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Belvedere Castle. Garden Front of the Lower Belvedere.
Belvedere Palace stands supposedly on the foundations of a Roman camp that had been erected here for strategic reasons. In 1693 Prince Eugene of Savoy acquired field and vineyard grounds between today’s Rennweg and today’s Gürtel. In 1700 Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt began with the construction of a palace garden (Lower Belvedere), whose in French-style layed out park was equipped with large water basins, an orangery with precious foreign plants and a menagerie. Prince Eugene was a great animal lover, and some animals in his collection could be fed exclusively by himself.
1720 the Prince conceived the plan the summer palace to supplement by a another palace building on the hill of the garden.
The 1721 by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt begun works had been completed in 1724. The Upper Belvedere served in contrast to the Lower only representative purposes and was never meant to live.
The Prince and his architect managed a perfect symbiosis between architecture and garden. After the death of the Savoy (1736) inherited his niece Victoria of Savoy-Soisson, nee Princess Hildburghausen, all his possessions. From her the Habsburgs beginning of 1752 acquired the Belvedere. From 1755 Empress Maria Theresa moved the Arcierenleibgarde (Royal Company of the Archers) and the Galician Guard in the annex of the Belvedere. Besides, the castle stood almost empty.
Belvedere Castle. Engraving by Salomon Kleiner 1731/40 (left).
Vienna from the Belvedere. Coloured copper engraving by Carl Schütz, 1784 (right).
1770 Belvedere Palace was venue of brilliant festivities:
In castle and park the marriage of Archduchess Maria Antonia (Marie Antoinette) with the Dauphin of France by proxy (per procura) was celebrated. About 2,000 people were invited, more than 1,500 bottles of champagne, which was far from home in Vienna at that time,
were emptied. For hospitality of the guests, there were round tables, which were covered with silver. However, the Court of Vienna had a large part of the silver service to rent of nobles, because the stocks of the silver chamber were not sufficient. Finished was the festival by a magnificent fireworks.
1776, the imperial picture gallery from the Stallburg (home of the famous Lipizzan stallions) was transferred to the Upper Belvedere, the animals of the menagerie came to Schönbrunn. Shortly before the Congress of Vienna in 1814 in the Lower Belvedere the Ambras Collection was exposed. During the war against Napoleon (1805-1809), much of the collection of paintings had to be outsourced. The Corsican claimed 400 masterpieces for himself, but which after his defeat at Waterloo to the Habsburgs have been restituted. The after the French wars completely neglected building has been restored 1850-1866.
Castle Park with Upper Belvedere. Photograph, around 1890.
1819 Emperor Franz II (I) the Institute of Botany, University of Vienna, had given spacious grounds for enlargement of the Botanical Garden at Rennweg. Franz was very interested in botany and in accordance with a Habsburg House bill – every Archduke must learn a civilian job – has been educated for gardener. In an adjoining garden of Schloß Belvedere he had from his private funds laid out a botanical garden ("Flora Austriaca") which was left to the Institute of Botany for use.
During the cholera epidemic of 1831, the Belvedere served as well as Schönbrunn Palace the imperial family as a refuge; supposedly one was there protected from the bad air, which was attributed to the onset of the disease. Both castles lay in the "countryside", the air was much better here than in the densely populated city. During wartime, a hospital was set up in the castle.
As the space for the imperial collections became too small, it was thought to expand the Upper Belvedere by wing buildings. This plan was dropped for aesthetic reasons, however. After the expansion of the city (razing of the bastions and glacis) arose on the ring road the newly created Court Museums; moved there in 1891 the major part of the paintings.
Archduke-Heir to the Throne Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este at folk and children’s party in the park of the Belvedere Palace. Photograph, 1905.
To 1893/94 it is likely that Archduke Franz Ferdinand has chosen the Upper Belvedere to his residence in Vienna. Other sources say that it had been assigned to him by the Emperor Franz Joseph as a place to stay in Vienna. The rooms have been restored, adapted for residential purposes and supplemented with neo-Baroque furniture. The heir of the Este collections furnished his residence with numerous works of art. He had envisaged the castle for the accommodation of his collections; in 1893 were numerous boxes from India and Singapore in Belvedere stored. 1894 Emperor Franz Joseph could see the collection: "Yesterday I went to the Belvedere, where Franzi showed me his now quite and very nicely prepared collections. The same are as imposing as interesting by the incredible amount of objects and by the rarity and beauty of them. I believe that this exhibition would be interesting for you", wrote the monarch to his wife, Empress Elisabeth. That same year, Archduke Franz Ferdinand showed his collections his future wife, Sophie Chotková,
"Where I unaware of your fatigue with particular brutality you dragged from box to box" as he apologetically from Budweis wrote to the Countess.
Then the collections moved one the one hand to the Palais Modena in the Beatrixgasse, on the other hand to Konopischt. Only in 1898, Franz Ferdinand was granted by Emperor Franz Joseph to move into the Belvedere as Vienna Residence. More revitalization works were carried out and were also necessary. Technical modernization and preservation of the original building condition had priority – as always with the projects of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. As furnishings served still preserved furnitures from Schloss Hof, which were supplemented by new ones in old style. The private rooms in addition to electric lighting were equipped with central heating.
