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Prince Eugene of Savoy


Biography of Prince Eugene of Savoy

Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736) had a lasting influence on politics as well as on Austria’s art and cultural history. As a general and diplomat he travelled widely in Europe and cultivated contacts with prominent personalities. In the staterooms at his Belvedere and Winterpalais palaces, there was an international exchange about politics, culture, and art. A network of agents and friends helped Prince Eugene amass a collection of paintings by Dutch, Italian, and French masters. He also owned exquisite manuscripts, Asian textiles, Chinese porcelain, and animals and plants from a number of continents.

1663
Prince Eugene Franz of Savoy-Carignan is born in Paris on 18 October, as the fifth of seven children to Eugene Moritz of Savoy-Carignan and Olympia Mancini.

1673
His father dies after a short illness under circumstances that were never fully clarified.

1683
After having been rejected from Louis XIV’s army he flees France and enters the service of Emperor Leopold I’s army. Successfully participates in the relief of Vienna in the Battle of Kahlenberg (12 September). Carlo Emmanuele d’Este, Marchese di Borgomanero invites Eugene to lodge at his home and introduces him to Leopold’s court.

1688
Named field marshal-lieutenant. Prince Eugene also becomes lay abbot of two abbeys in Savoy, which provides him with a good source of income but also the obligation to remain celibate.

1693
Named imperial field marshal.

1694/95
Buys the first buildings on Himmelpfortgasse. In addition to the intense building activities that now commence, Prince Eugene continues to build up major collections of paintings, books, engravings as well as plants and a zoo.

1697
Named commander-in-chief of the imperial army in Hungary (5 July). At the Battle of Zenta on 11 September, Prince Eugene has his first success as a commander. His fame as field marshal is subsequently consolidated by a number of further successful military operations. Buys a large plot of land on Rennweg, which is gradually expanded as he acquires more property.

1701
The Battle of Carpi on 9 July marks the first larger military operation in the War of the Spanish Succession. On 1 September, the Battle of Chiari follows.

1703
Named president of the Imperial War Council..

1704
Battle of Höchstädt (13 August) resulting in a coalition with the English and subsequently a friendship between their commander, the Duke of Marlborough, and Prince Eugene. Terracing works carried out on the Belvedere’s land.

1706
Relief of Turin (7 September).

1708
Battle of Oudenaarde (11 July) as well as the siege of Lille (10 August to 22 October, citadel falls on 10 December). Construction begins to extend the palace on Himmelpfortgasse by five bays to the east (Gallery Wing).

1712
Construction of the Lower Belvedere begins.
1714
With the signing of the Treaty of Rastatt (6 March) the War of the Spanish Succession ends.

1716
Named governor of the Austrian Netherlands (until 1724). Battle of Peterwardein (5 August) during the Ottoman-Venetian War.

1717
Battle of Belgrade with a surprise attack launched by Prince Eugene in the night of 16 August. Completion of the Lower Belvedere and construction of the Upper Belvedere begins.

1718
Signing the Treaty of Passarowitz (21 July) not only terminates the Austro-Ottoman War but also puts an end to the enormous threat of the Ottoman Empire to Austrian security.

1724
Prince Eugene is appointed vicar-general of Austrian dominions in Italy.

1725
Prince Eugene acquires Schloss Hof palace and expands it to create his tusculum rurale.
1731
From this year on, the ten volumes of Belvedere engravings based on drawings by Salomon Kleiner appear. As a supplementary volume the so-called Menagerie work is published to document the animals as well as plants in the Belvedere garden.

1734
The 70-year-old field marshal is appointed commander of the Rhine army in the War of Polish Secession at the insistence of Emperor Charles VI.

1736
Prince Eugene dies at his palace on Himmelpfortgasse in the night of 21 April. The magnificent funeral ceremony takes place at St. Stephen’s Cathedral on 9 July. The Savoy Crypt in the cathedral is Eugene’s final resting place.