In 2014 we celebrate the four-hundreth birthday of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm (1614-1662). His excepional and comprehensive collection forms a seminal part for the rich holdings of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The son of Emperor Ferdinand II was a connoisseur and a patron of the arts who seized the moment – following the English Civil War a number of important collections came up for auction – and assembled a magnificent collection.
Leopold Wilhelm bought over 500 Kunstkammer objets d’art made of marble, bronze and ivory as well as sculptures, tapestries, around 1400 paintings and 350 drawings. His collection is remarkable both for its size and the outstanding quality of the artworks it comprised. For example, he aquired numerous masterpieces by artists such as Jan van Eyck, Francesco Laurana, Titian, Giorgione, Raphael and Rubens that subsequently entered the Habsburg collections.
The exhibition is the sixth in our INTERMEZZO series, in which the Kunsthistorisches Museum showcases a selection of artworks from its own holdings in a single gallery, creating a stimulating dialogue. The exhibition was devised by a team of curators from the different collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum: Anna Fabiankowitsch, Gerlinde Gruber, Rotraut Krall, Stefan Krause, Manuela Laubenberger, Konrad Schlegel, Heinz Winter and Karin Zeleny, as well as Leopold Wilhelm‘s biographer, Renate Schreiber.