Das Originaldokument Privilegium Maius.
© Österreichisches Staatsarchiv

Fake Facts

In 1356, Emperor Charles IV issued the decree known as the "Golden Bull". The most important constitutional document of the Holy Roman Empire, it governed the election of the King of the Romans. It also defined the position of the seven electors who elected the king - the Habsburgs, however, were not taken into consideration, as Austria was not an electorate. Nevertheless, Charles's son-in-law, the Habsburg Duke Rudolf IV (1339-1365) had ambitious master plans. In order to enhance his family's position in the empire, he had a series of documents forged in the winter of 1358/59, which in historiography go by the name of "Privilegium Maius" ("great letter of freedom"). Among other things, he obtained the title of "archduke" for his family - an aristocratic title that simply hadn't existed until that time, but elevated the Habsburgs to a higher rank.

Unique exhibition of the historic forgeries

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna now presents all five parts of the "Privilegium Maius" together for the first time in the exhibition "Fake Facts". The exhibition is supplemented with spectacular loan items such as a copy of the "Golden Bull", which is part of UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, and the statue of Rudolf IV from the Singertor, the south-western entrance to St. Stephen's Cathedral. What Rudolf IV once aimed at and finally also achieved with his forgeries was Austria's extensive independence from the Holy Roman Empire. Big politics were thus made with a forgery.

Fake Facts. The Privilegium Maius and its history

October 16, 2018 - January 20, 2019

Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum)

Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Wien
  • Prices

    • Young people under 19   €0
    • Your benefit with the Vienna City Card: 1€ off
  • Opening times

    • Tu - Su, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Th, 10:00 - 21:00
    • Open daily until January 13, 2019 and from June to August
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • 5 Steps (Double swinging doors   300  cm  wide )
        on Maria-Theresien-Platz, no ramp
    • Side entrance
      • no steps
        on Burgring 5
    • Car parks Main entrance
      • 5 Parking spaces for people with disabilities
        on Heldenplatz
    • Elevator available
      • 150 cm wide and 130 cm low , Door 99 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Wheelchair rental possible (please reserve one day in advance).
      Guided tours for visitors with special needs as well as tactile tours for the blind and visually impaired on request (Tel. +43 1 525 24-5202). Three masterpieces of the Renaissance collection of the painting gallery, selected objects of the Kunstkammer, the Egyptian-Oriental collection and the collection of antiquities are available to the blind and visually impaired as castings for touching. A brochure with image descriptions of this in Braille is available. The Kunsthistorisches Museum offers workshops for people with dementia (Tel. +41 1 525 24-5202 or email: kunstvermittlung@khm.at)

      Wheelchair users who visit the museum via Burgring 5 can purchase their tickets at the shop in the lobby.

    • Comments

      The museum is a place of encounter and sensory perception and offers plenty of opportunity to stimulate vistors and motivate them to interact with one another by looking at art together and then getting creative themselves.
      Induction loop available at the audio guide stand.

      http://www.khm.at/en/learn/kunstvermittlung/inclusive-art-education

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