Friday, August 19, 2011

Vienna: the Belvedere

After the military history museum, we headed over to the Schloss Belvedere, which was originally built for Prince Eugene of Savoy as his summer residence. The Upper Belvedere looks stunning reflected in its lake.

It was originally built to house the prince’s art collection, but Franz Ferdinand lived there from 1894 to 1914. It became the city’s art gallery after the First World War. The gardens look down to the Lower Belvedere.

Much of the present-day collection was a bit modern for my taste, but two pictures really caught my eye: Egon Schiele’s ‘Four Trees’ (1917 – it looks really orangey on reproductions I’ve seen on the net, but the real thing is more reddish-purple and much prettier)

and Ludwig von Hoffman’s ‘Sunset over the sea’ 1898.

The gardens looked amazing from the upper floors of the Belvedere, with great views over Vienna itself.

In the Upper Belvedere, I really liked the Marble Hall. This was where the treaty was signed in 1955 to end the Allied occupation of Austria.

We strolled down through the gardens and past the fountain.

And then we reached the Lower Belvedere.

There was more art, plus three of the prince’s state rooms. I really liked the Golden Room, which was basically a hall of mirrors.

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