CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rubens in Wien

Rubens in Vienna Exhibition: 5 December 2004 - 27 February 2005


Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna and Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna

From the museum website

As the home of the collections of the Picture Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and the Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna offers a unique and comprehensive survey of the work of Peter Paul Rubens. No other city in the world offers visitors the chance to see and experience such a wealth of first-class paintings from all the different artistic periods of the Flemish master.

Archduke Leopold William, whose collection forms the core of the collection of paintings now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and Johann Adam Andreas I of Liechtenstein, who commissioned the family’s magnificent summer palace in Vienna, are among the most important seventeenth century collectors of Rubens. They were rivals when it came to acquiring works by the Flemish painter. Unlike the Archduke and the Prince, Count Lamberg, whose collection entered the picture gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, was a private collector who preferred the spontaneous handling characteristic of small-scale paintings – the oil-sketches.

From December 5, 2004, the picture galleries of the Liechtenstein Museum, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and the Academy of Fine Arts, will present their combined treasures to the public. Rubens’ works in the three museums will be newly installed and augmented by additional loans in order to showcase the magnificent oeuvre of this outstanding Flemish painter.

The aim of this joint exhibition is to draw the public’s attention to the fact that the return to Vienna of the magnificent collections of the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein has re-united all these glorious paintings in the Austrian capital for the first time since 1938, and to celebrate the Year of Rubens in 2005.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum possesses around 40 paintings by Rubens, representing one of the most important collections outside the artist`s home city of Antwerp. Encompassing works from all phases of the Flemish Baroque painter`s life, it also demonstrates the huge variety of his oeuvre: large imposing altarpieces, religious and mythological history paintings, portraits, landscapes and small-scale studies. The exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum also includes 6 paintings loaned by the Hermitage in St Petersburg.


A catalogue accompanying the exhibition will be available in German as well as in English at the museum shops.

Related events from the co-organizers,

Liechtenstein Museum

In addition to the works on permanent display the Liechtenstein Museum will be showing paintings and sketches by Rubens and his circle, supplemented by loans. The aim of this joint exhibition is to draw the public`s attention to these masterpieces, now reunited here for the first time since 1938 through the return to Vienna of the Princely Collections, and to provide a unique accent to the year of Rubens exhibitions in Vienna.

Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste

The main focus of the Rubens exhibition at the Gemäldegalerie der Akademie on Schillerplatz is the collection of small-scale oil sketches which Rubens dashed off as the initial ideas for his often huge colour compositions. The sketches for the Jesuit Church in Antwerp display the painterly virtuosity of Rubens` uniquely personal style in its purest form. Highlights of the Rubens collection in the Gemäldegalerie include spectacular mythological subjects such as Boreas abducting Oreithyia.