The abbey museum is located in what are known as the Archdukes´ Rooms on the second floor of the Imperial Wing. In no less than 12 halls, a cross-section of the abbey’s collections is displayed. The collection of late Gothic panel paintings, in particular, is of more than regional significance.
The Babenberg family tree
The Babenberg family tree (1489/92), an 8-metre wide triptych originally set up at the grave of St. Leopold for the benefit of pilgrims, is an outstanding work of art. This giant painting was commissioned by Klosterneuburg Abbey after the canonisation of Leopold III in 1485, to introduce the new patron saint to the people and at the same time make them acquainted with his family history. The work on this huge triptych took until 1492 to finish. The centre shows each male representative of the dynasty in a scene that is typical for his life (a number of historically valuable views of the town are depicted as well). On the side wings, their wives and daughters are portrayed.
Panel paintings by Rueland Frueauf the Younger
The paintings by Rueland Frueauf the Younger, all created between 1496 and 1507, are among the most well-known works of art in the abbey, especially the four panels illustrating the legend of the veil. The four panels showing scenes from the legend of the veil, the founding legend of Klosterneuburg Abbey, are outstanding. What is so remarkable about the images is their wealth of detail. A completely novel approach to landscape painting can be seen here. The second panel, “Sauhatz” (boar hunt), is known as the oldest realistic depiction of a landscape in Austrian painting.
One of the halls is dedicated to the collection of Renaissance bronze sculptures. This collection is one of the richest of its kind in Austria. “Mercury and Cupid”, a lead statuette by Georg Raphael Donner, paintings by Johann Michael Rottmayr, Paul Troger, Martin Johann Schmidt (also known as “Kremser Schmidt”) and Franz Anton Maulbertsch are highlights of Baroque art. The Gallery of Modern Art exhibits religious artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries and is involved in the artistic revival of the figure of Saint Leopold, among other projects.