Saturday, July 27, 2013

Belevedere Palaces

Today was altogether incredible. I spent most of the day exploring the art of the Belvedere and then returning to see more works at the Albertina museum. The Belvedere's collection is incredible and most distinctive for its large number of master works by Gustav Klimt, the most famous of which is The Kiss.

The estate and palaces were built by Prince Eugene of Saxony who served as one of the Austrian empire's great generals and military strategists who waged successful campaigns against the Turks to the acclaim of the Austrian aristocracy and to great personal wealth. As a bachelor without heir, Eugene's estate passed on to family members who sold the land and all its buildings to the Hapsburgs. Maria Theresa renamed the estate Belevedere, or beautiful view. While certainly baroque, the estate possesses greater hominess and charm than the austere and lavish Schonbrunn.

Unfortunately, photography of the artwork is strictly forbidden, but I have some images of the palaces and grounds. In a word, it is simply magical and the art within the palaces is divine.

The Upper Belvedere palace

Lower Belvedere Fountain

The Marble Hall

The Golden Room, which dates from Maria Theresa's reign (when Antoinette was a young girl) and was used to display rare Chinese vases

Side view of the Lower Belveder palace from the Privy Garden

The Orangery (a temporary exhibition space)

Garden statues

View of the gardens, Lower Belvedere and the Vienna skyline from the second floor of the Upper Belvedere Palace ("Belvedere" means beautiful view)

Finally some blue skies and a sunny day!

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