Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), a successful general and art lover, had the Belvedere garden palace built by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt as a summer residence. The overall Baroque artwork consists of two palaces (Upper and Lower Belvedere), which are now home to Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day, such as the world's biggest collection of art by Klimt.
The Belvedere is not only a magnificent Baroque palace but also houses one of Austria's most valuable art collections – with key works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.
Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), successful general and art connoisseur, had Belvedere garden palace built by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt as his summer residence – at the time it was still outside the gates of the city.
This baroque architectural jewel consists of two palaces (Upper and Lower Belvedere), which today house Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Upper Belvedere - World's biggest Klimt collection and "The Kiss"
The heart of the Belvedere collection is formed by the 24 paintings of Gustav Klimt with his golden images "The Kiss" and "Judith". Klimt's "The Kiss" in particular is world-famous. The 180 x 180 cm painting was created in 1908/09 and shows Klimt and his friend Emilie Flöge as a couple in love. "The Kiss" is probably Austria's most famous work of art. Klimt's portraits of women also impress and be marveled at in the Upper Belvedere.
Masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka as well as works of French Impressionism and highlights of the Viennese Biedermeier period (Waldmüller, Amerling, Fendi) can also be seen here, as can paintings by Makart, Boeckl, Wotruba, Hausner, Hundertwasser, etc. Of course, the Belvedere is also home to numerous artworks of earlier periods: Masterpieces of the Late Gothic period, such as the Znaimer Altar, are presented here alongside opulent works of the Baroque era.
Lower Belvedere and Baroque garden
While the Upper Belvedere was all about representation, the Lower Belvedere acted as the residential palace of Prince Eugene. The lavish splendor of the owner is reflected in the Groteskensaal (Hall of the Grotesque), the Marble Gallery and the Golden Room. Special exhibitions are held in the Lower Belvedere and the Orangery. Nowadays, medieval art can be marveled at in the sables where the prince's horses once stood.
The gardens of the Belvedere are a highlight of Baroque landscape architecture. A reflecting pool was created in front of the place, in which the building's façade is reflected. The large terraces with ponds connect the Upper to the Lower Belvedere. The Kammergarten was originally reserved only for the man of the house and his closest associates. The Alpine Garden in the palace park is the oldest in Europe.
Children can learn about the world of paintings in a creative and playful way at the Belvedere.
Regular family programs take you back in time to the Middle Ages, reveal the inspiration behind Gustav Klimt's golden paintings or lift the lid on the backstory to the latest special exhibition.
At the 200 m² children's studio at Lower Belvedere, children can engage in imaginative contemplation about art as well as learn how making art actually happens. They can draw, paint, experiment, dance, and act to their hearts’ content. (For children aged 3-12, by appointment: tel. 795 57-134, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kids aged 6 to 12 can set off on their own journey of discovery through the Belvedere’s masterpieces with a junior gallery trail: twenty pages packed with puzzles and games. The museum detective is available for free in German or English at the Upper Belvedere’s ticket desk.
The Belvedere 21, which is dedicated to Austrian art of the 20th and 21st centuries, offers a diverse program for young museum fans. It regularly organizes playful children’s guided tours and exciting workshops at weekends and on Wednesday afternoons about contemporary art, photography, architecture, book art, prints, and nature. Sensory materials, teamwork, and riddle rallies transform the children’s visit into an adventure. Children can be creative themselves in the studio: they will print and stamp, cut and stick, mould and paint, photograph and laugh.