Ambras Castle, southeast of Innsbruck, arose from an Andechs family castle, built after 1288; the keep and main living quarters have survived to the present. Archduke Ferdinand II made Ambras his summer residence. The upper palace was constructed using parts of preceding buildings until 1566, the lower palace for the armouries and art chamber was built 1572-1583, and the Renaissance park was designed before 1574. The upper palace is a 4-storey complex with an irregular layout built around a longitudinal rectangular courtyard; grisaille painting in the inner courtyard (around 1567). The elongated Spanish Hall built 1570-1572 by G. Lucchese has a coffered ceiling and inlaid doors by K. Gottlieb and is divided by architectural painting in the grisaille style and richly decorated. The Kaiserzimmer (emperor's rooms) are adjacent to the east. The lower palace housed stables in the granary and a library and, in additional buildings, armouries, the art chamber and wunderkammer (paintings, sculptures, arts and crafts of the 16th /17th centuries) and the antiquities chamber for displaying 85 sculptures. The "Ambras Collection," set up in the lower palace by Ferdinand II from around 1580 on, was the first museum of the Modern era. After his death, his son Karl von Burgau sold the Collection to Emperor Rudolf II, but it was not brought to Vienna until 1805, after the Bavarian occupation of Tyrol. Ambras Castle is now the property of the Republic of Austria and serves as an annex to the Museum of Art History.
Further reading#Hispania - Austria, Kunst um 1492, exhibition catalogue, Ambras 1992.