The Belvedere is one of the most striking and significant museums in the world and an absolute must-see for the visitor to Vienna. When the Imperial Collection was opened in the year 1781, the Upper Belvedere became one of the first museums in the world to be accessible to the public. Once at the centre of vineyards outside the gates of theimperial city of Vienna, Belvedere was the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who commissioned 2 both palaces. The Upper Belvedere – constructed between 1717 and1723 – is positioned on a hill and affords a captivating view of Vienna. The name Belvedere – ‘beautiful view’ – goes back to the times of Empress Maria Theresia in whose possession the ensemble of palace and grounds fell shortly after the death of Prince Eugene. Since the wellknown urban landscape painter or vedutista Bernardo Bellotto immortalised the view in his 18th century panorama, it became known as the famous ‘Belvedere view’.
World renowned masterpieces of Austrian art are on view here in astonishing numbers with paintings by, for instance, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh providingan international context. Alongside major works of the Middle Ages, the Baroque period and historicism, the Upper Belvedere houses the most important collection of Vienna Biedermeier, with numerous compositions by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Friedrich von Amerling and Josef Danhauser. The highlight of a collection featuring turn-of-the-century art is the largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings in the world, including the famedArt Nouveau icons, The Kiss and Judith I. At the other end of the extensive, gently sloping grounds of the park is the Lower Belvedere, constructed between 1714 and 1716. Intended as Prince Eugene’s private residence, the well-preserved state rooms such as the Marble Hall, Marble Gallery and Golden Room, the Orangery and the distinctive stables bear witnessto the splendour and savoir-vivre of Baroque times. The French landscape architect Dominique Girard designed the terraces and intricate ‘rooms’ of the palace gardens. Its numerous fountains, mythological sculptures, ornaments and flower beds provide the framework which connects the grounds of both palaces.
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