Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), an accomplished general and art connoisseur, built the Belvedere garden palace as his summer residence. Today, the Belvedere is located in Vienna’s fourth district, but at the time of its construction, the location was still outside of the city gates. The Belvedere is one of the most important Baroque buildings in Austria. It actually consists of two palaces (Upper and Lower Belvedere) and a stunning baroque garden in between. From the upper Belvedere, you can enjoy stunning views of Vienna’s first district, which give the palace its name. Over the centuries, the palace complex has been home to many important personalities in Austria’s history. Today it houses Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The Upper Belvedere features the world's largest Klimt collection, with the golden paintings "The Kiss" and "Judith" as the highlights. Masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka, as well as works of French Impressionism and the Vienna Biedermeier era round out the exhibition. Prince Eugene’s apartments and staterooms are located at the Lower Belvedere. The feudal splendor of the palace’s aristocratic original owner is reflected in the Hall of Grotesques, the Marble Gallery, and the Golden Room. The Lower Belvedere and the Orangery are used mainly for temporary exhibitions, while the Palace Stables are now home to some 150 objects of sacred medieval art (Gothic triptychs, paintings, sculptures) that blend with the Baroque ambiance in a compelling fashion. The Palace Gardens are unfolding in strict symmetry along a central axis to the prestige building of the Upper Belvedere and features beautiful sculptures, fountains and cascades.
The Belvedere was Prince Eugene’s summer home, but during the cold season, he chose to reside at his Winter Palace in town. In October 2013, which marked Prince Eugene’s 350th birthday, the state rooms in his winter residence have been assigned a new use and were officially opened as fourth exhibition venue of the Belvedere. The beautiful Baroque interiors now showcase the collections of the Belvedere as well as contemporary works of national and international artists. And last but not least, the iconic 21er Haus just steps away from the Upper Belvedere shows Austrian contemporary art.
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