Extending Schönbrunn Palace was Maria Theresa’s life’s work. Court architect Nicolaus Pacassi loyally assisted her in these endeavours. To decorate the various rooms, the Empress engaged the services of many acclaimed artists. One of these was the Austrian artist
Daniel Gran, who painted the ceiling
fresco in the Palace Chapel. The Empress’s predilection for nature and landscapes is reflected in the Rosa and Bergl Rooms, named after the two artists Joseph Rosa the Elder and Johann Wenzel Bergl. These rooms were adorned with both idealized and with colourful, exotic landscape paintings. The Italian artist Gregorio Guglielmi was commissioned to paint the Small and Great Galleries, which are among the most important ceremonial halls of the European Rococo. The enthroned rulers Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen at the centre are surrounded by the personified virtues of a ruler and the arts. By contrast, the two side frescoes represent War and Peace. The fresco in the Small Gallery is also by Gregorio Guglielmi and shows an allegory of the Empress’s benevolent rule. A further important part of the palace, which Maria Theresa commissioned architect Nicolaus Pacassi to design, was the palace theatre. It was opened in 1747 and used mainly as a family theatre. Another place where Maria Theresa and her husband Francis Stephen enjoyed spending time was Laxenburg. As a result, this palace was always being extended and redecorated during her reign. The idyllic gardens were embellished with a Temple of Diana, adorned with a ceiling fresco by the Austrian painter Josef Ignaz Mildorfer showing the Hunt of Agamemnon.