Lower Belvedere

Rennweg 6
1030 Wien

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The Lower Belvedere
The Lower Belvedere housed - besides living rooms for Prince Eugen - art, antiques and a library.
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The Lower Belvedere houses exhibitions that present austrian Art within an international context.
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Lower Belvedere

Lower Belvedere © Belvedere, Vienna
Palace Gardens by night © Ian Ehm
Lower Belvedere, Marble Hall © Margherita Spiluttini
Lower Belvedere, Marble Gallery © Belvedere, Vienna
Lower Belvedere, Grotesque Hall © Belvedere, Vienna
Lower Belvedere, Gold Cabinet © Belvedere, Vienna

 

The construction work of the Lower Belvedere lasted from 1712 till 1716. The architect was Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt, who built several buildings for Prince Eugen and was the most important Austrian baroque architect together with Johann Bernhard Fischer. 

 

The entrance leads through the middle gate emblazoned with arms and initials into the Ehrenhof and from there into the Marble Hall originally. The Lower Belvedere served as a residential palace whereas the Upper Belvedere served for representative purposes in particular. Besides this, the Lower Belvedere also held parts of the princes’ collections.

 

The two-storey Marble Hall of the lower Belvedere originally served as a place for representative welcoming of guests. The wall structuring has been borrowed from the triumphal arch architecture and refers to the big successes of Eugen as an imperial commander through his war trophies and prisoners. The oval shaped plaster medallions with scenes from the life of Apollo are reminiscent of the aesthetic interests of the Prince. The ceiling fresco of Martino Altomonte shows Apollo in a solar vehicle and Eugen while receiving papal awards. These were actually given to him as a result of his achievements in the battle of Peterwardein in 1716.

 

The Marble Gallery was most probably planned to keep and present the three Herculaners. The antique statues were placed in the second, fourth and sixth niches whereas the remaining statues of strongly moved figures are works of the baroque sculptor Domenico Parodi. In 1736, the Herculaners were sold in Dresden and replaced by three other sculptures of Parodi. Here too, the trophies of war stuccoed onto the walls refer to the military successes of Prince Eugen, whose apotheosis is presented in the stucco relief on the ceiling: He is enthroned well armed in centerfield and receives awards, whereas hatred and envy are dispelled from peace 

 

The decoration of the ‘‘Sale terrene’’ and the garden pavilion with grotesque painting on the walls and the ceiling was very popular in Vienna in the first third part of the 18th century. Jonas Drentwett, who originated from Augsburg, presented the four seasons and the four elements in the corner of the ceiling of the grotesque hall in the Lower Belvedere. The windowless walls show the ‘‘forge of the volcano’’ as well as three graces through which the principles of men and women are embodied. The paintings have mostly been preserved in their original state. A bomb strike on the side pointing towards the chamber garden in 1945 made it necessary however to carry out restoration work.
 

Originally, a conversation room with wall covering made of silk painted with trees branches and birds was located adjacent to the marble gallery. Under Maria Theresia, the renovation of this room into a gold cabinet (or mirror and porcelain cabinet) also took place in course of the adaptations carried out in the Lower Belvedere. The designed components for this originated from the city palace of Prince Eugen at Himmelpfortgasse and were complemented for the Lower Belvedere accordingly. It is assumed that the gold cabinet presented itself with its new appearance already in 1765.

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