History of the Belvedere

Johann Gottfried Auerbach, Prinz Eugen von Savoyen als Feldherr, um 1725 / 30, Öl auf Leinwand, © Belvedere, Wien

1712 – 23: Construction of the Upper and Lower Belvedere as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy.


21 April, Prince Eugene of Savoy dies at his town palace. As he leaves no legally valid will, an Imperial commission names his niece, Princess Victoria, as his heir.


Josef Pögl nach Martin van Meytens d. J., Maria Theresia, 1915, Öl auf Leinwand, © Belvedere, Wien

Maria Theresa acquires the Belvedere estate.


Vinzenz Fischer, Allegorie auf die Übertragung der kaiserlichen Galerie in das Belvedere, 1781, Öl auf Leinwand, © Belvedere, Wien

Opening of the picture gallery at the Upper Belvedere, one of the world’s first public museums.


Carl Goebel d. J., Der Stammbaumsaal (Groteskensaal) im Unteren Belvedere, 1888, Aquarell auf Papier, © Belvedere, Wien

The Imperial Collection is trans- ferred to the newly established Kunsthistorisches Museum; neither Belvedere Palace is used for museum purposes.


The Moderne Galerie at the Lower Belvedere opens as a state-owned museum and counterpart of the Imperial Collection. The intention be- hind its founding is the pre- sentation of Austrian art in an international context. This mission still stands today. In 1908, acquisition of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss (Lovers).

Die Moderne Galerie im Unteren Belvedere (Groteskensaal), um 1930, Fotografie, ÖNB


Bombing during the Second World War seriously damages the palaces. Reconstruction begins in 1945. In 1953 the museum reopens at the Upper Belvedere as the Austrian Gallery.

1938 – 45

Außenminister Leopold Figl präsentiert den Staatsvertrag am Balkon des Oberen Belvedere am 15. Mai 1955, © Votava/Imagno/picturedesk.com

On 15 May 1955 the Austrian State Treaty is signed at the Upper Belvedere – “Austria is free!”


Originally designed

for the 1958 Brussels World Expo, the pavil- ion is reassembled in Vienna and remodelled as a museum. In 2011 it opens as a museum of contemporary art, now named Belvedere 21.

© Johannes Stoll


In 2018 redisplay of the permanent collection at the Upper Belvedere. World-famous paintings by Gustav Klimt and other masterworks are placed in an historical context.

© Ouriel Morgensztern

AS OF 2018