...
Tischautomat mit Diana auf dem Kentauren
Künstler: Hans Jakob I. Bachmann
This clockwork driven globe served as a model to demonstrate the cosmos. These mechanical models of the sky simulated the movements of the sun, the...
Mechanischer Himmelsglobus
Künstler: Johannes Reinhold d.Ä.
Princes also commissioned selected works from outstanding masters in the guilds of the imperial cities. The standards of work they produced was way...
Tischuhr
Künstler: David Altenstetter
The mechanism of this clock was developed by the Imperial clockmaker Margraf in Prague. For this invention he received a charter of privilege from...
Sogenannte 1. Kugellaufuhr, Tischuhr
Künstler: Christoph Margraf
According to the conception of the world as a machina mundi, the universe seemed to resemble a clock. Conversely, the clock was considered to be a...
Sogenannte Wiener Kristalluhr; Tischuhr
Künstler: Jobst Bürgi
The sun quadrant is a greatly simplified version of an astrolabe. Of the original full circle only a quarter circle remains. Apart from determining...
Sonnen-Quadrant aus dem Besitz Friedrichs III.
Zugeschrieben an: Johann von Gmunden
 

Varia

Model books were functional aids for workshops and itinerant artists, providing a ready supply of motifs and patterns. In this luxury edition, a...
Sog. Wiener Musterbuch
The game is structured into four armorial colours (Bohemia, Holy Roman Empire, France, Hungary) with the help of figurative images in which the...
Kartenspiel, sog. Hofämterspiel
This set of cards depicts courtly falconry. The "suits" are chosen accordingly. The falcon is represented as a hunting bird of prey, the silver heron...
54 Spielkarten des "Ambraser Hofjagdspieles"
Werkstatt: Konrad Witz
This game board consists of two foldable tablets hinged together that, on the onside have the divisions for chess and on the other the pattern for...
Spielbrett für Schach und den "Langen Puff" mit 20 Spielsteinen
The playing surface is made of two hinged wooden boards that can be folded together. The outsides have a systematic genealogical and heraldic...
Brettspiel für den "Langen Puff"
Künstler: Hans Kels d. Ä.
This was possibly a gift from King Matthias I Corvinus of Hungary to Johannes von Kranichberg, the owner of Petronell. Engraved with a diamond, the...
Becher, sog. Petroneller Willkhumb (Willkomm)
Amber is found mainly on the coasts of the Baltic and North Sea. The precious fossil resin exists in different shades and varying degrees of...
Deckelhumpen
This portrait in wax of Archduke Ferdinand II shows a delicacy worthy of a goldsmiths work in its richly detailed execution of the silver armour with...
Erzherzog Ferdinand II. von Tirol
Künstler: Francesco Segala
This type of finely constructed small furniture which can be seen as the precursor to our desk, probably comes from Spain. Numerous drawers and...
Kabinettschrank aus dem Besitz Erzherzog Ferdinands von Tirol

Curiosities, Marvels and Exotica

It was thought that the fossilised shark's teeth were the tongues of adders (dragons), and they were ascribed the capacity to neutralise poisons in...
Natternzungen-Kredenz
The word 'bezoar' comes from the Persian term bâd-sahr = antidote. The stone is formed in the stomach or intestine of certain ruminants, and until...
Bezoar
Hand-stones were a peculiarity of Bohemian goldsmiths work. Pieces of silver ore found by miners after initial treatment and artistic decoration...
Handstein mit der Auferstehung Christi
Künstler: Caspar Ulich
The figure of a drinker straddling a keg symbolizes the punishment of a glutton suffering the pains of Tantalus with all sorts of delicious food...
Tantalus
Künstler: Christoph Gandtner
The combination of exotic naturalia and refined gold work makes this cup a typical Kunstkammer or Wunderkammer piece. On top of a pierced base with...
Straußenei-Pokal
Künstler: Clement Kicklinger
The vessel is in the shape of a dragon standing on a turtle floating on the waves of the sea. This is a post-Gothic version of the mediaeval drinking...
Trinkhorn des Grafen Ulrich IX. Montfort-Tettnang in Drachengestalt
Künstler: Cornelius Groß
The pitcher is a masterpiece of Prague gold work from Emperor Rudolf II's time. Schweinberger, who had been employed at the Prague court since 1587,...
Seychellennuss-Kanne
Künstler: Anton Schweinberger
The pictorial, expressive character of this goblet was determined by the underlying idea of warding of demonic powers in nature by objectifying them....
Deckelpokal aus Rhinozeroshorn mit Warzenschweinhauern
Künstler: Nikolaus Pfaff
The real 'jewel' of this vessel was considered to be the piece of 'unicorn' that forms the sides. Great therapeutic effects were ascribed to the horn...
Narwalhornbecher
Künstler: Jan Vermeyen

Tapestries

The six-part tapestry series is based on the allegorical poem Trionfi by the Italian poet and scholar Petrarch (1304-1374), which describes the...
4. Der Triumph des Ruhmes über den Tod
The wall tapestry with the scene of Danae forms part of a six-part series. The young woman was shut away with her nurse by her father King Acrisius...
1. Danae
Entwurf: Francesco Primaticcio
The series comes from the estate of the Emperor Franz I who, on the occaison of his marriage to Maria Theresia, brought with him to Vienna numerous...
2. Ergreifung des Apostels Paulus im Tempel von Jerusalem
Entwurf: Pieter Coecke van Aelst
From the early 16th to the 18th century, this series of grotesque months was very popular with European tapestry makers. The Olympian deity...
3. März: Minerva mit dem Zeichen des Widders
Entwurf: Cornelis de Ronde
The Emperor Leopold I bought this series comprising eight tapistries with depicitions of riding lessons in 1666, probably on the occasion of his...
1. Die Erschaffung des Pferdes
Entwurf: Jacob Jordaens
The tapestries in Vienna are a repetition of the famous Renaissance series of depictions of the months after designs by Maitre Lucas, who has...
2. Februar - Fackeltanz
In 1535, the Emperor Charles V sailed with his fleet to Africa in order to liberate the Kingdom of Tunis that had been conquered by the Turks. On...
4. Der Ausfall der Besatzung von Goleta wird zurückgeschlagen (= Horn Nr.7)
The Indian series is is one of the most spectacular and popular series produced by the Gobelin manufactory in Paris. They reflect the scientific...
7. Mohrenkönigin (Le roi porté par deux Maures)
Entwurf: Alexandre-François Desportes
 

For more highlights from the collections go to our online Image Library.

to top