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The Diocesan Museum was founded in 1901 on the initiative of the Museumsverein, which already existes since 1897.

The main purpose of founding the museum was to counteract the deportation of ecclesiastical works of art and to create a worthy place of storage for objects of ecclesiastical origin that had fallen into disuse.

In addition, the founding of the Diocesan Museum was also intended as a training purpose for theologians, the diocesan clergy and, last but not least, for contemporary artists, who at that time were mainly oriented towards the art of the Middle Ages. 

Initially the museum was housed in a room in the Hofburg until it was moved to rooms at the cloister in 1907 due to a lack of space. Because of the rapid growth of the collection, however, space problems were soon faced again, making it necessary to extend the building and re-organise the collection. 

The transfer of the bishop's seat to the provincial capital of Bolzano in 1973 provided a unique opportunity to use the Bishop’s Palace as the seat of the Diocesan Museum.

The museum presents the Cathedral treasury of Bressanone and valuable works of art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century in over 70 exhibition rooms. Regularly held special exhibitions complete off the manifold offerings.


Museum: Unser Auftrag


A large and important part of the Diocesan Museum's collection consists of medieval art, which was already the main focus of interest when the museum was founded around 1900.

The collection contains numerous Romanesque crucifixes as well as late Romanesque and early Gothic Madonnas. With Master Leonhard of Brixen, a medieval artist appears by name for the first time in the second half of the 15th century.

The medieval collection also contains works from the surroundings of Michael and Friedrich Pacher as well as Hans Klocker.

Finally, the Diocesan Museum also houses remarkable stained glass, liturgical instruments, textiles and manuscripts.

Museum: Unser Auftrag


The Renaissance set in quite hesitantly in the field of local art at the beginning of the 16th century.

Two early Renaissance masterpieces are the depiction of Ecce Homo attributed to Lucas Cranach and the panel of the Madonna and Child by Jan Gossaert, called Mabuse, also painted around 1530.

Among the most important preserved religious Renaissance paintings in the country are the epitaphs for two canons from Brixen Cathedral.
Another outstanding Renaissance work is the Three Kings Altar by Bartlmä Dill Riemenschneider, also from the former Brixen Cathedral.


Baroque art represents a further main focus of the Diocesan Museum. At the beginning of the rich collection of Baroque paintings is the high altar (1600) by Hans Schmid from the Cathedral of Bressanone.

18th century painting is represented by well-known masters such as Ulrich Glantschnigg, Johann Georg Dominikus Grasmair, Franz Sebald and Michelangelo Unterberger. A separate room is dedicated to Paul Troger, probably the most famous Tyrolean baroque painter.
In addition, the baroque collection also offers a variety of arts and crafts.

Museum: Unser Auftrag
Museum: Unser Auftrag


The art of the early 19th century is represented above all by artists such as Josef Schöpf or the brothers Johann and Josef Renzler, who are still very much anchored in the Baroque tradition in terms of style.

In addition, several works by the Nazarenes can be found here, for example by Franz Hellweger, Johann Strasser or Martin Alois Stadler.

In 2001, the Unterberger Collection was acquired, which mainly comprises genre and portrait painting as well as landscape paintings by renowned artists such as Friedrich Wasmann, Franz von Defregger and Albin Egger Lienz. The Unterberger Collection is currently not on display.

Karl Plattner, Pietà, 1960, Öl auf Hartfaserplatte, 79 x 135 cm_edited.jpg


Although sacred art of the 20th century has never been a central focus of the Diocesan Museum's collection, it is represented in works by Peter Fellin, Martin Rainer, Maria Delago and Karl Plattner, for example.

Museum: Unser Auftrag


The Cathedral Treasure of Bressanone is one of the most important cathedral treasuries in the Alpine region. These exhibits are hardly used any more, but are among the oldest and most valuable pieces. The central and most famous object is the Albuin chasuble made of Byzantine purple and dating from around 1000, which is generally referred to as the Adlerkasel (eagle chasuble) because of its fabric pattern.

Museum: Unser Auftrag
Museum: Unser Auftrag


The custom of cribs has a local history of at least three hundred years.

A great tradition of cribs was already established in Bressanone by Prince-Bishop Karl Franz Graf von Lodron, who had two large cribs made around 1800 by Franz Xaver Nissl and the brothers August Alois and Josef Benedikt Probst.

The Probst crib consists of more than 5.000 figures and tells the entire life of Jesus. The Nissl crib deals with the Christmas circle and the Passion story, intended for the Sundays of Lent.

Cribs from Bressanone, Tyrol, Naples and Sicily complete the collection, which thus bears witness to the diversity and artistic quality of their design.

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