Albertina Museum is an art museum located in the Palais Archduke Albrecht in the Centre of Vienna, Austriya. It kept one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of graphics (about 65 thousand drawings and more than one million pieces of printed graphics).
The collection covers the period from the late Gothic period to the present. Since 1805 the museum has been housed in the Albertina Palace, Vienna, whose lavish state rooms are also open to visitors.
The name «Albertine» comes from the name of founder-Duke Albert of Saxony-Tešenskogo, who founded the museum collection and resided in the palace from 1794 until his death in 1822.
The Albertina Palace
The palace was built in 1744 on an elevated position atop the Augustinian bastion near the Hofburg and hugged the city walls. At the time it was named Tarouca Palace, after its first owner, Count Emanuel Silva-Tarouca. Duke Albert, who was the son-in-law of Empress Maria Theresa, moved into the building in 1794.
Albert ordered a complete remodeling of the palace, both inside and outside, in a neoclassical style. He also had the palace expanded and the architect, Louis Joseph Montoyer, even incorporated a section of the former Augustinian monastery into the building. When the remodelling was complete the duke brought his already acclaimed collection of graphic art to the palace, and it has resided there ever since.
The palace today
Today the palace is back in full splendor, the result of a renovation that was carried out between 2000 and 2003. The entrance to the palace is on a raised terrace known as Albrechtsrampe, which can be reached by escalator or by ascending a majestic staircase.
The terrace is now partially covered with a huge cantilevered titanium slab. The conspicuous structure, designed by Hans Hollein, was installed in 2004. The terrace rests on a section of the old bastion, which is decorated with niches that hold large statues. At its southern tip is the Albrecht Fountain (1869), which shows a sculptural portrayal of the river god Danubius.
The State Rooms
The Albertina Museum
The architectural collection comprises some 50,000 plans and scale models. The photographic collection of the Albertina has tens of thousands of photographs, the oldest of which go back to the mid-nineteenth century.
By far the largest and most important collection is the graphic art collection. Due to the fragile nature of the works only a small selection is displayed in rotating exhibits. The collection is arranged chronologically and spans a period from the Middle Ages to modern times.
Modern artists are also well represented. Pre-war highlights include impressionist works from French artists such as Edouard Manet and Auguste Renoir as well as Austria’s own Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. Post-war works are dominated by German, Austrian and in particular American artists including Andy Warhol and Roy Liechtenstein.