You vote, we exhibit!

In 2024, the Austrian National Library will once again present six "special exhibits" from its extensive holdings in the State Hall.

You can help decide which objects will be exhibited via online voting. In each of the six votings, there are three objects to choose from. 

The "special exhibit" on display will be accompanied by a free expert talk, a blog post and a video (only available in German).

The next online voting under the title "A voyage around the world" starts on July 15.

May 28, 2024 - July 28, 2024

„Leo Belgicus“


The winner of the online voting "Everything for dogs and cats. Extraordinary animal objects"  is object 1:Leo Belgicus“ (map,1656). The winning object will be on display in the State Hall of the Austrian National Library from May 28 to July 28, 2024 and will be presented at an expert lecture (in German) on June 4.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, maps in the form of anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures often contained political allusions alongside references to heraldry and mythology. The depiction of the 17 Dutch provinces in the form of a lion from 1656 was a look back into the past. The Leo Belgicus was a popular motif in Dutch cartography and here symbolises the former political unity of the Spanish Netherlands before the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648), in which the northern provinces won independence from Spanish rule. The lion looks south – towards the territories remaining under Spanish rule.

July 29, 2024 - September 29, 2024

"Vienna seen from a balloon – from the southwest"


The winner of our most recent online voting "The dream of flying. Of flying machines and balloon flights" for the special exhibit is object 3: "Vienna seen from a balloon – from the southwest" (Tinted lithograph, c. 1850). The winning object will be on display in the State Hall of the Austrian National Library from July 29 to September 29, 2024 and will be presented at an expert lecture (in German) on July 30.

In the spring of 1846, spectacular flights by the balloon "Eagle of Vienna" caused a sensation in the Viennese press. Josef Franz Natterer from the famous family of scientists was also on board to take physical measurements. These balloon flights probably inspired the famous veduta painter Jakob Alt to create three views showing Vienna "from the balloon". It can be assumed that the then 58-year-old artist created the perspective of flight and sketched the city from an elevated viewpoint. The lithographs by Franz Xaver Sandmann show the views from the tower of St. Stephen's Cathedral and the Upper Belvedere. The perspective from the southwest is the only illustration to show a balloon hovering over the Prater, with a man in a top hat waving a flag from the basket.

September 30, 2024 - December 1, 2024

"New and improved question and answer cards"


The winner of our most recent online voting "In the Salon" for the special exhibit is object 3: "New and improved question and answer cards" (parlor game, c. 1860). The winning object will be on display in the State Hall of the Austrian National Library from September 30 to December 1, 2024 and will be presented at an expert lecture (in German) on October 8.

In the early 19th century, the Viennese engraver Franz Barth set up business as a "maker of pictures and toys" in what was then the Mariahilf suburb of Vienna. His son and heir Carl Barth continued the tradition and among other things published illustrated pamphlet songs, as well as this somewhat erotic parlour game, consisting of 98 cards. Although similar games with ready-made questions and answers already existed, this exhibit is an absolute rarity today, as no other surviving copy can be traced. The questions were read off the cards by the gentlemen (e.g. "Do you think a kiss is a crime?"), and the ladies replied with pre-determined sentences (e.g. "You don't need to know everything").
Attention
State Hall

Due to an event, the State Hall will be closed from 12 p.m. on June 3, 2024.

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