Located in the Vienna city center, this baroque State Hall of the Austrian National Library is one of the most beautiful historical libraries I have visited. Emperor Charles VI. (1685/1711-1740) initiated the construction of this jewel of profane baroque architecture for his Court Library.

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In the centre of the State Hall there is the marble statue of Charles VI. as “Hercules Musarum” by Peter (1660-1714) and Paul Strudel (1648-1708).

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The State Hall was built according to plans of the court architect Johann Berhard Fischer von Erlach (1656-1723). The fresco on the ceiling were completed in 1730 by court painter Daniel Gran (1694-1742).

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4 splendour globes placed beneath the cupola, were produced by Vincenzo Coronelli (1650-1718). Together with further marble statues built by the brothers Peter and Paul Strudel and the nutwood bookcases, they reveal an authentic picture of the universal baroque library in the 18th century.

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This celestial globe precisely representated the constellations, fixed stars and orbits of comets on the globe’s surface, brightly coloured in typically baroque manner. Coronelli studied the works of the most famous contemporary astronomers. It would be interesting to visit the Globe Museum though…

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Nowadays, about 200,000 books printed in the years 1501-1850 are stored in the State Hall. Among them there are 15,000 volumes, which originally belonged to the collection of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736). These books are placed in the oval center of the hall.

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Book in the nutwood bookcases…

The Austrian National Library owns more than 7.4 million books and objects. Together with the State Hall, Papyrus-Globe, and Esperantomuseum and 10 collections it is one of the most important libraries in the world.

(Text from the State Hall of the Austrian National Library)

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