Belvedere Castle. Staircase in the Upper Belvedere (left).
Marble plastic "Apotheosis of Prince Eugene" by Balthasar Permoser in Gold Cabinet of the Lower Belvedere (right).
If his presence was needed in Vienna, Franz Ferdinand here could lead a normal family life and escape the pressures of court ceremonial, in which the to him in morganatic marriage affiliated wife was exposed to the evils of the courtiers. When the heir to the throne invited guests to the Belvedere, he was sitting opposite his wife as a hostess while she was ranked in the Hofburg always after the latest unmarried Archduchess. About the cozy family life at Belvedere reported Prince von Clary-Aldringens:
"Aunt Sophie invited us … to snack into a Belvedere, unexpectedly, suddenly appeared the Archduke – we literally froze in our Hab-Acht-position (stand at attention). He greeted us warmly … [I got to know] the Archduke as a friendly landlord, who was playing and laughing with his Children…"
Between 1899 and 1914 in the Lower Belvedere the military bureau of the heir to the throne was housed. Other well-known Residents – but of outbuildings – were Anton Bruckner, who in 1896 died in the Kustodenwohnung (guardian house), and Richard Strauss, who lived here from 1925 to 1944.
After the assassination of the Archduke and his wife in Sarajevo, the Belvedere should serve as the residence of the new heir to the throne, Archduke Karl and his family. This, however, preferred living in Schönbrunn and especially in the villa Wartholz. In 1917, Charles’ brother Archduke Maximilian moved with his family into the Belvedere.
During World War II the castle was badly damaged by bombs, but rebuilt after the war ended immediately. On 15 May 1955 was the Marble Hall venue of the signing of the Austrian State Treaty. Today, the Upper Belvedere houses important art collections.
Thus lived the Habsburgs – Imperial and Royal Palaces in the
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Denomination of the summer residence which Prince Eugene of Savoy himself had erected btw Rennweg and Swiss Garden. The term which refers to the unique view over Vienna dates from the time of Maria Theresa. Prinz Eugen bought in 1697 a plot of land at the Rennweg, which he extended to 1721 in four stages to the current area. Between 1714 and 1716 emerged the Lower Belvedere It is an elongated ground floor building, designed of a 7-axes central projection, two wings and two corner pavilions. The 3-axis central pavilion houses the Marble Hall. The castle the only rarely in Vienna sojourning builder served during the summer months as a pleasure palace.
Only in 1720 commenced construction works for the Upper Belvedere, first drawings for this existed already in 1717. The in it extent and form language compared to the Lower Belvedere especially magnificent Upper Belvedere served primarily as a representative setting for grand receptions and festivities. The architectural history of the example due to the loss of the Eugenianischen Bauarchivs (construction archiv of Prince Eugene) cannot be explored in detail without any gaps. 1723 (according to Rizzi 1721/22) the Upper Belvedere s is considered complete. The architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, who repeatedly worked for Prince Eugen, with the construction of the Belvedere has created his main work. It counts in its multiform architectonic as well as sculptural structure to the most important baroque buildings of the 18th century. The to the ensemble belonging, btw Upper and Lower Belvedere laying garden has been created by the Bavarian horticultural engineer D. Girard and today only in broad terms is original. The designs for the interior of the castle stem from C. le Fort du Plessy.
After the death of the prince the belvedere went into the possession of his sole heiress, Victoria Duchess of Saxe-Hildburghausen. She sold it in 1752 to Maria Theresa. At the behest of Joseph II from 1775 the imperial picture gallery was transferred here, which in 1781 for the first time was open to the public. had. Since 1806 was located in the Lower Belvedere the Ambras Collection. Both collections were in 1890 in the Museum of Art History transferred. In 1894, the palace became residence for the heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
After the first World War I the Republic of Austria in Belvedere installed the Austrian Gallery. 1945 suffered the Belvedere severe war damage. In 1950, the "Gold Cabinet" in the north-eastern corner pavilion of the Upper Belvedere was destroyed by fire and replaced by a copy. The since 1988 ongoing general renovation should have been completed in 1996.
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Austrian Gallery Belvedere
The in the center of Vienna situated Belvedere palaces with their extensive parks form an impressive baroque Gesamtkunstwerk. The Museum in the Upper and Lower Castle
provides an excellent overview of the Austrian Art from the Middle Ages to the present. the collections of the 19th and 20th Century also include an exquisite inventory of international art. World Famous works by Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka, Renoir and Monet you can see in the upper
Belvedere, from where you can enjoy a spectacular view to the center of Vienna. In the historic rooms of the Lower Belvedere are shown works of art from the Middle Ages and Baroque.
Austrian Gallery Belvedere
Prinz Eugen -Strasse 27 , A – 1037 Wien
Phone +43 / ( 0) 1 / 79557-0
Fax +43 / (0) 1/79 84 337
Collections of the 19th and 20th century
Prinz Eugen -Strasse 27 , A – 1037 Wien
Baroque Museum, and Museum of Medieval Art
Rennweg 6a, A – 1030 Vienna