on October 11, 2001
Set in the heart of Vienna, the Belvedere Palaces and their spacious parks are an impressive example of baroque architecture. The museums in the upper and lower palaces offer an excellent and comprehensive survey of Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The 19th und 20th century collections also include a wealth of international art. In the Upper Belvedere you can see famous works by Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka, Renoir or Monet and appreciate a splendid view of Vienna's inner city. Medieval and baroque works of art are presented in the Lower Palace, where most rooms have been preserved in their original state.
The collections are housed in the Belvedere Palaces, which Lukas von Hildebrandt built between 1714 and 1723 as a summer residence for the military commander Prince Eugene of Savoy. After years of careful renovation, the palaces of the Upper and Lower Belvedere, together with their elegant parks, are once again a shining example of baroque art.
The famous Marble Hall in the Upper Palace is a place of great historical importance for Austria. It was here that in 1955 the foreign ministers of France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, the USA and Austria signed the Austrian State Treaty, which ended the occupation of Vienna and Austria by the Four Powers, thereby saving the country from the agonies suffered by West Germany and West Berlin for so many years.
A Brief Biographical Note:
Prince Eugene of Savoy was a French aristocrat who went to Austria because he had been refused an officer's commission in the French military because of his diminuative height. A brilliant tactican, he rose quickly to be one of Austria's highest-ranking officers. Indeed, it was thanks to him that the Turks were finally defeated at Belgrade, thereby ending what was seen as an Islamic threat.
Beyond his military prowess, he was also a lover of art, music, and architecture. He commissioned von Hildebrandt, one of Austria's finest architects, to design the two Belvedere's, which represent the best examples of High Baroque in the country.
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