Schloss Belvedere

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by billmoy on October 7, 2003

The Belvedere Palace is south of the central "ring", which was the boundary of the old city walls that had encircled Vienna. It is a fine garden palace with extensive grounds, and currently many of the grand interiors house a great art collection, most notably a group of Klimt paintings.

Architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt designed the Lower Belvedere for Prince Eugene of Savoy, who was hailed as Austria’s greatest military leader and a savior for Christianity. Constructed from 1714 to 1716, this served as a royal summer residence and displays a sumptuous Baroque style with lavish marble interiors. The Orangery and palace stables are located here. The building of the Upper Belvedere, which was the more ceremonial of the two palace blocks, followed from 1721 to 1723. The two buildings are connected with the stunning symmetrical gardens (by Dominique Girard) complete with greenhouses, a zoo, sphinxes, sculptures and fountains. Over the years, the royals amassed quite a collection of artworks. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 sparked World War I, resided in the Belvedere for a number of years after a remodeling orchestrated by architect Emil von Forster. Both the Upper and Lower Belvederes were heavily damaged during air raids at the end of World War II, but today the buildings are as grand as ever.

Today the Upper Belvedere holds the Austrian Gallery of the 19th and 20th Centuries, highlighted by its exciting collection of Gustav Klimt masterpieces (including "The Kiss") along with works by Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka (one of my favorite artist names). There are also works from the Viennese Biedermeier era, and French impressionists too. Look out upon Vienna from the north side of the Upper Belvedere.

The Lower Belvedere turns the clock back a bit further with its fine collection of Medieval art and Baroque works. One of the most notable paintings is Jacques Louis David's "Napoleon on the St. Bernard Pass". The Orangery features wood sculptures from the Romanesque and Gothic periods.

Belvedere Palace (Oberes Belvedere)
Prinz-eugen-strasse 27
Vienna, Austria, A-1030
43 01 79 55 7 0

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