Promoting Imperial and National Identities: Museums in Austria-Hungary

In this project, generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust, Professor Matthew Rampley examines the various cultural, social and political missions of by the museums of art and design in the Habsburg Empire from the mid-nineteenth century to its fall in 1918.

Museums in Austria-Hungary

Ostensibly set up as public institutions to encourage pleasure in works of art and applied arts, museums promoted numerous agendas that reflected the wider economic and cultural politics of Austria-Hungary. Those in the capital, Vienna, celebrated the values and visions of the ruling imperial dynasty, but those elsewhere, in Prague, Budapest, Cracow or Zagreb, for example, used their collections to convey other values and notions of culture and society. Museums thus served as sites for wider debates about the social and political identity of Austria-Hungary.

Working with the Leverhulme researchers, Dr. Nóra Veszprémi and Dr. Markian Prokopvych, the project will lead to two books: The Empire Exhibited: Art Galleries and Museums in the Habsburg Empire, 1796-1918 and Design on Display: Museums of Applied Arts in Austria-Hungary.

Interim publications include:

  • M. Prokopovych – ‘The City, Its Art, and Its Publics: Cracow's Art Collections,’ forthcoming in Austrian History Yearbook (2018)
  • M. Rampley, ‘ “German Industriousness, German Spirit, German Energy and German Persistence:” the Moravian Design Museum and Cultural Politics in the Habsburg Empire,’ West 86th 24.2 (2017) pp. 201-29.
  • M. Rampley, ‘Across the Leitha: Rudolf von Eitelberger, the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry, and the Liberal View of Culture in the Habsburg Empire’ in Eva Kernbauer, Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel, Raphael Rosenberg, Julia Rüdiger, Patrick Werkner and Tanja Jenni, eds., Rudolf Eitelberger von Edelberg. Netzwerker der Kunstgeschichte (Vienna: Böhlau, 2018, in press) pp. 268-94.
  • M. Rampley, ‘A Moment of Crisis: Julius Schlosser, the History of Art as Style and the History of Art as Language,’ Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 66 (2018, in press)
  • N. Veszprémi, ‘An Introspective Pantheon: the Picture Gallery of the Hungarian National Museum in the Nineteenth Century,’ Journal of the History of Collections (2017).