Temporary Exhibitions and Art Outdoors
Originally guests would have been welcomed with great ceremony in the Lower Belvederes two-storey Marble Hall. The walls structuring has been borrowed from the architecture of triumphal arches while war trophies and prisoners allude to Eugenes successes as an imperial commander. By contrast, the oval shaped plaster medallions showing scenes from the life of Apollo recall the princes aesthetic interests. The ceiling fresco by Martino Altomonte depicts Apollo in a sun chariot. Eugene is represented as a nude hero as Mercury announces gifts from the pope honouring the princes achievements at the battle of Peterwardein in 1716.
The Marble Gallery was most probably planned as a space to present the three Herculaneum Women. These classical statues were placed in the second, fourth and sixth niches while the remaining highly dynamic sculptures were by the Baroque artist Domenico Parodi. In 1736, the Herculaneum Women were sold to the Dresden court and Parodi created three further sculptures to replace them. In the Marble Gallery the walls are also embellished with stucco war trophies referring to Prince Eugenes military successes. On the ceiling a stucco relief glorifies the prince, showing him at the centre, enthroned and armed, being honoured with awards while Peace approaches banishing Envy and Hatred.
Hall of Grotesques
Decorating sale terrene and garden pavilions with painted grotesques on the walls and ceiling was very popular in Vienna in the early eighteenth century. Augsburg-born painter Jonas Drentwett adorned the ceiling of the Lower Belvederes Hall of Grotesques with the Four Seasons and the Four Elements (in the corners). The windowless walls show Vulcans Forge and the Three Graces embodying masculine and feminine principles. The majority of these paintings have been preserved in their original condition. However, the wall facing the Privy Garden was hit by a bomb in 1945 and thus required restoration.
Originally, the Marble Gallery was adjoined by a salle de conversation, its walls covered with silk painted with branches and birds. Under Maria Theresa, this room was redesigned into a gold cabinet (or mirror and porcelain cabinet) as part of the adaptation of the Lower Belvedere. Some of its decoration was taken from Prince Eugenes city palace on Himmelpfortgasse with additions being made for the Lower Belvedere as required. One can assume that this redesigned Gold Cabinet had been completed by 1765.