Kuntshistoriches Museum, Vienna

Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563, oil on panel, on display at the Kuntshistoriches Museum in Vienna, Austria (above)


The second museum we attended during the Long Night of Museums in Vienna was the Kuntshistoriches Museum. Emperor Franz Joseph I had this impressive museum built to house artistic treasures collected by the Hapsburgs. The museum includes Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, sculpture and decorative arts, and a picture gallery that includes, most notably, Bruegel's painting of the Tower of Babel.

At the museum, my husband and I were charmed by this Egyptian ceramic hippo:

It was made in Egypt around 2000 BC. The hunting of hippos was meant to symbolize religious power, so this blue-glazed ceramic hippo was a prestigious possession. The piece was titled Nilpferd (which is German for hippo). There is a similar blue hippo at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Below are a few more photos I took within the museum (no flash of course!):

Ancient Egyptian sculpture of a couple (above)

Ceiling detail from one of the many beautiful galleries within the Kuntshistoriches Museum (above)

Sculpture of Theseus slaying a centaur (above)

Ancient Roman mummy painting, around 2000 years old (above)