The Collection

Auf dem dreiteiligen Tafelgemälde sind in phantastische Landschaften eingebettete, grotesk-satirische Visionen dargestellt. Auf der Mitteltafel thront oben im blauen Himmel Gott. Vom Himmel abwärts werden die Farben zunehmend dunkler, bis man zu den düsteren Szenen des Weltgerichts gelangt. Hier werden zahlreiche nackte Menschen von Dämonen und weiteren merkwürdigen Gestalten für ihre Sünden bestraft. Auf der linken Seitentafel scheint die paradiesische Welt im Garten Eden auf den ersten Blick noch in Ordnung zu sein. Bei näherer Betrachtung bemerkt man jedoch Szenen des Sündenfalls und der Vertreibung Adam und Evas aus dem Paradies. Die rechte Seitentafel ist Schauplatz weiterer zahlreicher Folterdarstellungen. Die sündigen Menschen wurden in die Hölle verdammt, wo sie auf unterschiedlichste Weisen gequält werden. Wer sich im Leben der Völlerei und Trunksucht hingegeben hat, wird hier zum Beispiel aus einem Fass abgefüllt, dessen Inhalt dem Hinterteil eines Höllenwesens entströmt. Während auf der linken Tafel die paradiesische Landschaft dominiert, wirken die mit Satire und Ironie gespickten Traumwelten der mittleren und rechten Tafel chaotisch und grotesk.
Hieronymus Bosch. Last Judgement Triptych , between 1504 and 1508, © The Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

The earliest paintings of the collection date back to the 18 th century and comprise the "admission works" of Academy members and "prize works" by students awarded for their contributions to the annual exhibitions - works that also served as teaching models in art lessons.

Auf dem hochformatigen Gemälde ist die nackte, stehende LThe portrait-format painting depicts the naked, standing Lucretia shortly before the moment of her suicide. She is pointing a long dagger at her chest while at the same time holding a fine, long, transparent cloth with the fingers of her left hand. The cloth continues over her right forearm until it finally touches the ground. From her young, round, doll-like face, her inner pain and despair can be read. Her ginger curly hair is strictly braided backwards into a crown. Due to the black, monochromatic background and the small section of the stony ground, the painting has a two-dimensional effect.
Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), Lucretia , 1532, © The Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

The Paintings Gallery actually came into being when, in 1822, Count Lamberg-Sprinzenstein, a Habsburg diplomat successful in Turin and Naples, generously donated his internationally renowned collection of paintings to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Its initial stocks were significantly extended in the course of the 19 th century, through state purchases of contemporary art but also through numerous further donations by aristocrats and citizens alike, including the large group of works by Heinrich Friedrich Füger, bequeathed to the Academy in 1878 by his son, or the fifty-eight paintings donated to the Academy gallery by Johann II, Prince of Liechtenstein, between 1879 and 1925. In the 20 th century, especially the significant legacies of Oskar Kutschera-Woborsky, of Johanna and August Ritter von Albrecht Hönigschmied (1934 and 1937) and of Wolfgang von Wurzbach-Tannenberg (1957) need to be mentioned.

The portrait-format painting depicts a dramatic and violent moment in which Tarquinius threatens Lucretia with a dagger. Lucretia tries to push him away with her left arm, Tarquinius in turn holds her right arm and tries to pull her towards him. A dramatic tension is created by her defence and his violent approach. Lucretia wears a white dress that has slipped so much that half of her right breast is being exposed. The background is taken up by a dark red curtain, which makes the entire pictorial space seem constricted. The drama of the scene is heightened by the painting technique and the play of colour. There are no clear lines and neither the figures nor the space have been worked out particularly vividly. Thus, the painting appears two-dimensional and the brushstrokes with their dynamism almost sketchy.
Tizian (circa 1488-1576), Tarquinius and Lucretia , between 1570 and 1576, © The Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

The collection was further added to in the second half of the 20 th century, especially through the generous contributions made by the Association of Friends of Fine Arts , which came into being as an association of friends supporting the Paintings Gallery.

The landscape-format painting depicts Saint Cecilia playing the organ with two angels. Due to the strong worm's eye view, the impression is created that one is looking at the scene from below. One of the angels is standing behind Saint Cecilia and holds a wreath of flowers over her head. The scene is embedded in clouds. On the left side of the painting is a small putto reaching up towards the back of the organ. The brushstrokes appear sketchy and in places the wood on which the picture was painted shimmers out. The picture appears dynamic due to the fluttering voluminous robe and the many folds of fabric as well as cloud formations.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), St Cecilia , 1620, © The Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

The Academy's Gallery is a veritable "Pinacotheca", a collection of paintings ranging from medieval times to the 21 st century, and today comprises close to 1,600 works. About 180 outstanding works, mostly the masterpieces from the Lamberg-Sprinzenstein collection, are on permanent display, and include The Last Judgment , a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch showing the painter's phantasmagorical visions of Judgment Day, the Coronation of the Virgin Mary by Dirc Bouts as well as main works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, but also masterpieces by Peter Paul Rubens and Anthonis van Dyck.

The painting is a depiction of a family grouped in a courtyard. The family members take different positions and postures. The younger ones are spread out in the courtyard, while the older ones are sitting together at a table. The portrayed people appear rigid and staged. Their stern postures reflect the straight lines of the courtyard walls and the architecture in the middle and background. All wear black or grey robes with large white collars and headdresses. Through the courtyard door, the view can glide backwards to a church tower. Every brushstroke seems to be thought out and controlled in order to reproduce the perspective, the architecture as well as the figures as realistic as possible.
Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684), Family Group in a Courtyard in Delft , circa 1658, © The Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

One of the collection's foci is, however, on Dutch painting of the 17 th century with all its genres, including works by Rembrandt, Jacob van Ruisdael or Pieter de Hooch. The first-class works of Italian schools of painters include masterpieces by Botticelli, Titian, Giambattista Tiepolo and Francesco Guardi, to name but a few. Furthermore, the work of Heinrich Friedrich Füger and his colleagues at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, around 1800 is strongly represented.

The painting shows a scene from Roman antiquity. Germanicus, lying on a bed, occupies the centre of the picture space and is surrounded by almost twenty mourning and lamenting people. His naked upper body is lovingly supported by two women, while he holds out his hand to a general in uniform. Women, men and children are gathered around Germanicus, expressing their pain and grief with different postures and facial expressions. They wear ancient garments such as white, red, blue, ochre and brownish tunics, togas, stoles and Roman uniforms. The scene is separated from the rest of the hall by curtains stretched between large columns. Füger has striven for a lifelike depiction with clear contours, in which the bodies are clearly distinguished from one another.
Heinrich Friedrich Füger (1751-1818), The Death of Germanicus , 1789, © The Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna