Maria Theresa and the Arts

30 Jun — 5 Nov 2017 at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, Austria

Maria Theresa and the Arts. Courtesy of Belvedere Museum
Maria Theresa and the Arts. Courtesy of Belvedere Museum
11 APR 2017

The Belvedere has taken the occasion of Maria Theresia’s 300th birthday as an opportunity to illuminate her relationship with the visual arts. In doing so, exciting details have come to light. First and foremost, with her free and unaffected perspective on art, Maria Theresia did not venture to expand collections of historical art, instead, she chose to engage contemporary representatives of all styles, thus demonstrating a very progressive understanding of art.

The exhibition focuses on all art genres that were important at that time. These include painterly and sculptural portraits, which served primarily to represent the imperial house. Sharing the same purpose were the allegorical paintings and ceiling frescoes, which can be found throughout the various buildings. In addition, the fields of landscape painting and sculpture are illustrated by numerous outstanding examples of displayed works that were made during her ruling epoch.

Finally, the Belvedere itself comes into focus, as the decision to place the imperial gallery within it was made during Maria Theresia's reign.

This exhibition reveals new perspectives apart from the ubiquitous historical representations typically associated with the famous Habsburg empress.