Northeast rooms, Schönbrunn Palace

The interiors of the castle not only served as the residence of the imperial family, but were also built for representation purposes and were the scene of countless celebrations and ceremonies that symbolized and strengthened the prestige of the monarchy. For this purpose, many well-known artists and renowned craftsmen were appointed, who furnished the rooms with the highest elegance of the time. The styles range from the Baroque to the Rococo, the Biedermeier and styles of the Wilhelminian era, which, however, on the whole form a harmonious ensemble.

The apartments of Crown Prince Rudolf are located in the eastern and southeastern area. The six rooms were furnished in 1864 as an apartment for the then six-year crown prince. Between 1774 and 1778 four of these six rooms were furnished with exotic landscape paintings by Bergl and his workshop.

Bergl covered all the walls and ceilings with colorful landscape paintings populated by strange animals and birds. However, this world is not untouched, but integrated into human conceptions through arcades, balustrades, and rococo vases. In this respect, the baroque palace park reaches into the rooms outside. Bergl’s frescoes are based on in-depth nature studies, which he perhaps even made in the park and the orangery of the castle.

Writing room and salon Franz Karls
This room and the adjoining salon were inhabited from 1835 to 1878 by Archduke Franz Karl, the father of Emperor Franz Joseph. Then they received a redesign in the typical white-gold-red chord of the Viennese court with a white gold paneling and wall coverings with red court damask. They served as representation spaces until the end of the monarchy.

The paintings in the former writing room bring us back one last time to the time of Maria Theresa. The famous family portrait of Martin van Meytens and his workshop shows Emperor Franz Stephan, Maria Theresia and eleven of their sixteen children on the Schoenbrunn Palace Terrace.

Other paintings include Elisabeth Christine, the mother of Maria Theresa, her sister Maria Anna and her husband Alexander von Lorraine, who was also the brother of Franz I Stephans, and Countess Fuchs, the educator Maria Theresias.

The exhibited watercolors and gouaches – among them the famous “Nikolobescherung” and “Joseph am Wochenbett” – are part of the
artistic oeuvre of the children and children-in-law of Maria Theresa; they are primarily works by Marie Christine, the artistically most talented daughter.

Salon Franz Karl – restoration
The eponymous drawing room was occupied by Archduke Franz Karl, the father of Emperor Franz Joseph, until his death in 1878. The room was given a new look two years later, during which the walls above the pedestal zone (parapet) were scored with court damask. The furniture with white gold furniture should correspond to the use as a representation room of the Viennese court. In addition to a number of seating arrangements and console tables, large-format portraits are also part of the salon’s equipment, showing children of Empress Maria Theresa.

The current restoration, modeled on the historical room frame from 1880, includes the covering of the wall panels with the reconstructed court damask, the restoration of the mounted parapet and window palings in white gold and the stucco ceiling.

Rich room
So far it has always been said that in this room in 1830 Emperor Franz Joseph was born. According to recent sources, however, the north-facing rooms were inhabited until 1835 by the heir to the throne Ferdinand and Maria Anna. Until then, only the Enfilade along the eastern side of the castle was available to Franz Joseph’s parents.

The green paper wallpaper with printed leaf decoration uncovered in the planning for the museum presentation of the so-called rich room dates from around 1830, when this room served as a bedroom for Ferdinand and Maria Anna.

Today, the only surviving parade bed of the Viennese court is exhibited here. It was completed at the time of the marriage of Maria Theresia and was originally in the apartment of the Empress in the Leopoldin tract of the Vienna Hofburg. To this magnificent red velvet bed with precious gold embroideryalso include the wall coverings with embroidered architectural elements. Until 1947, the parade bed was located in the so-called “rich room” in the Hofburg, until it had to be dismantled and deposited because of its use as a presidential office. On the occasion of the Maria Theresa exhibition in 1980, the magnificent bed was set up in Schönbrunn. Twenty years later, it was subjected to extensive restoration and a new museum presentation. The room was converted into a kind of room display case in order to ensure the greatest possible protection for the sumptuous but very sensitive textile ensemble.

The east terrace cabinet
The eastern terrace cabinet, which has been called among other things as a flower cabinet since 1775 due to its flower garland wall paneling, located on the Ehrenhofseite of the castle and allowed the members of the imperial family access to a terrace above the arcades, which delimit the courtyard.

The room is equipped with a remarkable ceiling fresco. The pseudo-architecture painted around 1770 shows in the typically delicate colors of the Rococo the view into a sky populated by playing putti.

The painting of the wood paneling was probably carried out at the same time by Johann Zagelmann.

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace (German: Schloss Schönbrunn) is a former imperial summer residence located in Vienna, Austria. The 1,441-room Baroque palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country. Since the mid-1950s it has been a major tourist attraction. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans over 300 years, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.

In 1569, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II purchased a large floodplain of the Wien river beneath a hill, situated between Meidling and Hietzing, where a former owner, in 1548, had erected a mansion called Katterburg. The emperor ordered the area to be fenced and put game there such as pheasants, ducks, deer and boar, in order for it to serve as the court’s recreational hunting ground. In a small separate part of the area, “exotic” birds such as turkeys and peafowl were kept. Fishponds were also built.

The name Schönbrunn (meaning “beautiful spring”), has its roots in an artesian well from which water was consumed by the court.

During the next century, the area was used as a hunting and recreation ground. Eleonora Gonzaga, who loved hunting, spent much time there and was bequeathed the area as her widow’s residence after the death of her husband, Ferdinand II. From 1638 to 1643, she added a palace to the Katterburg mansion, while in 1642 came the first mention of the name “Schönbrunn” on an invoice. The origins of the Schönbrunn orangery seem to go back to Eleonora Gonzaga as well. The Schönbrunn Palace in its present form was built and remodelled during the 1740–50s during the reign of empress Maria Theresa who received the estate as a wedding gift. Franz I commissioned the redecoration of the palace exterior in the neoclassical style as it appears today.

Franz Joseph, the longest-reigning emperor of Austria, was born at Schönbrunn and spent a great deal of his life there. He died there, at the age of 86, on 21 November 1916. Following the downfall of the Habsburg monarchy in November 1918, the palace became the property of the newly founded Austrian Republic and was preserved as a museum.

After World War II and during the Allied Occupation of Austria (1945—55), Schönbrunn Palace was requisitioned to provide offices for both the British Delegation to the Allied Commission for Austria, and for the headquarters for the small British Military Garrison present in Vienna. With the reestablishment of the Austrian republic in 1955, the palace once again became a museum. It is still sometimes used for important events such as the meeting between U.S. president John F. Kennedy and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1961.

Since 1992 the palace and gardens have been owned and administered by the Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur-und Betriebsges.m.b.H., a limited-liability company wholly owned by the Republic of Austria. The company conducts preservation and restoration of all palace properties without state subsidies. UNESCO catalogued Schönbrunn Palace on the World Heritage List in 1996, together with its gardens, as a remarkable Baroque ensemble and example of synthesis of the arts (Gesamtkunstwerk).