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Belvedere presents Orient & Occident exhibition

Belvedere presents Orient & Occident, an exhibition on view until Oct 14, 2012.

Emil Jakob SCHINDLER, Küstenlandschaft in Dalmatien, 1890 © Belvedere, Wien

The exhibition Orient & Occident assembles works by those painters who in the nineteenth century set out for faraway countries in order to seek new artistic challenges. Initially, the motifs were chosen for their documentary significance and described with great precision. Yet gradually, the paintings and drawings also reflected the visual charm of the foreign regions, the pictorial translation of sunlight, and the rendering of heat, as well as the changes brought about by these phenomena in the natural landscape.

One of the most important Austrian painters active in the Orient was Leopold Carl Müller. Spending nine winters in Egypt, he painted numerous market scenes and figural subjects. Alois Schönn, Alphons Mielich, Ludwig Libay, Bernhard Fiedler, and a number of other Austrian artists also travelled to oriental countries. Others, such as Rudolf Swoboda and Hermann von Königsbrunn, even got as far as India and today’s Sri Lanka.

August von Pettenkofen, Otto von Thoren, and Johann Gualbert Raffalt were looking for new impulses in the neighbouring country of Hungary, in the surroundings of Szolnok and in the Puszta. Later on, the local landscape with its deep horizon and rich palette of atmospheres also attracted such artists as Tina Blau.

The exhibition presents views of Hungary, the Balkans, Greece, Constantinople, Egypt, the Holy Land, India, Sri Lanka, and the Indian Ocean.

The Belvedere’s two magnificent palaces, the Upper and Lower Belvedere, were built in the 18th century as the summer residence for the important general Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736). He chose one of the most outstanding Baroque architects Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt (1668-1745). The palaces with their extensive gardens are considered to be one of the world’s finest Baroque landmarks. Momentous events have taken place in the Upper Belvedere’s Marble Hall and from here there is a spectacular view of Vienna. –

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