220310: Prince Eugene – General, Philosopher, and Art Lover

Unteres Belvedere Prince Eugene – General, Philosopher, and Art Lover The Prince’s glorious return to the Belvedere Two hundred and ninety years after the start of the construction of the Belvedere, Prince Eugene of Savoy returned to this perhaps most important location of his reign - and is offered a posthumous homage. But can an exhibition meet the standards of this splendid military leader, this meticulous collector and visionary control freak, who showed equal interest in Tripolitan sheep, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and new types of flintlock muskets? The Bibliotheca Eugeniana encompassed 15.000 volumes, to which 178 paintings, countless graphics, and cultural goods were added, and which were mainly kept in the collections of the Belvedere, the Albertina, the Art History Museum and the Austrian National Library. Marie Sophie von Plessen has a passion for cultural historic topics and organized the remarkable exhibition on Prince Eugene. The exhibition is divided into six parts. Four of them deal with his fascination of building, of military leadership, of collecting and as a patron of art and are presented in the Lower Belvedere. Autographs and Salomon Kleiner’s fine Belvedere etchings accompany the visitor through the rooms, and the quotations partly convey a refreshing eternalness: e.g. as the one written by Prince Eugen when he went to war in 1701. “Should one leave Milan and Brussels to France without a blow of the sword? In that case, Germany must yield itself to French sovereignty - as not even the worst war can be the cause of anything more abominable”. Peter Baldinger’s arrangements are pleasantly restrained and offer the diverse artefacts sufficient space. Von Plessen and Baldinger present the paintings in a “Petersburg Hanging” style, and sometimes let an individual work stand out alone. And there are also fine interruptions: a 230-cm marble apotheosis of the Prince in a passageway or the conjuncture of two pen and ink drawings. Above Cornelis Troost’s work, depicting the Prince in Madame Traese’s brothel in Amsterdam, is Pieter von den Berge’s drawing, showing the Prince as an art connoisseur during his visit with art collector Zomer in Amsterdam. Remarkable is also the wax bust of the sole heiress, Princess Victoria of Savoy, who, in no time at all, exchanged her uncle’s riches for cash. The second part of the exhibition is presented at the Orangerie and boasts with a reconstruction of the legendary painting-room; some of the original paintings – mainly loans from the Galleria Sabauda in Turin – are hung amidst Salomon Kleiner’s and Johann Jacob Graessmann’s artwork. Adjacent are some of the monumental works from the Bibliotheca Eugeniana. One also finds Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron among the works of the Gothic Bible Moralisée and the hagiographies of Jacobus de Voragine. It once again becomes clear that von Plessen only selected top quality and involved it in a prolific exchange of ideas. It is this soothing, and at the same time inspiring, melange of these diverse forms of presentation that bestows the 280 objects their powerful performance and creates an exhibition, which can only take place at the Belvedere. By Harald Krämer Unteres Belvedere 1030 Vienna, Rennweg 6 Tel: +43 1 79557 – 134 Fax: +43 1 79557 – 134 http://www.blvedere.at Opening hours: Daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Unteres Belvedere
1030 Wien, Rennweg 6
Tel: +43 1 795 57-200, Fax: +43 1 795 57-121
Email: info@belvedere.at
Öffnungszeiten: Täglich 10 bis 18 Uhr, Mittwoch 10 bis 21 Uhr

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