In 2007, this architectural jewel of the Baroque in the Lower Belvedere, where Prince Eugene of Savoy, the former landlord, accommodated his personal horses, was adapted as a show depot by the Berlin architects Kuehn Malvezzi. Today it is used as a place to provide new insights into medieval religious art. Focus exhibitions presenting current restoration projects and scientific findings related to exceptional works of art are installed here at regular intervals. With these additional facilities, the Belvedere has broken new ground in making its entire medieval holdings accessible to the public.
Today Prince Eugene’s Palace Stables accommodate a dense display of masterpieces of panel painting and sculpture, as well as Gothic polyptychs, including one of the earliest Austrian altarpieces of its kind: the Obervellach Altarpiece from c. 1400. Works by such well-known masters as Friedrich Pacher and Hans Klocker are installed side by side with numerous precious works by anonymous painters and sculptors. The presentation spans from a Romanesque Crucifix to the early sixteenth century, with a special focus on Late Gothic painting and sculpture.
The Medieval Treasury study collection makes it possible for visitors to closely examine the works and deal with them scientifically. Seminars, guided tours, and school programmes are aimed at creating a dialogue between visitors and experts. Both scholars and students are granted direct access to these unique objects of the collection for the first time.
Restoration in Public View: Rueland Frueauf the Elder
Within the framework of the largest public restoration project in the history of the Belvedere, visitors have a chance to look over the shoulder of a team of experts and experience on site how a masterpiece is being examined, conserved, restored, and scientifically analyzed. It was around 1490 and probably for the Cathedral or Saint Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg that Rueland Frueauf the Elder (1440/45–1507) created a polyptych, eight panels of which are now preserved in the Belvedere’s collection of medieval art. These outstanding works of Late Gothic art are now being restored for the first major Rueland Frueauf exhibition to be held at the Lower Belvedere in autumn 2015. Besides recovering and securing the stability of the paintings, the team undertakes the task of sensitively restoring the original aesthetic impact of the works in an extensive process. It is estimated that it will take our experts more than two years to complete this project. During this period of time, they will open the doors to their temporary workshop in the Upper Belvedere’s Octagon on two days a week.
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