Belvedere Palace was the summer palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy, one of Austria’s most famous generals. Even though he originally had French nationality, Prinz Eugen, as he is named in Austria, ascended from being a simple lieutenant to become a powerful general and Minister of State. He served three emperors and is considered a brilliant strategic and military leader who defeated the Ottoman Empire (Turkish Empire). He actually saved the Habsburg Empire.
Prince Eugene took good care of himself and used his accumulated capital to build seven palaces, of which Belvedere is the most famous one. Belvedere consists of two separate palaces which are surrounded by a wonderful park. Today, in the “Lower Belvedere”, which formerly served as a living area, you can regularly visit temporary exhibitions. In the “Upper Belvedere”, which was originally built for representation purposes, the Austrian declaration of independence was signed in 1955, ten years after the end of WWII.
Today, the Upper Belvedere is an impressive museum with sculptures and paintings from different eras that are well worth seeing. It houses the largest collection of works by the famous Art Nouveau painter Gustav Klimt (among others, the famous “the Kiss”) as well as of other painters who lived in the late 19th century (e.g. Van Gogh, the expressionist Egon Schiele, etc.). But much more can be seen in this beautiful museum. The character heads by Messerschmidt, for example, are extraordinarily interesting – sculptures of heads that are bursting with emotions and expressions. In addition you can find a significant collection of medieval, baroque, Biedermeier and modern art.
I will lead you through the section of the exhibition chosen by you (viewing the complete art collection would be a bit too much in a few hours); you will not only be given extensive information about the background of the works but also the interpretations that have developed.
Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours
(Admission not included in the tour price)