The Belvedere is a historic building complex in Vienna, Austria, consisting of two Baroque palaces (the Upper and Lower Belvedere), the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are set in a Baroque park landscape in the third district of the city, on the south-eastern edge of its centre. It houses the Belvedere museum. The grounds are set on a gentle gradient and include decorative tiered fountains and cascades, Baroque sculptures, and majestic wrought iron gates. The Baroque palace complex was built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy.
The Belvedere was built during a period of extensive construction in Vienna, which at the time was both the imperial capital and home to the ruling Habsburg dynasty. This period of prosperity followed on from the commander-in-chief Prince Eugene of Savoy’s successful conclusion of a series of wars against the Ottoman Empire.
The Belvedere Palace in Vienna is one of Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt (1668-1745) built for Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) palace complex (since 1850 in the district highway). The Upper Belvedere and the Lower Belvedere (named for its location on a slope rising south of the then city) form with the connecting gardenAudio file / audio sample baroque ensemble. The two palace buildings now house the collections of the Belvedere (Österreichische Galerie Belvedere) and rooms for temporary exhibitions. On May 15, 1955, the Austrian State Treaty was signed in the Upper Belvedere.
Prince Eugen had, starting in 1697, in the Himmelpfortgasse in the walled city of Vienna by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach his city palace (now advertised for marketing reasons as a winter palace) built. In 1702, Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt was commissioned by the client to complete the palace.
Neighbor and “architect exchange”
The Winter Palace was only partly completed when Prince Eugene commissioned Hildebrandt in 1714 to build an additional garden palace for him outside the walled city. The prince had since 1697, bought directly next to one of his military-political opponent, Heinrich Franz von Mansfeld, a piece of land. Mansfeld had a palace built by Hildebrandt, whose shell was completed by 1704. Count Mansfeld, however, died in 1715 without completing his palace. Its area was expanded from 1716 to 1728 to palace and garden of the princely Schwarzenberg.
However, Prince Schwarzenberg did not continue to supervise this transformation or completion of Hildebrandt, who was now working for his neighbor Prince Eugen, but commissioned Eugens former contractor Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.
Summer residence of Prince Eugen
A 1694-1697 built pleasure building, which had acquired Prince Eugen with the property was rebuilt by Hildebrandt 1714-1716 to the Lower Belvedere. Prince Eugen used to stay here in the summer (construction details see below). After the death of the prince, the castle came from his heiress to the imperial family. In 1806, when Napoleon I threatened to invade Tyrol, the so-called Ambras Collection of the Habsburgs from Tyrol was placed in the Lower Belvedere; In 1890, this collection, together with other imperial art collections, was transferred to the then newly built Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
1903 began with the accommodation of the Modern Gallery, since 1909 Austrian State Gallery, the continuous museum use, which could be extended to the Upper Belvedere after the First World War. It is run by the Austrian Gallery Belvedere, a federal museum.
Prince Eugens last days and the lion in the Belvedere
Hugo von Hofmannsthal wrote:
“… the king of France, whom he had defeated so many times, worshiped him an African lion… finally came three days when the lion no longer saw his master, he refused all food and went restlessly in the cage up and down… at three o’clock in the morning he uttered such a roar that the animal keeper ran out into the menagerie to look. Then he saw lights in all the rooms of the castle, at the same time he heard the death-candle in the chapel, and so he knew that his master, the great Prince Eugen, had died at that very hour. ”
– Prince Eugen the noble knight, his life in pictures. Told by Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Franz Wacik.
The so-called Lower Belvedere was completed in 1716. Only very few rooms were planned as living spaces, the largest place occupied the orangery and the pompous stable.
The Marble Hall (not to be confused with the so-called Prunksaal in the Upper Belvedere) is the center of the Lower Belvedere and originally served as a representative reception for guests. The original of the flour market fountain made of leaded walnut by Georg Raphael Donner can be seen here. (The fountain on today’s Neuer Markt, called Donnerbrunnen, consists of bronze casts.)
The ceiling painting by Martino Altomonte shows Prince Eugen as a youthful hero and as Apollo surrounded by muses. To the west is the master bedroom and to the east the boardroom. The ceiling painting of the parlor bedroom is also from Altomonte, (evening and morning), with fake architecture by Marcantonio Chiarini and Gaetano Fanti. Grotesque paintings by Jonas Drentwett can be seen in a western room.
In 2007, the orangery (then Pomeranian building with sliding roof truss) was adapted and the Lower Belvedere rebuilt, where ever since special exhibitions of the Austrian Gallery Belvedere take place.
The garden is the oldest part of the complex. He was created just after the land purchase in 1700 by Le Nôtre student Dominique Girard and was completed in 1725. Horticulture also included the water technology infrastructure; Prince Eugene had been granted permission to use the imperial aqueduct and had numerous wells installed. The twelve wells were restored from 2005 to 2010, after the plants between the Upper and Lower Belvedere since 1994 could no longer be operated because of high water losses.
