Archduke Ferdinand II (1529–1595), housed his world-famous extensive collections in the Unterschloss (Lower Castle), the building constructed especially for the museum purpose.
The core of Ferdinand’s collection was the Heldenrüstkammer (Heroes’ Armoury). Thus, the Archduke realised the very first systematic presentation of objects in museum history, based on his novel museum idea of methodically collecting. He treasured the original armours that had been owned by all the famous personalities of his time and previous centuries, as well as weaponry and portraits. In order to preserve the memory of their deeds and to emphasize the leading historical role of the Habsburg dynasty, his collection encompassed more than 120 armours, mainly from military commanders. Eight of the original high wooden cabinets still exist today, in which their initial armours bear witness to the history. In the middle, Ferdinand also included himself among the heroes.
Ferdinand selected jousting arms and armour from his ancestors Archduke Sigmund (1427–1496) and Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) to display the forms of knightly tournament. Today’s presentation shows the use of weapons and the procedures of the tournament acquainted from the Freydal, the tournament book of Emperor Maximilian I.
The Second Armoury presents Ferdinand as the host, organizer, and director of courtly festivities and tournaments. It displays arms and armour of tournament such as the free tourney or the foot tourney. The suits of armour were masterpieces by Prague and Innsbruck armourers.
In the centre of the Second Armoury is the magnificent wedding armour of Ferdinand in classical style, commissioned in 1582 for the festivities on his second marriage to Anna Caterina Gonzaga.
The portraits show famous commanders of the 16th century whose arms or armour were displayed in the Heroes’ Armoury.
The so-called Türkenkammer (Turkish Chamber), is located at the end of the Court Amoury. The collection of 'Turcica', which Ferdinand assembled, corresponded with the 'Turkish fashion' which was much-loved in the 16th century. The Ottoman armour and military equipment and luxury items, like saddles, arrows and quivers, sabres, shields and helmets, were diplomatic gifts or pieces of booty from the battlefield. These were trophies and mementos of military battles against the then muchfeared Ottomans, who had spread their territory up to the borders of the Habsburg’s realm.
The fascination for Oriental art and culture could also be seen in the courtly festivals and tournaments.
In the Third Armoury, arms and armour from the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) can usually be seen. At present, however, a visualization of the Kunst- und Wunderkammer (Chamber of Art and Wonders) is on display. In fact, this was its original site during the time of Ferdinand. In the 1970s it was relocated to the original hall of the former library. The reconstruction, based on Ferdinand's estate inventory from 1596, gives an impression of the Kunstkammer objects that are still extant today. Those that have been lost are indicated by place-holders. According to the inventory of 1621, the illustration also conveys an impression of the dense array of paintings that hung on the walls.
Schlossstraße 20, 6020 Innsbruck
Daily from 10 am to 5 pm
Closed in November
Admission till half an hour before closing time.
The Ambras Portrait Gallery is open only from April to October.
Tel. +43 1 525 24- 4802