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, and our guide will help you explore the Baroque elements of the Festive room in the Upper Belvedere.

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 including 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. The museum also boasts works of Jacques Louis David, Caspar David Friedrich, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Giuseppe Segantini and Vincent van Gogh.

Belvedere-Palace-and-Museum-4

After the 1 hour excursion to the grounds and palaces, your guide will give you an introductory 1.5 hour tour to point out the Art Museum’s highlights: besides Klimt’s great canvasses, David’s well-known “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.

If you wish to visit the Lower Belvedere’s temporary exhibition after your tour ends, you’ll want to purchase a combined ticket to both Upper and Lower Belvedere.

 

Ilse

Ilse Heigerth

Having obtained a Masters degree in Romance languages, and studied ethnology and journalism in the 1990s in Vienna as well, Ilse has served as the editor for numerous well-known Vienna-based writers.  Her interests have always been attracted to history, the arts and literature.  Born and raised in Salzburg, it is not a surprise that she also developed an early affinity for classical music, studying piano at an advanced level in Graz for 2 years.  She worked with the Sigmund Freud Museum for 3 years; and in 2013, after two and a half years of required training and study she became a licensed Austrian tour guide.  Ilse delights in sharing the fascinating history and culture of Vienna and Salzburg on a personal level, while enjoying cultural exchanges with visitors from all over the world.

 

Gilles Gubelmann

Art brought Gilles to Vienna for the first time, twenty years ago, where he works as a painter and a set designer for opera and theater productions. It was the perfect way, in Gilles’ words, to discover not only Vienna's rich cultural and artistic past as well as the splendors of baroque architecture, but also its soul, its fantastic classical, romantic or contemporary music production. Gilles specializes in guiding travelers through Vienna's history of music, visiting places where famous composers lived and worked or which they frequented. He also helps you discover the great Baroque palaces that crown the city or the hidden beauties of Vienna’s historical center, with its 2000 years of history, including the Viennese Secession, with its pivotal role in the development of modernism in art and culture globally.  

Reinhard Travnicek

Reinhard Travnicek studied literature, cultural science and pedagogy at the Universities of Salzburg, Graz and Vienna. He earned his PhD with a thesis about Henri Michaux and French post-surrealistic literature and art.  His published articles focus on literary criticism and cultural history. Since 1986, Reinhard began to work cultural tourism and cultural pedagogy. As a lecturer at the University of Graz, his main research topics are Italian and European Renaissance, Baroque and the Fin-de-siècle. At present, Reinhard is working on a study about late Italian Renaissance and the Counter Reformation. His research activities have always been very stimulating for his professional work as a cultural guide opening up the great city of Vienna and its history to travelers.

Katharina Ebner

Katharina Ebner was born in Vienna in a family of three generation Viennese. She holds a Master Degree in Art History and Cultural Studies, having studied at the University of Vienna and Rome. During her studies she has was involved in a research project focusing on the photographic representation of post-war Austrians. Since graduating with a thesis on the relationship between sounds and images in film (summa cum laude), she has been working in several fields of art and cultural production in Vienna, Rome and Amsterdam. She worked as program curator for a renowned Vienna Discussion Forum, gave tours through the collections of the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. As an independent art professional she has been involved in several international University projects, as well as writing texts for catalogues and works as an editor. She is closely associated with the Institute of Composition and Experimental Music at the University in Vienna, currently working on a research project on the history of the Institute. She has been giving talks and lectures internationally on the contemporary Viennese Art Scene as well as Film, Sound and Image relationships. Because Katharina shares a strong interest in the historical and contemporary cultural urban space, she also became a licensed tour guide, providing insightful tours through Vienna.  

Katharina Trost

Katharina Trost was born and raised in Vienna and earned an MA in History at the University of Vienna.  She gives a wealth of themed tours of her city, from the classic city tour to imperial history, music history, architecture and art nouveau, palaces, churches and cemeteries. She is well-known for her lively and specialized tours for children, which are interactive and allow kids to solve historical secrets while discovering Austria's capital.  

Gerti Schmidt

Gertraud Schmidt has a linguistics background. She decided to leave a successful career in translation to indulge her passion for history, architecture, art and culture.  After graduating summa cum laude from the two years of study to become a licenced Austria guide, she has become a involved member of the Vienna travel world, representing the Vienna Tourist Guides in the Chamber of Commerce/Association of Businesses in the Leisure Field in Vienna, as a member the Tourist Guide Training Department and as Vice Chair of the Board in the Chamber of Commerce/ Association of Businesses in the  Leisure Field in Vienna. She loves introducing travelers to Vienna’s rich history, its architecture and astonishing art collections. In her free time, she also serves as an expert lay judge at the provincial high court.  

 

Additional costs:
Upper Belvedere:
Individual: €15, students & seniors €12.50

If you wish to visit the Lower Belvedere's temporary exhibition after your tour ends, you'll want to purchase a combined ticket to both Upper and Lower Belvedere.
Upper & Lower Belvedere and Orangery:
Individual: €22, students & seniors €19
Please remember to wait until the beginning of your walk to purchase your tickets for the Belvedere in the company of your guide.  
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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