As the Upper Belvedere is about 23 meters higher than the lower, the subject of the sculptures is appropriately the ascent from the underworld into the Olympus. Between the two areas a staircase was built. The garden is divided into an upper, middle and lower parterre. At the side of the Lower Belvedere, in the area of the Orangerie, is the Kammergarten, which is separated from the rest of the garden. In this area was at the suggestion of Friedrich Carl Emil von der Lühe a division exclusively for the plants of the Austrian monarchycreated under the direction of Nicolaus Thomas Host (1761-1834), but was described in 1827 as something in disarray.
The level differences are marked by two sculpturally richly decorated cascade fountains. The upper one (Fountain 4) is called the “Great Cascade Fountain” or just the “Cascade Fountain” and consists of two pools connected by a five-level cascade. The lower one is called “Shell Fountain” (Fountain 7), because in its middle tritons hold a shell-occupied basin. In each of the three parterres and in the Kammergarten there are two smaller fountains with putti and naiadswhereas those on the upper ground floor and in the Kammergarten are round and the other four regularly arranged. In addition to the twelve fountains, the wall fountain at the Orangerie (fountain 12) and the “Great Basin” (fountain 1, also called “Großer Teich”) south of the Upper Belvedere are counted.
While the upper ground floor is determined by Sphingen in its sculptural decoration, there is a complicated program on the lower ground floor. On the side avenues are statues of eight muses, while the ninth, calliope, is depicted together with Hercules. There are also allegories of fire, water and a depiction of Apollo and Daphne. These statues were created by Giovanni Stanetti.
At the edge of the middle parterre there is a ramp with a balustrade lined with allegorical illustrations in the form of putti. They were created in 1852 instead of older figures.
East of the Upper Belvedere are the remains of the semicircular menagerie. In the semicircular wall there are seven statues of gods in niches.
Since 1780 the facility is open to the public. (This year, Joseph II took over the sole regency in Austria after the death of Maria Theresa.) According to UNESCO World Cultural Heritage regulations, the gardens are gradually being restored with considerable resources, as is the large fountain.
The Upper Belvedere was originally designed only as a small building, which should optically complete the garden. After further purchases of the prince Hildebrandt extended the planning and built the Upper Belvedere 1720-1723 in the today’s extent; The construction work was completed in 1725/1726. The prince continued to live in the Lower Belvedere, while the Upper Belvedere served as representation. East of the Upper Belvedere was also the menagerie of the prince in a semicircular area (the floor plan is still good to see), which came after Eugen’s death in the imperial Tiergarten Schönbrunn.
The sole heiress of the prince, Anna Viktoria of Savoy, married since 1738 Princess of Saxe-Hildburghausen, had the entire inventory and the library auctioned, so that today nothing reminds of the original equipment.
The upper castle was built in communication with the surrounding nature from 1721 to 1723, originally there were also many more open halls and galleries. In front of the southern entrance, there is a pond that reflects the castle. The building dissolves into several blocks (“pavilion system”), giving the silhouette a very moving impression. Each of these blocks is provided with its own roof construction, which some observers have already been reminded of “tents”.
The Sala terrena in the lower area was originally open and designed as a single hall. Soon after the construction, however, it came to structural problems, so they had to be rebuilt and the ceiling with the still existing four atlases had to be supported. Again, the marble hall in the Beletage is the center of the building. It is decorated with a central ceiling painting by Carlo Innocenzo Carlone, with the pseudo-architecture attributed to the quadraturist Marcantonio Chiarini. All around were residential and representative rooms, in which today the collections Baroque and turn of the century (around 1900) and Vienna Secessionto be shown. Here also parts of the legendary library as well as the painting collection of the prince Eugen were accommodated. The chapel also contains frescoes by Carlone, the altarpiece by Francesco Solimena.
The stones used are Sankt Margarethener Stein, Eggenburger Stein (today called Zogelsdorfer Stein), solid Kaiserstein from Kaisersteinbruch, Mannersdorfer Stein, Oolithic Limestone (Jura) from Savonnières in Lorraine, Adnet Limestone (Lienbacher Stein) and also Kunstmarmor. In the Sala Terrena, the atlases consist of Zogelsdorfer Stein, the plinths of Kaiserstein.
The magnificent staircase
The magnificent staircase from Zogelsdorfer Stein has a rich decoration of leaves and bandage combined with cartouches and emblems. The steps are made of imperial stone with intense blue inclusions, the bottom plates on the middle heel are made of Mannersdorf stone and the putti of Savonnières limestone. These are referred to as (Theodor) Friedl, a sculptor of the 19th century. It is noteworthy that this staircase was open on both sides. It was not until 1904, when converted to the residence of the heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand, that it received a lock in the form of glazed doors and windows.
