The Princely Collections now comprise some 1700 paintings and sculptures, including masterpieces dating from the early Renaissance through to the era of Austrian Romanticism. The Collections also feature a significant selection of Italian bronzes, with particular emphasis on masterpieces from the 16th and 17th centuries.
As well as important works of graphic art, pietra dura objects, enamel items, ivory pieces, ceremonial arms, porcelain, tapestries and furniture that once adorned the castles and palaces of the Princely House of Liechtenstein.
The term "all'antica" - in the antique style - was the watchword of Renaissance art. In 15th-century Italy, a growing interest in the works of Greek and Roman architects, sculptors and poets brought with it a recognition of the special characteristics of antiquity.
The dawn of Baroque art can be traced back to the Rome of around 1600 AD, the name deriving from the Portuguese word "barocco," used to describe a misshapen pearl. The style signaled a departure from strict Renaissance forms; making use of motion and drama, the artworks of the period were characterized by a sense of exaggeration.
Around the mid-18th century, when more ancient archaeological sites were being discovered and excavated in Italy and Greece, there was a revival of interest in the aesthetics of antiquity. As in the Renaissance, artists, collectors and patrons of the arts gleaned inspiration from the ancient forms, and the classical style was born. The scholars of this period regarded these artistic creations as exemplary. Works of art should be modeled on them and possess equally impressive grace and beauty.
As the Congress of Vienna drew to a close in 1815 and Europe's new political order was emerging, the Biedermeier style began to make its presence felt in the art world. Society revived its long-neglected aesthetic aspirations, and artists began to turn their attention to new themes that reflected the serener mood and Romantic consciousness of the times. As spaces for privacy, the living quarters of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie were adorned with tasteful pieces of furniture, valuable textiles, delicate porcelain and thoughtfully selected paintings. Uncoupled from Baroque strictures, the natural environment became a source of carefree relaxation and pleasure.