The Belvedere. Genesis of a Museum
The history of both Belvedere Castles is not only inextricably linked with its builder´s personality, Prince Eugene of Savoy-Carignan-Soissons, one of the greatest generals of Austrian history, but also with the ruling dynasty of the Habsburgs. Because Maria Theresa succeeded to acquire the magnificent castle complex, after many years of efforts, in 1752 from Victoria of Savoy, the heiress to the childless Prince, who died in 1736. She and her son, Kaiser Joseph II, chose subsequently the Belvedere as the worthy setting for the presentation of the imperial gallery. Later the Belvedere became the residence of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne. From this time on remained the baroque ensemble closely linked to Austria´s eventful history and in 1955 became the site of one state political event, the signing of the Austrian Independence Treaty. 13 contributions on art and architecture history shed light on the history of the museum and its collections up to the beginning of the 20th century, including structural changes and redesign of the garden.