A major special exhibition presents the moving history of this extraordinary institution. In 2023, the anniversary of the Upper Belvedere's completion will be celebrated together with many other program highlights.
The 10 years it took to build the Upper Belvedere, which initially served as a summer residence for the famous military commander Prince Eugene of Savoy, came to an end in 1723. The unique, Baroque Belvedere palace complex was thus complete. The institution is taking the opportunity of this major anniversary in 2023 to look back over its own history. As a museum it has developed down the years into one of the leading addresses for art. Maria Theresa once opened one the world's first publicly accessible museums in the Upper Belvedere (1777). However, the Baroque palace also became the setting for glittering parties and important events like the wedding reception of Marie Antoinette (1770) and, of course, the signing of the Austrian State Treaty (1955).
The major exhibition project "The Belvedere. 300 Years a Place of Art" can be seen in the Orangery from December 2022. It is a critical homage to the history of a place that has undergone constant change through the centuries. The exhibition spans the years from 1723 to the present day. For 13 months, visitors can dive into the eventful history of the institution and its world-famous art collections covering 800 years from the Middle Ages to the present day. The museum's holdings are used to show how different focal areas were in demand, depending on the epoch. Historical developments and institutional changes are traced. The exhibition also looks at how works were added to and removed from the collection. A famous example? The return of Gustav Klimt's "Goldene Adele" to inheritors in 2006.
The special exhibition is followed in 2023 by many other program highlights at all of the museum's locations – the two palaces of the Upper and Lower Belvedere as well as the contemporary art museum Belvedere 21. On at the Lower Belvedere from February to May is the long-prepared major exhibition project "Klimt. Inspired by Van Gogh, Rodin, Matisse...", which looks at the question: Who influenced the Viennese Art Nouveau genius Gustav Klimt?
Further highlights in 2023: Exhibitions on young ("On the New") and female art (retrospectives on Louise Bourgeois and Renate Bertlmann) as well as the sculpture project "Public Matters. Contemporary Art in the Belvedere Garden". Events, publications, workshops, ceremonies, and digital projects round off the program. From March, the show collection of the Upper Belvedere also shines in a new light.
In its anniversary year, however, the Belvedere wants not only to reflect on its past, but also to look to the future. That is also expressed in the motto of the festivities. The "Golden Spring" addresses two basic principles: Gold stands for tradition, the holy spring (ver sacrum) as a sign of awakening.
The Belvedere. 300 Years a Place of Art
Orangery, December 2, 2022 – January 7, 2024
Upper Belvedere (Oberes Belvedere)