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Art Diary

The Belvedere. 300 Years a Place of Art

25 November 2022

Celebrating 300 years since the construction of the Upper Belvedere in Vienna was completed, this exhibition (2 December–7 January 2024) looks back at how the building’s role has evolved since 1723. It was originally built as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, designed by the baroque architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt in the form of two palaces, known as the Lower and Upper Belvedere. In 1777, the Empress Maria Theresa opened the Imperial Picture Gallery in the Upper Belvedere to the public – making it one of the world’s first public museums, though it also continued to host important imperial events (including the wedding of Marie Antoinette to the future Louis XVI). The building was expanded in the 20th century to incorporate, in 1923, the Baroque Museum in the Lower Belvedere and a 19th-century gallery in the Upper Belvedere the following year. The exhibition also highlights the institution’s role first as a beneficiary of Nazi looting, and in later years as an agent in the effort toward the restitution of Nazi-looted works to their rightful owners.  Find out more from the Belvedere’s website. 

Preview belowView Apollo’s Art Diary here

Prince Eugene of Savoy as Commander (c. 1725–30), Johann Gottfried Auerbach. Photo: Johannes Stoll/Belvedere, Vienna

The Rich Glutton (1836), Josef Danhauser. Photo: Belvedere, Vienna

Vienna Revisited II (1948), Gerhart Frankl. Photo: Belvedere, Vienna

The Modern Gallery in 1903. Photo: Belvedere, Vienna