Belvedere Palace and Museum: A World-Class Art Collection in an Aristocratic Utopia

Belvedere Palace and Museum: A World-Class Art Collection in an Aristocratic Utopia

Belvedere-Palace-and-Museum-2The Belvedere complex is an architectural masterpiece of a bygone aristocratic splendor designed to project a sense of earthly harmony. This terrestrial utopia was founded in the first decades of the 18th c. as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, the commander-in-chief of the Austrian army and one of the most successful military commanders in modern European history. Among the most significant buildings of the 18th c., the grandiose palace of the Upper Belvedere is a masterstroke of Baroque architecture while the surrounding formal gardens were inspired by classical antiquity. The great water basin in the upper parterre, the tiered fountains and cascades peopled by nymphs and goddesses, the marble statues of gods and heroes, the intricacy of the wrought iron gates still testify to the legacy of Eugene’s significant patronage of the arts.

Against this backdrop, the prince’s private apartments eloquently illustrate the taste of the owner and the artistic achievements of his time. In the Upper Belvedere, your guide will help you to explore the Baroque elements of the Festive room, while in the Lower Belvedere, we’ll discuss the art historical features of the Marble Hall, the Marble Gallery and the Gold Cabinet.

Belvedere-Palace-and-Museum-3After Eugene’s death, the complex continued to play a significant cultural role in Austrian history. Inspired by the idea of enlightened absolutism the Belvedere became one of the first public museums in the world with the intention to make the Habsburgs’ imperial collection accessible to the general public. Today the Belvedere Museum exhibits a world-class compilation of Austrian and international painting from the Middle Ages to the present day, including precious items of the Austrian National Gallery: masterpieces by Jacques Louis David, Caspar David Friedrich, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Giuseppe Segantini and Vincent van Gogh.

Belvedere-Palace-and-Museum-4After the 2 hour excursion to the grounds and palaces, your guide will give you an introductory hour to point out the Art Museum’s highlights: David’s well-known canvas “Napoleon on The Great St. Bernhard Pass” (1801), where propagandistic pathos melds with the artist’s fiery boldness. In a different way, Caspar David Friedrich’s atmospheric “Seashore in the Fog” combines romantic introspection with metaphysical symbolism in a sensitively, precisely painted maritime landscape. Austrian painting in the era of Biedermeier is represented by Friedrich von Amerling’s emotive rendering of familial affection in “Rudolf von Arthaber and his Children” (1837) and by Friedrich Waldmüller’s “The Morning of Corpus Christi” (1857), where the realistic reproduction of sunlight is the major compositional means of demonstrating the sacred on earth.

Last but not least, the museum boasts some of Gustav Klimt’s most acclaimed paintings: works from his golden period: “The Kiss,” “Judith,” landscapes from the Attersee series and sophisticated portraits of high society ladies. As a counterpoint, the dramatic and contorted style of Klimt’s younger colleague, Egon Schiele (also on display) evokes the unfolding trauma of the First World War in a profoundly autobiographical manner.

ProkschChristine Proksch holds a BA in Cultural Journalism and a MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Copenhagen. She finished with a Master about the Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler. In order to dig deeper into her favourite topic, Austrian Literature around 1900, she studied German and Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna and fell deeply in love with the city and the vast cultural landscape. Since 1998 she has lived permanently in the city.. Today she mainly works as a cultural journalist reporting to Danish Medias about the cultural life in Central Europe. She has also written the most sold Vienna guide and guide to Austria in Denmark.
SmithNicholas Smith is an American who moved his life to Vienna after marrying an Austrian. He is in the last year of completing his MA in Journalism from Columbia University in New York City while also freelancing writing articles on Vienna history, arts and culture for The Vienna Review (the largest and most distinguished English language newspaper in Austria).
OconnorStephen O’Connor earned his PhD in Military History at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He is passionate about recounting the many ferocious battles waged over Vienna from Roman times through the Ottomon Threat, Napoleon, the Hapsburgs, and of course, the global wars of the 20th century. In fact, he is as passionate as most Irishmen are deemed to be at recounting a good tale of any kind, but particularly those that have to do with the fascinating history, arts and culture of the Vienna he moved to and fell in love with along with the Austrian who he married there. He presently works as a teacher of English for Viennese professionals.
JaleAkcilJale Akcil Born in Istanbul, Jale Akcil has been living for 33 years in Vienna and considers herself a great appreciator of her adopted city and its culture. In addition to obtaining her MA in History and Art History from of the University of Vienna, she attended more than 8 years of training at the conservatory as a pianist. Having worked in various roles in the field of tourism for 25 years, she decided to become a licensed guide in order to spend more of her time sharing her own passions for literature, architecture, art and travel.

 

Additional Costs:


Upper Belvedere
Lower Belvedere & Orangery
Individual: €26, students & seniors €22  

 

Please remember to wait until the beginning of your walk to purchase your tickets for the Belvedere in the company of your guide. There will be no long lines to get your special admission ticket for a guided visit because you have a reserved tour.  

 

Starting Location:
Belvedere Palace
Prinz Eugen-Street
1030 Vienna, Austria
 

 

Groups of over 10 should contact us at [email protected] in order to get a special rate for their party.

Cancellation and Tipping


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