World Monuments Fund and Österreichische Galerie Belvedere Celebrate Completion of Conservation Project at Upper Belvedere Palace, Vienna
World Monuments fund and the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere recently announced the completion of a €425,000 conservation project at the Upper Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria. Over two years conservators addressed the needs of the ground floor hall or sala terrena and grand staircase of the palace.
The Upper Belvedere Palace was designed by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt for Prince Eugene of Savoy and completed in 1723. Originally, the sala terrena was built as a large flatarched space with open arcades to the garden, but in the winter of 1732–1733 structural problems required its replacement with nine bay vaults buttressed by four structural telamons. Hildebrandt ingeniously planned the grand staircase to take advantage of the ground floor, linking garden and castle together. The scenes from the life of Alexander the Great lining the staircase were meant to inspire visitors to contemplate the virtuous deeds of Prince Eugene. The decorative plasterwork of the Upper Belvedere was executed by Santino Bussi (1664–1736), the leading stucco artist of his generation. His most representative pieces are the staircase reliefs, completed in 1723.