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The Belvedere Vienna

Vienna’s stunning Belvedere Palace houses the world’s largest collection of paintings by Klimt

 © WienTourismus/Hertha Hurnaus

Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), successful general and art connoisseur, had built the Belvedere garden palace as his summer residence – at the time it was still outside the gates of the city Vienna. This baroque architectural jewel consists of two palaces (Upper and Lower Belvedere) and a stunning baroque garden in between.

Today, the palace grounds houses Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day and has become an art complex in its own right. The Upper Belvedere houses the world's largest Klimt collection, and at the heart of this collections are his golden paintings "The Kiss" and "Judith".

Masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka as well as works of French Impressionism and highlights of the Vienna Biedermeier era (Waldmüller, Amerling, Fendi) complement the exhibition and are every bit as impressive as the paintings of Makart, Boeckl, Wotruba, Hausner, Hundertwasser and others. The Lower Belvedere houses Prince Eugene’s apartments and staterooms. The feudal splendor of the palace’s aristocratic owner is reflected in the Hall of Grotesques, the Marble Gallery, and the Golden Room.

Intriguing special exhibitions are staged in the Lower Belvedere and the Orangery. The Palace Stables  used to accommodate the personal horses of Prince Eugene. Now it houses some 150 objects of sacred medieval art, integrating with the Baroque ambience in a compelling fashion. Arranged according to specific themes, the display includes masterpieces of panel painting, sculpture, and Gothic triptychs.  The Palace Gardens is one of Vienna’s most beautiful baroque garden. Starting at the Lower Belvedere, the layout unfolds in strict symmetry along a central axis to the prestige building of the Upper Belvedere. The whole concept accords with the French model, stereo metrically arranged trees and hedges, sculpture, and fountains and cascades. Next to the Orangerie, which still exists today, there was an aviary and a menagerie.

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