During the reign of Prince Eugene, the Upper Belvedere with its beautiful views across the city was used for prestige and display purposes. In the 1770s the building was adapted to house the Imperial Picture Gallery. Paintings were brought in from the Stallburg and the gallery was opened to the public. Today it mostly houses permanent displays that showcase the Belvedere collection.
The Lower Belvedere was constructed between 1712 and 1716. Access to the Lower Belvedere was through a central gate embellished with the coat of arms and the entrance then led directly into the Marble Hall. While the Upper Belvedere was used to display wealth and prestige, the Lower Belvedere was primarily a residence. Part of Prince Eugene’s collections of art was housed in this building.
The original purpose of the Orangery was as a winter garden, it could be heated when required or in the summer months the roof and south façade could be removed. The orange trees were able to remain in place whatever the weather. Although such buildings were used in Italy and Germany from the 16th century, the assembly and dismantling of the structures was a very laborious task. The design of the Belvedere Orangery however was a clever but simple method using sliding contraptions. In 1805, a false ceiling was installed to replace the sliding roof. From 1918, the Orangery was used to house the Moderne Galerie and from 1953 until 2007 it was used as the Museum of Medieval Art. In 2007 a modern white cube space was designed by Susanne Zottl for exhibitions held here.
The Palace stables were not adapted into their present use until 2007. The exhibits on display here compliment the permanent displays that feature Gothic masterpieces in the Upper Belvedere. Apart from a few exhibits that cannot be exhibited the entire collection is now on show.
Herbert Boekl is one of Austria’s chief artists known for modernism. His studio in Vienna’s 4th district has belonged to the Belvedere since 2014 and stands today in much the same way that it was left when Boekl died in 1966. A visit here will show you his studio and its contents including painting materials and furniture.