Southeastern 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.

Decoration covered all the walls and ceilings with colorful landscape paintings populated by strange animals and birds, integrated into human conceptions through arcades, balustrades, and rococo vases. In this respect, the baroque palace park reaches into the rooms outside.

The ceremonial hall
The ceremonial hall served not only as a second or large antecamera in front of the apartment of Emperor Franz Stephan, but also as a ballroom for family events such as baptisms, birthdays and feast days, for wedding ceremonies of aristocratic court staff and for Hoftafeln. From here, the imperial family could also enter the oratory of the castle chapel to attend the Mass.

Dated around 1755, the magnificent rocaille decoration adds an extra boost to the sculptural ornaments in the vaulted zone. The gilded stucco decoration on the white-paneled walls is as in the Great Gallery of Albert Bolla, the former designation as “Battagliensaal” refers in the vaulting zone decoration in the form of spears, trophies, flags and other war tools, presenting the power of the monarchy.

The ceremonial hall is characterized mainly by the monumental paintings commissioned by Maria Theresia. The cycle of images represents a significant political-social as well as family event, namely the marriage of the heir to the throne Joseph with Isabella of Parma from the French royal house of the Bourbons in 1760.

Like most children’s marriages, this marriage was a political move by Maria Theresa to put France on the side of Austria. The largest painting in this series represents the entry of the Bourbon princess and granddaughter of Louis XV. The other pictures show the wedding in the Augustinian Hofkirche, the court table in the large anti-camera of the Hofburg, the supper and the serenade in the Redoutensaal.

Noteworthy is the attention to detail in the buildings, the people and their clothing to the tableware.
The most famous of all the portraits of Maria Theresa, which shows the monarch in a precious Brabant lace dress, is probably inserted in this painting cycle.

Iby, Elfriede. The marriage of Habsburg and Bourbon – a successful diplomatic mission. In: Yearbook of the Society for the Study of the 18th Century (OG 18). Volume 30 Bochum 2016

Blue Chinese Salon
The Blue Chinese Salon served as the council chamber of Emperor Franz I. Stephan. The eponymous Chinese paper wallpapers with floral motifs on a yellow background are probably already the first equipment as council room Franz I assign, as well as the walnut paneling.

The current furniture in the style of Louis Seize was reconstructed after a source from the mid-19th century.

Here on November 11, 1918, those negotiations took place, which led to the renunciation of the government of Emperor Charles I , the last Austrian emperor. The day after the Republic of Austria was proclaimed and thus ended the history of Schönbrunn as imperial residence.

The Vieux Laque room
The Vieux Laque room was the study (Retirade) of Franz I Stephans. After his sudden death in 1765, it was remodeled on behalf of Maria Theresa as a memory room.

The precious and expensive black lacquer panels from the imperial factory in Beijing , which were used in the walnut paneling, probably stem from a design by the architect Isidor Canevale.
Originally designed as screens for the European market, the paint panels were cut and inserted into the walnut paneling. The transition from rococo to early classicism is already foretelling in the lines of the frame décor .

Maria Theresa also commissioned several portraits for this arrangement: the posthumously painted painting of her husband by Pompeo Batoni, dated 1769, another by Battoni, depicting the sons of Joseph and Leopold in Rome, and Anton von Maron, on the Maria Ludovika , the wife of Leopold, depicted with three of her children.

The Napoleon room
Today’s Napoleon Room served since 1746 as a common bedroom for Franz I. Stephan and Maria Theresa. In the 19th century it received several times a new equipment, as the exposures in the course of restorations in 2007 showed.

On the occasion of the Vienna World’s Fair in 1873 , the large wall panels between the walnut paneling were trimmed with important Brussels tapestries , which today require a museum presentation for conservational reasons and can no longer be used as wall coverings. The individual equipment phases are presented in fragments and presented in a museum-like manner.

When Napoleon occupied Vienna in 1805 and 1809, he chose Schönbrunn as headquarters. During this time he probably used this room as a bedroom .
Through his marriage with Marie Louise, the daughter of Emperor Franz II / I in 1810, the peace between the two rulers was to be sealed. Out of this union a son, the Duke of Reichstadt, emerged. After the defeat and abdication of Napoleon Marie Louise brought the two-year-old boy to Vienna, where he grew up well-guarded at the court of his grandfather. As a favorite of the grandfather, he shared his interest in botany.

The portrait shows him as a small gardener in the Laxenburg Palace Park. The young Duke died in 1832 at the age of 21 years of tuberculosis. The death mask and his beloved pet, a crested lark, are reminiscent of this only legitimate son of Napoleon Bonaparte .

The porcelain room
The so-called porcelain room received as a study Maria Theresa around 1763 its still existing equipment. As a typical chinoise equipment, the wood paneling as well as the blue and white painted wooden carved framework should imitate porcelain, which was very popular in the 18th century.

Integrated in the wood paneling are 213 daintily framed blue gouaches executed by the children of the emperors Franz I of Lorraine and Maria Theresa according to the designs of the French artists François Boucher and Jean Pillement.

In the course of the restoration in 2013 , the surfaces of the wood paneling and carving decorations were cleaned to restore the porcelain-like impression of the room ensemble to its original quality.

For a while, conservatory reasons have not restored the blue-eyed snouts, which until now have mistakenly been referred to as Tuschzeichnungen, but have subjected them to longer-term monitoring. A gentle process is to be developed in order to be able to treat the strong browning of the artwork in a targeted manner.

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).