The State Hall
The State Hall (Marble Hall) is dominated by Adnet marble (Lienbacher stone) and also by art marble. Hofsteinmetzmeister Elias Hügel led this order in Kaisersteinbruch, to the building were added the stone carvings for the wells with the cascade in the garden. The masters of the Brotherhood Johann Paul Schilck, Johann Baptist Kral, Simon Sasslaber, Joseph Winkler and Franz Trumler worked in camaraderie.
Uses after Prince Eugen
Anna Viktoria sold the entire Belvedere area in 1752 to Empress Maria Theresia, ruler of the Habsburg monarchy from 1740 to 1780. She transferred the original private purchase in 1754 to the kk Ärar, ie the state property, but retained her family’s decision on the use (Hofärar). Maria Theresa’s son Joseph II, then co-regent, had 1775-1777 transfer the previously stored in the stable castle imperial picture gallery in the Upper Belvedere, which since 1890 in the then newly built Kunsthistorisches Museumlocated. The courtier, including the Belvedere, became the property of the Republic proclaimed on that day on November 12, 1918.
Heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand
After four years of vacancy last resided and worked here last 1894-1914, after his undertaken with a large entourage around the world, provided by the Emperor with this seat, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, since 1896 heir to the throne, who was murdered in 1914. In April 1894, Franz Ferdinand exhibited more than 18,000 ethnographic objects on his trip around the world in the Belvedere. The negotiable of the Most High Command asked Crown Prince and General spoke at the Lower Belvedere from 1899 to his military firm that reached its official peak when Franz Ferdinand in 1913 by I. Franz Joseph to the Inspector General of the entire armed forceswas appointed. In the last decade of Emperor Franz Joseph I. high government officials felt the Belvedere Franz Ferdinand as by government, which could not be ignored, as the heir to the throne was known as a very critical mind and could be very harsh. The members of this military chancellery were busy preparing for the future reign of the heir to the throne. Since these officers did not always follow the attitude of Emperor Franz Joseph I, there was cause for criticism. The allegiance of the heir to his uncle in question, however, could not be proven.
From his marriage, 1900, the heir to the throne and his incomparable wife, Princess Sophie von Hohenberg, Duchess since 1909, and the children born in 1901, 1902 and 1904 Sophie, Max and Ernst lived in the Upper Belvedere, if the family did not live in their own Castle Konopischt in Bohemia. Franz Ferdinand enjoyed family life, since at home the court ceremonial separating him and his wife had no influence.
After the murder of their parents in Sarajevo, the children had to leave the Belvedere. From 30 November to 5 December 1914, the inventory of the estate was carried out. The new heir to the throne, Archduke Karl Franz Joseph, made no claims concerning the castle. It was not until 1917 that Archduke Maximilian Eugen, the brother of Emperor Karl, moved in with his family. In the course of all remaining in Belvedere private objects of Franz Ferdinand’s family were in it Artstetten brought and deposited there temporarily. Therefore, they are not 1918/1919, as all the holdings in Franz Ferdinand’s castle Konopischtfallen in Bohemia, expropriation victim and represent a large part of the fundus of today’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand Museum.
Since the composer Anton Bruckner had to fight in his last years with mobility problems and could not climb stairs, enabled him Emperor Franz Joseph I. 1895 to move into an apartment in the Belvedere. These were rooms in the ground floor custody tract south of the Upper Belvedere, the so-called Kustodenstöckl in the Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27. Bruckner died here on October 11, 1896.
Official residence of the dictatorship
The dictatorial ruling Chancellor of the “Estates State”, Kurt Schuschnigg, lived until 1938 in a service apartment in the Upper Belvedere, after the “Anschluss” to Nazi Germany in March 1938 under house arrest, supervised by the Gestapo before he was arrested.
Austrian Gallery Belvedere
Republican Austria uses the Upper Belvedere for its Austrian Gallery Belvedere. To this day, the castle is the main building of this federal museum, which was extended in 2013 to 2017 to the state rooms in the city or winter palace. The museum describes itself briefly as Belvedere.
State Treaty 1955
The signing of the State Treaty, which freed Austria from occupation powers and other sovereignty restrictions in 1955, took place on 15 May 1955 in the Marble Hall of the Upper Belvedere. The weekly view of the huge crowd that waited in the Belvedere for the signing of contract signers on the balcony of the castle and burst into cheers, as Foreign Minister Leopold Figl lifted the signed contract into the height, is one of the icons of Austrian contemporary history. Figl’s famous words “Austria is free!” Did not fall on the balcony, on which no public address system was available, but earlier immediately after the performance of the signatures in the marble hall.
Due to the high level of popularity of the Belvedere, a new district adjacent to the Belvedere area to the southwest, whose construction began around 2010, is called the Belvedere Quarter. It is located around the new Vienna Central Station in the 10th district of Vienna, which was partly commissioned in 2012 and in 2015. The former Südbahnhof S-Bahn station was renamed Wien Quartier Belvedere on December 9, 2012.