Portrait of Emperor Rudolf II by Hans van Aachen

The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna has three floors.  The ground floor has collections of Greek and Roman Antiquities as well as a collection of Egyptian and Near Eastern artefacts.  The top floor is set aside for special collections and a large coin collection.  I concentrated on the middle floor which housed the art treasures.  On one side were the Dutch, Flemish and German paintings and on the other side hung the Italian, Spanish and French works of art.  A central section of this floor was set aside for special exhibitions.

The day I was at the museum the special exhibition was of the extraordinary art of the German painter Hans van Aachen.  In all there were 112 of his works on display.  This exhibition was the culmination of a three-museum tour as it had previously been at the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum in Aachen the birthplace of the artist’s father.  Then it moved to the Castle Gallery in Prague before finally ending its tour in Vienna.

Hans van Aachen, a German Mannerist painter, was born in Cologne in 1552.  He, like so many of the northern European artists spent time in Italy.  He lived in Venice from 1574 to 1588 and during that period in Italy, spent time in Rome and Florence.  He returned to Germany in 1588 where he built a reputation as an exceptional portrait painter concentrating on paintings of the nobility.  In 1592 he became the official court painter of Rudolf II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.   In 1600 he went to live in Prague where he died, fifteen years later, aged 63.

My Daily Art Display painting for today is Emperor Rudolf II, a portrait by Hans van Aachen, which he painted in 1607